Less Is More Is Also Green When It Comes To Real Estate

  May 13, 2013

Today's tip about how being more efficient with space is actually a solid green strategy, in addition to an obvious money-saving one.

Less is certainly more these days. That's an idea that applies to facets of facility management ranging from staffing to energy to real estate.

More and more these days, that last one is garnering the lion's share of attention. Reducing space can be a tremendous cost-saving strategy. Just think about how much of your organization's operating budget is spent on real estate, compared to say, energy.

But reducing real estate is also inherently a green strategy. While we've got clichés on the mind, here’s another one: The greenest building is the one that's not built. Just like reducing energy use on a wide scale can prevent the need for building more carbon-spewing power plants, so too can being efficient with space reduce the need to build new to accommodate expansion.

Need an example? How about Rob Pearlman, senior facilities and administration officer at the International Finance Corp. — whose story we told in the May, 2011 issue of BOM. Increasing space density (read as: increasing space efficiency) has been Pearlman's strategy for most of the new millennium - as the organization has grown from 1,655 seats to more than 2,500 at its Washington, D.C., headquarters, Pearlman has reduced the average space-per-worker from 250 square feet to 180 square feet. This space efficiency has saved the organization more than $65 million in eight years, by avoiding costs to lease more space or to build another building, according to an analysis Pearlman did and presented to corporate leadership.

Have you ever gotten to go to upper managers with a cost-savings figure north of $65 million? Wouldn't that be a day, month or year-maker? Even if your figure doesn't approach Pearlman's, there is no better time than now to analyze how your organization uses space, and then to think strategically about where reductions can be made.


Read next on FacilitiesNet