During his keynote address for HPAC Engineering's fifth annual Engineering Green Buildings Conference and Expo, held Oct. 21 and 22 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, green-buildings expert Jerry Yudelson noted that green is going mainstream. The U.S. Green Building Council said the same thing after Greenbuild 2007. A new survey takes this statement a step further, reporting that the implementation of sustainable building practices increasingly is becoming a routine business function.

According to a new International Facility Management Association report, “Green Practices 2008,” facility managers increasingly are following a master plan when implementing sustainable practices and are tying their efforts to measurable goals and business strategies. Based on a survey of 573 facility-management professionals from around the world, the report examines the forces driving sustainability, the green practices being employed, and the challenges facility managers face when trying to implement sustainable initiatives.

Significantly, 92 percent of survey respondents said they are working to make their facilities more sustainable, while the same percentage said they have measurable goals related to sustainability. Seventy-nine percent said these goals are linked to their organization's business strategy.

When asked what actions they have taken to develop sustainable practices related to energy use, 74 percent of respondents said they adjusted their HVAC system's operating hours; 65 percent replaced equipment with newer, more efficient equipment; and 36 percent increased energy monitoring.

While most survey respondents said they are implementing green-building concepts without a master plan, 17 percent said they are adhering to one — an increase of 9 percent over similar data from 2002. The percentage of respondents who said they have not implemented and do not plan to implement green strategies fell from 16 percent in 2002 to only 5 percent.

While energy-conservation initiatives are pursued by the vast majority of facility practitioners, financial challenges still present the biggest impediment to going green. Other than financial issues, 55 percent of respondents said balancing sustainable initiatives with other facility management duties was the largest obstacle, while 47 percent noted educating or retraining employees can be problematic.

So, green continues to grow. Of course, no one said it would be easy.


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