Saving Money With a Water Conservation Program

Commercial buildings have a web of interconnected systems relying on water. Water is one of our most precious resources and yet conservation is an often overlooked aspect in whole-building design strategies.

iStock 000005941497Small photo (water utilities 2 green building facility management building management systems bms )Most commercial facility managers struggle with managing its consumption, resulting in lots of wasted water. As water rates rise across the country, it’s an economically wise decision, as well as an environmentally conscious practice, to manage water usage.


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Sports Fields Go Green with Renewable Energy

Earth Day 2014 has come and gone, as has some people’s attention to the environment. But it’s encouraging to see sports facilities managers jumping on the “green” bandwagon.

iStock 000013887515Small1 photo (leed green building energy saving tips energy resources )More and more sports stadiums are trying to become more sustainable, according to articles published by Energy Digital and USA Today.

For example, in 2004 Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, contacted Allen Hershkowitz, a scientist at the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to ask for help making his team and the stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, more sustainable, according to Energy Digital.


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Financial Incentives for Green Roof Retrofits

Did you know a green roof not only helps you cut your facility’s cooling bills in the summer but it can also help you reduce your heating bills in the winter.

iStock 000000132606Small 300x225 photo (green building energy saving tips building energy performance )In fact, a green roof  can help you reduce your cooling bill by up to 75% compared to conventional roofing, and it can help you save between 5.63% and 5.95% – up to 61% for upper floors – on your heating costs.

A green roof is a “living roof.” It’s either fully or partially covered with vegetation and a growing medium, and it has a waterproofing membrane. Additionally it may contain drainage and irrigation systems.


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Facilities Save Money by Recovering Blackwater

A facility can save thousands, maybe millions, of gallons of water – not to mention money – by using a membrane bioreactor, according to Buildings.com. The technology uses an activated sludge system to treat wastewater, reducing utility and sewer costs while offering clean water that can be used anywhere in the building.

iStock 000002709981Small 150x150 photo (leed green infrastructure green building green building green building codes facility maintenance 2 )Buildings pay for water twice, one time for potable needs and the second time when sewage is discharged. While some cities have inexpensive water rates, discharge rates and stormwater fees exponentially increase utility bills.

Reclaiming wastewater reduces the environmental impact and relieves pressure on the municipalities, considering that every mile between a building and a water treatment plant is energy expended to pump water and sewage back and forth.


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ASHRAE Rolls Out Next-Gen GreenGuide

HVAC designers, building owners, architects, building managers or any contractor involved in green building design should find the fourth edition of AHSRAE’s GreenGuide a useful resource on many subjects relevant to green building design.

iStock 000010350561Small 150x150 photo (hvac industry hvac complaints green infrastructure green building green building green building codes )Quite a bit has changed in the green building industry in the decade since the first edition of the GreenGuide was published in 2004. While green building programs began as voluntary, ASHRAE says the industry has seen them evolve into the mainstream, sometimes becoming mandatory.

“ASHRAE GreenGuide: The Design, Construction, and Operation of Sustainable Buildings, Fourth Edition,” includes several changes that will affect green building design.


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Will G4 Simplify Sustainability Reporting?

Will G4 simplify sustainability reporting? The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) seems to think so.

iStock 000014979906Small 300x160 photo (green infrastructure green building green building green building codes energy resources )GRI is one of the most well-known organizations in the sustainability field. The group promotes sustainability through offering reporting tools to organizations to help them become more sustainable.

GRI believes a sustainable global economy should offer profitability in conjunction with ethical behavior, environmental care and social justice.


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How Restaurants Are Going Green

Recycling efforts are picking up steam among restaurants, saving businesses money and showcasing the industry’s concerted attempts to participate in providing a cleaner environment.

iStock 000034871912Small 300x199 photo (green building energy resources )Recycling is a normal everyday practice for about 65% of restaurant operators, according to the National Restaurant Association. Placing importance on recycling affects the success of businesses in the restaurant business.

In fact, the National Restaurant Association reports that 60% of consumers prefer to dine at restaurants that recycle, and 51% of those consumers are willing to pay about 10% more at restaurants that choose to recycle.


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The 7 Trends Behind High-Performance Buildings

While we often focus on that ways in which high-performance buildings equate to energy savings and “green” buildings, the impacts are much more widespread.

iStock 000000091659Small 150x150 photo (green building energy saving tips energy resources building energy performance )Such buildings offer other positive benefits to building owners, communities and the economy. They enhance work lifestyles, reduce operating/maintenance costs and focus in the longterm on the building lifecycle, according to the whitepaper, “The Drive for High-Performance Buildings,” by French firm Legrand.

Buildings provide vital functions in our social and economic lives. If you look beyond the fact that they offer shelter and protection, you’ll see that they also drive demand for design and construction services, along with building materials.


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6 Steps to Implement a Recycling Program in Your Facility

On average one office worker in the US uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper per year, making the total amount of copy paper used about 4 million tons each year for all employees nationwide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

iStock 000013857223Small 150x150 photo (green building facility management building maintenance )And copy paper is not the only waste (i.e., cardboard, cans, etc.) produced each day by office workers. The good news? The EPA estimates that about 80%-90% of all solid waste produced is recyclable.

Not only does recycling conserve landfill space and protect the environment, it also saves your business money. Recycling is less expensive than trash disposal, and companies that use recycling programs or use recycled materials are often eligible for tax credits.

Customers, employees and those throughout the community also notice and appreciate a company that is environmentally friendly, which means your business has a more positive public image than those that choose to be more wasteful. It takes very little money or time to start a recycling program, and the savings continue as long as the program is in place.

Before your business implements a recycling program, it’s best to complete a waste assessment to better understand your facility’s waste sources. The Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Management program offers this DIY Waste Assessment Kit. Your local waste management program may offer a guide as well.

Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Management also recommends these steps your business should take in implementing a waste reduction program:

  1. Ask business management to offer their support in implementing a recycling program.
  2. Develop a recycling plan that includes measurable goals to reduce waste. Some questions to ask in developing the plan may include: What can be recycled? What can be reused? Are there items the business can purchase in bulk that would reduce overall waste?
  3. Select a leader to oversee the recycling program and ensure the program is being used as intended.
  4. Involve employees. Educate and train employees about the program, and offer incentives to employees for their involvement in achieving goals.
  5. Implement the plan.
  6. Continually evaluate the effectiveness of your recycling program, and adjust the goals and policies as often as needed.

Read more about the steps to reducing waste.

Your local government may have a recycling program tailored to businesses with helpful tools. Here is an example of such a concept offered by South Carolina’s Smart Business Recycling Program.

Some recycling programs also offer recycling fact sheets to guide you through successfully reducing waste in certain types of industries. Also, know what to ask a recycling company in choosing the best option for your facility. Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Management offers these tips.

Next Steps:


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Bedbug Epidemic, New Early Warning System Highlighted on Shark Tank

On a recent episode of Shark Tank one of the businesses being pitched, BuggyBeds, addressed an important issue we’ve discussed in the past: bedbugs. In case you haven’t heard about Shark Tank, it’s an ABC reality TV series where budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to potential investors, known as “sharks.”

iStock 000015988333Small 300x243 photo (vapor steam cleaners bed bugs green building )Now back to the bed bugs. There’s been a 500% increase in bedbug infestations worldwide in the last few years, making bedbugs a worldwide epidemic, according to Maria Curcio, one of the BuggyBeds entrepreneurs.


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