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Getting Started with Green Operations

Green operations are concerned with energy costs and other environmental issues

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peanut oil biodiesel history Green operations are concerned with energy costs and other environmental issues, such as waste reduction and recycling, water-use reduction, and the environmental impact of materials used throughout the building and functions.

Green operations can be adopted with new buildings or to improve on existing facility strategies that will add value to the organization, position the organization as a caretaker of the environment and increase the credibility of the facilities department.

  • The first thing is to get company buy-in
  • Do a bit of research into which green strategies should be used and which might be cost-prohibitive.
  • Identify how the facility is performing now and what needs to be done to bring the building up to the desired level. The next step is to benchmark what is actually happening in the facility against what is required
  • Building commissioning ensures that all equipment is installed properly and is fully functional.
  • Install an integrated building monitoring and control system.
  • Standardize the data collection process and make it transparent.
  • Install energy meters to collect energy data and benchmark opreations.

Vendors know that customers love value-added services

Include metric development in the RFP to potential vendors or ask current vendors to help. Once they’ve done it for one client, it gives them a competitive advantage or an additional selling point with other clients.

Implementing a complete environmental management system — a way to continuously track all environmental goals — is the key to keeping the facility on the right road.

Reduce Costs with Utility Rebate and Incentive Programs

Take advantage of rebate and incentive programs offered through utility companies, such as Pacific Gas and Electric’s demand-response program that rewards organizations for scaling back energy use during periods of peak demand.

USGBC's LEED EB Program for Environmentally Friendly Operations

LEED-EB can be used as a guide for collecting data, establishing metrics and analyzing benchmarks. This process can act as a quasi-tutorial on data collection and metric development, LEED-EB also provides the framework for systematizing processes and procedures.

Make LEED-EB a learning experience for participants -- employees, occupants and visitors. Communicate to them about what is going on. Send them updates — a newsletter or e-mail — about what you’re doing and opportunities available for them to help, even in their own homes. Make your facility a living, learning laboratory.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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