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Facility Maintenance Decisions

Tracking and Measuring Sustainability

By Chris Matt   Green

Sustainability is a buzzword heard throughout commercial and institutional facilities nationwide. Managers are continuing to learn about new products and management techniques to help their organizations establish sustainable, high-performance buildings.

One of the biggest challenges for managers is developing a method to measure sustainability. To address that challenge, various organizations have instituted programs to help maintenance and engineering departments better manage buildings’ environmental friendliness. Two organizations recently released new versions of programs that provide a framework for managers implementing sustainable measures.

Tracking Sustainability

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) gauges progress toward sustainability in colleges and universities. AASHE has released its newest version of the system, STARS 0.5. The rating system has three main credit categories — education and research, operations, and administration and finance — one less than STARS 0.4.

“We wanted to better align with the three main organizational branches of the institution,” says Laura Matson, STARS program manager.

The operations category has three new sections: buildings, grounds, and dining services. Credits include: new construction, renovations, and commercial interiors; building operations and maintenance; potable non-irrigation water consumption reduction; and green-cleaning service.

In version 0.5, AASHE changed many trend-based credits to avoid penalizing institutions that already have reached a high level of sustainability.

“The big pro, in general, is people thought it would be fairer,” Matson says.

Health Care, Too

The Green Guide for Health Care — a project of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems and Practice Greenhealth — has been a useful tool for managers in health care organizations trying to establish sustainable buildings and operations. Now, the organization has made revisions to the Green Guide for Health Care Version 2.2 Operations section.

Among the revision highlights:

• The strategies are grouped by facility department.

• The section features updated regulatory standards, best practices and resources.

• It focuses on emissions reporting, low-impact grounds maintenance, and green purchasing.

Strategies focus on educating staff and building occupants on the connection between sustainable facilities and human health.

— Chris Matt, Associate Editor



Contractors and Distributors

Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

Construction Materials Recycling Association

• International Association of Electronics Recyclers


Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments

Alliance to Save Energy

Sustainable Buildings Industry Council

Rechargeable Battery Recycling Association

Portable Rechargeable Battery Association


Thermostat Recycling Corporation

National Electronics Product Stewardship Initiative

Codes, Regulations & Standards

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy

Energy Star

Greenguard Environmental Institute

Green Globes

Green Seal

National Institute of Building Sciences

National Institute of Standards and Technology

NSF International

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

Cool Roof Rating Council





Sustainable Buildings Industry Council

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Environmental Information Association

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Green Progress

Pollution Prevention Regional Information Center

Green Mechanical Council

Green Motion

Healthy Building Network

Interstate Renewable Energy Council

Better Bricks

Global Green USA

Advanced Buildings

Northeast Sustainable Energy Association


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  posted on 5/1/2008   Article Use Policy

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