Facility management professionals report a continued increase in the use of green building practices, according to findings from the 2005 Sustainability Study released by the Intl. Facility Management Association (IFMA).
The vast majority, 70 percent of those responding to the online survey, reported implementing green concepts within their organization's facility.
The aim of green (sustainable) building is to minimize the disturbance and improve the function of ecosystems during a building's construction and service life.
Using natural daylight, purchasing recycled office products, water conservation, participation in incentive programs offered by local utilities or state/provincial agencies, and adding environmental criteria to the vendor and product selection process topped the list of the most common green building practices. Other steps in place or considered pending implementation in the next 2 years include lighting fixture retrofits, light sensors, employee education programs, and Energy Star guidelines. (Energy Star is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that measures current energy performance, sets goals, tracks savings, and rewards improvements. This energy performance rating system is already in place at more than 21,000 buildings across the country.)
When asked about the motivation behind implementing green policies, facilities managers reported concern for improved employee health and productivity, cost savings, environmental responsibility, reduced liability, and life-cycle cost strategy. Slightly of less importance were public opinion and corporate or government mandates.
Compared to the 2002 survey results, there has been a 3-percent increase in those who have reported adhering to a master plan to implement all feasible green concepts. In this year's study, the majority of facilities managers, 59 percent, reported implementing selected green building concepts, unguided by a master plan; 11 percent are following a master plan to implement all feasible green concepts; 17 percent haven't implemented any green strategies, but will do so within the next 2 years; and 13 percent haven't implemented any green strategies, and do not plan to do so.
"The rewards of green building, like improved employee health, cost savings, and environmental responsibility, have really started to emerge, so we were not surprised that more facilit[ies] managers are adopting green building policies now," said Shari Epstein, associate director of research for IFMA.
The data for this study was based on 341 respondents to a Web-based questionnaire sent to 3,510 U.S. and Canadian professional members of IFMA on May 12, 2005. Full results of the study can be viewed at IFMA's website (www.ifma.org).