How managers can move their organization from reactive emergencies to planned activities
Angela Testa, senior vice president of operations at American Campus Communities, strengthens operations without compromising a healthy work environment
Not surprisingly in this age of tough financial scrutiny, the retrofit projects designed to curtail water use on the campus of Munich Reinsurance America came with some financial hurdles for Walinski and his team.
"There were challenges in trying to improve sustainability in ways that were also fiscally responsible," he says. "So the schedule of projects was arranged so there were consistent expense reductions throughout the program. This allowed completed work to essentially fund upcoming work."
One element of the company's successful retrofit program has been evaluation and testing.
"One of the biggest lessons learned from our program was how important proper product and financial evaluation was to the success of the sustainability plan," Walinski says. "Providing accurate estimates of expenses and savings consistently validates the program. Thoroughly researching each product — and in many, cases beta testing — allows the team to consistently provide products that improve the workplace.
"The combination of the two has allowed the team to make the campus more environmentally friendly while improving the bottom line.
"By putting the proper amount of time into the research up front, our team was able to improve the bottom line, our environmental position, and our employees' level of satisfaction."
Another key to success for Walinski has been to build a solid financial case.
"To move these key parts of a program forward, you have to triple-check your math before you try to sell the project to the company because if (the projects) don't perform the way you say and deliver the savings you tell everyone you're going to save, then you have no credibility. Your program can't grow because no one believes you."
Retrofit Projects Bring Financial Hurdles for Insurance Company