The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International has issued its "Top 7 Strategies" for commercial real estate professionals to help make cities green, complementing the 2014 Earth Day "Green Cities Campaign."
With the office building industry accounting for nearly 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, BOMA has committed to helping its members and the industry as a whole improve energy management and sustainability practices. A key part of the effort is working with local and city officials, tenants and other groups to help make entire communities more sustainable.
"Commercial real estate is an important player in sustainability efforts taking place in cities across the U.S.," commented BOMA International Chair Rich Greninger, CPM, managing director with Carr Properties. "These tips offer property professionals effective operational strategies for reducing energy consumption in their own buildings, while also making 'green' a priority citywide."
Here are the "Top 7 Strategies" to help make cities green:
1) Get Connected. Local utility companies often offer demand response and other energy efficiency incentive programs for both residential and commercial buildings. Reach out to local utility companies to find out what incentives and programs are offered in your city and how buildings in your city can benefit.
2) Make a Presentation. Does your building implement great energy management strategies? Contact your local chamber of commerce and offer to share your leadership insight with the business community in your city.
3) Benchmark Energy Performance. Measuring performance is the first step toward improving performance. Benchmark your building's energy and water consumption through EPA's ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool and encourage the rest of the buildings in your company's portfolio and throughout the city to do the same. Make it a team competition to be the city with the most benchmarked buildings.
4) Support Incentive-Based Energy Legislation. In cities and states across the country there's terrific incentive-based energy legislation that make it more affordable for building owners and management firms to implement energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades. Find out if this type of legislation has passed in your city/state, and be sure to support it if it has. If it doesn't exist, lobby your elected officials to create legislation to incentivize energy efficiency.
5) Host a Recycling Event. Host a community recycling day where tenants and community residents can drop off hard to recycle items such as batteries and LED light bulbs. Don't stop at your building; make it a citywide campaign.
6) Teach Your Tenants Well. Your building management team is well versed in the latest energy management strategies. Terrific. But what about your tenants? Institute a Tenant Energy Awareness Program -- use your company newsletter and/or building announcements to keep tenants informed about energy management goals and offer training, education and tips on low and no-cost energy efficiency strategies.
7) "Green" the Commute. Fewer cars equal greener cities. Get your city on the road to green by offering bicycle storage facilities in your building(s).