Green Industry Articles

Green Business Tactics: Crossing the Sustainability Divide

Wondering about large corporations' and government agencies' taking on sustainability? Need information on advising commercial or government clients on implementing sustainability objectives? Looking for tactics to green your own office facilities?

Then you may want to check out "Crossing the Sustainability Chasm: Strategies and Tactics to Achieve Sustainability Goals". The study, conducted surveyed 130 sustainability professionals to get their take on and plans for sustainability within their organizations. It was conducted by Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company, in collaboration with TRIRIGA Inc., an IBM company in Las Vegas that specializes facility and real estate management software.

It found a sustainability chasm that it describes as "the gap that exists between two distinct groups of organization as they seek to achieve sustainability goals."

It divided respondents into three groups that were based on their ability to quickly grasp the environmental and economic benefits of sustainability and achieve energy and environment goals.

The three groups were:

• Achievers--Respondents who crossed the sustainability chasm and achieved targeted reduction goals. They accounted for 34 percent of survey respondents.

• Planners--Those measuring energy and environmental performance and evaluating opportunities to meet sustainability goals, but who still haven't crossed the chasm and met their goals. Planners accounted for 58 percent of respondents.

• Stragglers--These respondents, 8 percent of those surveyed, had no energy or environmental strategy in place.

Some key takeaways for you are some of the characteristics of achievers and the strategies they employ to reach their goals.

The report finds, for instance, that executive management support is key. So is collecting and analyzing energy and environment data.

Achievers have some common characteristics.

• They rank sustainability as among their top five priorities for real estate and facilities.

• They use organization-wide internal teams to evaluate and implement sustainability projects.

• They have dedicated budgets for energy and sustainability investments.

• They collect energy information from buildings across the entire portfolio or subset of the portfolio.

In addition, achievers identified three key tactics as priorities to reduce energy use in facilities: operational improvements to reduce maintenance downtime and costs (73 percent); investment in building retrofit projects to improve efficiency of existing assets (61 percent); and implementation of space management programs to improve space utilization (55 percent).

See the complete 30-page report, along with detailed charts and more insight about the hurdles that planners and stragglers need to take to leap the divide.

Source: Green REsource Council Newsletter, May 2011