Commercial and industrial buildings have an outsized impact on our environment, due largely to the energy and resources consumed by hundreds or thousands of workers in a relatively dense footprint.
Property owners and managers have many means of minimizing this impact. Building by building, office by office, we can improve Stamford's environment by following sound sustainability practices. Below are some tips to help you get started. The links at left offer expanded information on select topics.
Set goals for the measurable elements of your sustainability program, such as:
- Greenhouse gas emissions, especially of CO2, NOx and SOx
- Emissions of particles into the air
- Effluent emissions
- Water quality
- Waste stream
- Safety compliance, which includes enforcement actions and regulatory compliance
- Safety targets
- Reduction of emissions by suppliers
- Green purchasing policies
- Install hands-free faucets and automatic flushometers in restrooms.
- Use drip irrigation instead of sprays. Drip irrigation conserves more water than sprays, where up to 70% of the water may be lost through diffusion and evaporation.
- Replace annual flowering plants with drought-resistant perennials.
Remember the three R's of waste management – reduce, reuse, recycle. Now that Stamford provides single-stream recycling and has increased the types of materials that can be recycled, your commercial trash probably consists mostly of organic matter like food scraps.
Here are a few tips to help you reduce, reuse and recycle.
- Sign up with a commercial hauler that participates in single-stream recycling, or urge your present hauler to adopt single-stream recycling.
- Haul paper in reusable canvas bags.
- Use silverware instead of plastic cutlery in cafeterias.
- Pack carry-out food in biodegradable bags.
You can only improve what you can measure. Seek ways to quantify the results of your environmental initiatives.
- Create benchmarks. Measure your progress, because it may take time for some sustainability practices to produce results.
- Study your utility bills and usage reports. Identify any anomalies and investigate their causes. Readings that are too high or too low may both indicate issues that must be corrected.
- Several devices on the market can measure the energy consumption of individual appliances or machines. Use these devices on suspect machines.
- Track your waste tonnage and composition.
- Know your LEED and ENERGY STAR scores.
Communication and Tenant Relations
Communicating effectively with your tenants or employees will amplify the results of your conservation efforts.
- Communicate your goals and the steps you are taking to achieve these goals.
- Explain how your recycling and energy-efficiency programs will work.
- Tell tenants how their actions help in the mission's success and - equally important - how their inaction hurts.
- Ask for suggestions from tenants and employees.
- Work with them to solve their issues.
- Time your major repairs so as to cause the least possible disruption to tenants' comfort and convenience. For example, don't overhaul a chiller in summer.
Sustainable Stamford would like to thank the following executives for providing much of the information in this section: Robert J. Araujo of Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, Gerrit Blauvelt of Malkin Properties, Brian Heelan of Albert B. Asforth Inc., and Tom Lazarro of Greenwich Hospital.
Photo of Stamford, CT, office building: Maria Arellano-Ongpin, licensed from Flickr under Creative Commons.