Evaluate contractors’ green services to meet green goals

  October 4, 2012

Today's tip is to look to your service providers to help meet green goals. Many outsourcing providers have realized the growing demand for green and have tailored their services to help green-focused facility executives. But carefully evaluate the providers and their services to ensure you are getting what you want.

"There are more than two dozen credentialing, certifying, or inspecting authorities, and I think to some extent they're all credible if you clearly understand the mission of each," says Vince Elliott, founder and chief executive officer of Elliott Affiliates, Ltd.

Facility executives need to make sure that a provider's certified products work not just in a lab but in actual working buildings, Elliott says. And requiring certification could significantly reduce the pool of otherwise-qualified providers and possibly raise prices.

Facility executives should also know what they are willing to commit to. "Some measures will require time and energy and possibly capital," says Michel Theriault, a principal with Strategic Advisor. "You may prioritize and start with those that are low cost, low effort and work your way up the ladder."

Joe Havey, president of Havey Real Estate Consultants, recommends talking with other facility executives about which providers they've used and whether they've been happy with the work.

Havey also suggests that facility executives design a matrix and assign a weighting to each of the criteria. For example, on a scale of 1 to 10, having a LEED Accredited Professional credential may be worth three or four points, while being a certified energy manager may be worth 10 points.

How the expertise is applied is also important and should be spelled out in the contract with the provider, Theriault says. "That expertise costs money, and if you're not specific in your request for proposal, you may not get it," he says.

It's also vital to get proof of exactly what a provider has done. "Get the data that shows it's worth replacing the lighting system and which shows the payback," Theriault says. "You're evaluating their performance rather than just evaluating what they say they'll do."


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