1652321989173 B 0910 Atm Reducingwaste

Reducing Use and Waste

Sept. 1, 2009
Learn some secrets for cutting down on waste and energy use

You’re not alone in your mission to save energy (and to save in general) – it’s a mission that every facilities manager and building owner in this country can commiserate with. As a result, organizations everywhere are trying to come up with better, more efficient ways to condense and reduce – but not just in terms of energy. Reducing costs and waste are also top of mind.

A few years ago, Washington, D.C.-based Freddie Mac formed an Energy Conservation Committee, comprised of people from engineering, janitorial, grounds, repair and maintenance, data center infrastructure, operations and support, and mail room and reprographics services, to come up with outside-the-box ideas for reducing energy consumption. “The first thing we did was take a good look at our operation,” says Matt Kelly, director of facilities operations. “What hours were we providing services for employees in our facilities compared to the hours that the majority of the employees were in the facilities?”

Freddie Mac customized the hours of operation for lighting, HVAC, and escalators to fit within core operating hours. Building-automation systems were audited to ensure that all schedules and setpoints were consistent and reasonable. Monthly third-shift inspections have also been implemented. “During these inspections, we look for any deviations from normal operations, such as building equipment or lighting left on, use of unauthorized equipment (space heaters or appliances, etc.), and desktop equipment that’s left on. We distribute reminder cards requesting employees to turn off task lighting, computers, and monitors. Evening inspections offer a chance to really see what’s going on throughout your buildings.” From 2007 to 2008, these efforts have produced a reduction of more than 10 million kilowatt-hours, and reduced Freddie Mac’s carbon footprint by more than 5.3 million pounds of CO2.

In addition to reducing energy use, Freddie Mac has also emphasized making reductions in other areas. Landscape trimmings are turned into mulch, and the irrigation system incorporates a weather station with technology that measures ground moisture and regulates watering. Many of the building materials Freddie Mac uses are made from recyclable materials (carpet, chairs, paper products, office supplies, etc.). Since it began tracking its recycling material back in 2006, the organization has recycled more than 1,257 tons. “During this period, we’ve seen our recycling grow by 320 percent,” says Kelly. “We’ve reduced the number of trash hauls and disposals. These actions have netted savings of more than $29,000 while reducing air pollutants by 497 tons and preserving more than 7,000 trees. In 2009, we were able to further reduce trash pick-up and combine recyclables for a projected savings of more than $15,000.”

Hamilton County’s Department of County Facilities in Ohio has taken proactive steps to reduce its environmental impact as well. With the savings it has made as a result of its energy program, the county plans to hire a full-time energy manager. It also plans to stick with the things that have worked well so far:

  • Conducting a monthly review of electric, gas, and water usage.
  • Eliminating inefficient use of energy systems.
  • Purchasing major mechanical equipment (boilers, chillers, cooling towers, etc.) per the county life-cycle cost-analysis resolution.
  • Purchasing deregulated natural gas through a gas block managed by an outside firm through the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO).
  • Attending annual energy conferences to stay up to date on leading-edge techniques for saving energy.
  • Scheduling night and weekend setback in all buildings where tenants don’t use the space.
  • Investigating the procurement of deregulated electricity for county buildings.

Looking forward, Hamilton County has even bigger plans for cutting back. Some of its proposed reduction strategies for the near future include:

  • Conducting brainstorming sessions to review day-to-day building operations.
  • Conducting mini audits for energy-conservation purposes.
  • Turning off the general-exhaust fan overnight.
  • Turning off air-conditioning equipment overnight in the summertime.
  • Replacing large low-rise air-handlers with more efficient equipment.
  • Improving kitchen steam delivery and modifying policies for kitchen use.

Its actions seem to be working. “Hamilton County Facilities reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions by 2,715 tons in 2008,” says Ralph W. Linne, director of county facilities. “This is a 7-percent reduction compared to our base year of 1997 for buildings under control of the facilities department.”

ProLogis is also an organization to watch when it comes to reducing use. It has developed some of the lowest-carbon-footprint distribution centers in the United States. ProLogis’ director of renewable energy leads the charge on renewable-energy projects – the company’s attention is on reducing reliability on the grid, so green power is a big focus. ProLogis currently has 11 solar installations, with capacity totaling 6.1 megawatts. These solar installations have the capacity to generate 5,237,590 kilowatt-hours per year. It has also installed three wind turbines, with capacity totaling 68 kilowatts. These wind turbines have an estimated annual production of 49,000 kilowatt-hours.

Read about our Who's Who organizations and their best practices in the following articles:

Benchmarking and Monitoring
Utilizing the Best Technology and Products
Getting Everyone on Board
Looking Ahead: Regulations
Reducing Use and Waste
Managing the Effort Top-Down and Bottom-Up

We hope that the experience and successes of our Who’s Who leaders will supplement your team’s best practices. Do you have best practices to share with your peers? Leave a comment at the end of this page or send an e-mail to [email protected].

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