Across the U.S., commercial facilities account for an estimated 39 percent of total energy required to heat, cool and power buildings with electricity.i As facility managers become more conscious of climate change and environmental issues, businesses across a variety of industries are incorporating and implementing sustainable operations. In fact, LEED, the world’s most widely used green building system, has more than 32,500 certified commercial projects.ii
This shift toward building and maintaining “green” facilities has had an impact on what defines the role of a facility manager, and instituting energy efficient and sustainable cleaning and maintenance practices is top of mind.
Having the proper knowledge on sustainable practices is especially necessary when applying updates or completing a renovation in a facility. From architectural finishes to window films, there are long-term solutions that can help you reach your goal to optimize your existing windows and surfaces, eliminate unnecessary material waste and lower utility costs.
Estimates indicate that 10 – 15 percent of generated building material waste becomes waste during construction. ii This includes discarded building materials, packaging and rubble generated during building and structure construction, renovation and demolition.
Even a simple refurbish project can generate unnecessary waste. When a hospital decided to replace the doors and cabinets in its general patient care unit, the team faced some logistical challenges: this type of project was not only going to be a disruption to daily operations, but also cost prohibitive in order to properly dispose the old cabinetry and doors into the landfill.
By repurposing the existing doors and cabinets with 3M™ DI-NOC™ Architectural Finishes, the hospital was able to reduce its carbon footprint and avoid an expensive removal process, including a 70 percent county landfill tax based on waste volume.
In this example, the use of DI-NOC™ Architectural Finishes is also eligible for LEED Compliance Credits (PDF, 212 KB) by maintaining interior nonstructural elements.
Buildings can have a substantial impact on the planet. They create a lot of waste and use a lot of resources. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy has found that about 40 percent of energy costs for the average commercial building are spent on heating and cooling. ii In an effort to maintain and operate buildings using fewer resources, leveraging existing glass window structures to increase energy efficiency is a more sustainable option compared to replacing heating and cooling units.
A museum in Cleveland, Ohio (PDF, 2.87 MB) has a tower that soars 160 feet in the air and supports a dual-triangular-shaped glass “tent” containing more than 55,000 square feet of space for exhibits, offices etc. All of that glass allows the museum to present its artifacts in natural light but protecting them from ultraviolet rays and keeping the building cool on a budget presented a challenge to the facility managers.
They installed 3M™ Sun Control Window Film Prestige Exterior Series, which rejects up to 97 percent of the sun’s heat-producing infrared light and 99.9 percent of UV rays to help keep tenants cool. The museum expects to begin seeing immediate energy savings to the tune of $20,000 – $40,000 a year.
There are many different tools that businesses can use to help meet their sustainability goals and being aware of the products and practices will help open the door to reducing your facility’s carbon footprint and minimizing its impact on the environment.