Editor's Letter

10/01/2014 | By Jennie Morton

Let Occupants Drive Your Green Goals

Jennie Morton Greener Facilities Editor

Energy efficiency and environmental impacts have long been cited as the main reasons for green building design. A lower utility bill is certainly attractive for any facility manager, but there’s one area of sustainable operations that consistently gets shuffled to the side – occupant satisfaction.

It’s easy to overlook the human factor in green operations, particularly when it’s difficult to quantify on a spreadsheet. How do you show that soft benefits such as occupant health, engagement, and productivity are just as important as payback or ROI?

It’s all in how you make your case. Virtually every aspect of green operations can positively impact workers – the trick is making those connections clear to company leadership.

Those energy-efficient LEDs? Better lighting can decrease eye strain and headaches. Need to replace office chairs? Go for ergonomic models and win big with employee satisfaction. Switching out some harsh cleaning chemicals? You could improve indoor air quality and reduce absenteeism.

You should also make these sustainable benefits clear to workers. A recent study showed that occupant satisfaction in LEED buildings declines over time. In fact, only 12 months after certification, the happiness levels of employees in a green work environment were the same as those in a traditional office space. While the authors suggest there are likely discrepancies between design and operations, I have another theory to add – occupants may simply be unaware of ongoing green efforts.

I routinely tour sustainable facilities and while organizations are proud to display a plaque or dashboard in their lobby, I always spy additional opportunities to bring awareness to occupants and guests alike.

On a recent building visit, for example, I pondered the soap provided in the restrooms – was it free of potentially harmful ingredients such as triclosan, artificial dyes, or parabens? How far does the soap travel before it reaches the facility? If the product has a green formula, is it verified by a third party?

Granted, the soap in your bathroom is a small consideration, yet it’s also a part of your operations that people engage with on a daily basis. Advertise your green efforts with small signs, monthly newsletters, or yearly progress reports – occupants should know sustainability is alive and well in your building.

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Connectrac® wireways are the new standard for bringing power & communications cable management to all interior applications. Free yourself from core drilling!

Surpass State Energy Requirements with Dual-Cooling Data Center CRAC Technology

See how professionals like you are taking advantage of the highest performing precision cooling system for their computer rooms and data centers, and why Data Aire is fast-becoming the number one choice for facility managers and building owners looking to decrease their energy consumption. 

Data Aire understands how digital technology and data gravity is rapidly impacting and transforming businesses. That’s why they developed ultra-efficient cooling technology to support the most modern (and not-so-modern) data centers.  Learn how One Wilshire in Los Angeles, one of the most advanced carrier hotels today, is surpassing California's strict energy efficiency requirements with Data Aire’s purpose-built system, which provide full-economization for 260 days – almost 72% of the year. That’s a measurable savings! Furthermore, the projected PUE on an annual basis for a full load is at or below 1.2.


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