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Sustainable Operations: Tackling A Final Frontier In Sustainable Operations

Part 1: Occupant Engagement, Proper Operation Help Meet Sustainable Operations Goals

Part 2: Success Of Sustainability Initiatives Often Hinges On Reaching The Right People

Part 3: Engage Facility Staff To Help Ensure Sustainable Operations

Part 4: Human Behavior Can Make It Hard To Find Best Way To Encourage Sustainable Behavior


Engage Facility Staff To Help Ensure Sustainable Operations

By Jenny Carney and Trista Little - June 2014 - Green


Property managers and engineers are humans too. But what motivates them to engage with sustainability? Based on the survey responses, here are the best strategies.

1. Draw the connection between high-performance buildings and leasing. Several respondents spoke about the connection between sustainable buildings and tenant recruiting and retention. Tenants often see green initiatives as a direct indication of a well-operated building, and a sign that management teams have invested in properties at a higher level. Energy Star labels and LEED plaques carry value. And when it comes down to it, leased space is what sustains jobs for building engineers and managers alike. The idea that sustainability can help attract and create happy tenants is a compelling nudge for this group of people.

To help the reluctant members of your property management team see the connection between sustainability and leasing, provide them with relevant articles and reports. If you can, provide them with anecdotal evidence from your and your colleagues' own experiences.

2. Play to their pride in the building. A big motivator for engineers and property managers is the sense of pride they get from seeing their buildings operating efficiently and successfully. People do tend to like being good at their jobs. Developing recognition programs that reward and highlight good work can tap into this feeling and foster greater involvement. Think carefully (and creatively) about the type of recognition that would go furthest to inspire active participation from the management team you work with.

One respondent reported that a quarterly "champion for the environment" program that involved a gift card and certificate was successful. Another good example is a hotel brand that gives employees green nametags when they demonstrate "green" leadership. Something as small as changing the color of a nametag can have a big impact on a person's sense of contribution to a larger effort. It's another type of "commitment device" — people want to be consistent with their public promises, so wearing a green nametag can actually influence that person to keep acting "green." The important thing is to create a program that is meaningful to your team. A successful strategy in one work culture might completely miss the mark in another.

Jenny Carney, LEED AP O+M, LEED Fellow, is a principal at YR&G. She can be reached at jcarney@yrgxyz.com. Trista Little, LEED AP O+M, BD+C, is a sustainability consultant working in the building performance and operations team at YR&G. She can be reached at tlittle@yrgxyz.com.

For Further Reading / Resource List

R.S. Brewer, G.E. Lee, and P.M. Johnson, "The Kukui Cup: A Dorm Energy Competition Focused on Sustainable Behavior Change and Energy Literacy"

Fostering Sustainable Behavior: Community-based Social Marketing

Utilities Turn Their Customers Green, With Envy

Using Peer Pressure as a Tool to Promote Greener Choices

Everybody's Doing It

Meal Plan




Sustainable Operations: Tackling A Final Frontier In Sustainable Operations

Part 1: Occupant Engagement, Proper Operation Help Meet Sustainable Operations Goals

Part 2: Success Of Sustainability Initiatives Often Hinges On Reaching The Right People

Part 3: Engage Facility Staff To Help Ensure Sustainable Operations

Part 4: Human Behavior Can Make It Hard To Find Best Way To Encourage Sustainable Behavior


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