By Edward Sullivan, Editor - September 2006 - Green
A growing number of facility executives are aiming for holistically green buildings. But truly green projects represent only a small fraction of facilities being constructed. Much more common than green buildings are “greener” buildings — projects on which facility executives are paying more attention to environmental issues than they would have a few years ago.
The latter approach is far from perfect. It misses the first-cost savings plus long-term efficiency and occupant satisfaction gains possible when green criteria shape all elements of a design, from building orientation to interior finishes.
But small gains across a large number of buildings can be important. Regular, modest, broadbased gains in areas like energy or water efficiency, indoor air quality, or use of recycled materials gradually redefine what a building should be, even one that is not green. This slow, steady approach enables facility executives to educate themselves and their organizations about proven green design methods and products, building a base for more ambitious green projects in the future.
The risk of the go-slow approach is that progress can be glacial. To avoid that pitfall, make a simple resolution: do more than you did last time. Compounded over time, green gains will add up. And eventually the organization will be ready to buy into a truly green building.