lthough this prolonged economic downturn has curbed new construction considerably, the building projects that are moving forward are significantly more green. Many corporations and developers are taking this opportunity to fine-tune and upgrade their existing buildings and spaces. Some are focusing on individual projects while others are committing to analyze and upgrade their entire portfolio. Their goals are to reduce operating expenses, standardize their real estate operations and build in long-term sustainable solutions.
There are numerous simple and economical ways to implement green strategies within an existing facility. Here are some low-cost green strategies to consider:
- Optimize ventilation rates and the conditioned air distribution system, calibrate thermostats and sensors, and perform periodic maintenance of all building systems.
- Install a monitoring system and record daily energy use by category, comparing it to regional or national energy-use benchmarks for similar buildings.
- Install water-saving fixtures
- Look for opportunities to “turn down” the building’s lighting and HVAC systems after hours or during times when the building isn’t fully occupied.
- Install occupancy sensors, time clocks or automatic controls to power-down office equipment and lighting after hours and on weekends. Ask people to turn off their computers and task lights when they are out of the office.
- Implement green housekeeping services
- Conduct a waste audit to assess current waste volume and issue a challenge or in-office competition for reducing waste.
- Begin a robust recycling and composting program. Eliminate bottled water, disposable cups and plastic silverware.
- Purchase renewable energy credits to offset power competition.
Interestingly, the economic slowdown is driving sustainability to existing buildings. Green is increasingly recognized as a competitive differentiator, a strategy to save resources (including money) and a way to support people with healthy workplaces and socially responsible operation practices.
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Have You Heard...?
ATTENTION OWNERS OR MANAGERS OF CHILD-OCCUPIED FACILITIES
As of April, 2010 there is a new federal regulation – it’s called Lead: Renovation, Repair & Painting Rule (RRP Rule).
The rule requires federal certification of firms and individuals involved in performing renovations, repair and painting projects that disturb or possibly will disturb lead-based paint in homes, childcare facilities and schools built prior 1978.
Workers need to follow specific lead-safe work practices to minimize exposure to lead-based paint dust. The EPA has prepared a compliance guide; available at www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/sbcomplianceguide.pdf
Building owners and or managers of child-occupied facilities as well as contractors should familiarize themselves with this new EPA-RRP ruling.
>p>Brookstone Builders, Inc. holds a RRP Certification.
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