Cory Campora, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Region Hawaii Natural Resource manager, speaks to a patron on environment conservation efforts at the Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange Earth Day Expo: Partnering for a Greener Future on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. Earth Day serves as a reminder of the importance of environmental protection and community engagement and has been celebrated nationally since 1970. This year, more than 45 installations around the world are celebrating Earth Day with community events such as recycling drives, beach and base cleanups, 5K runs, bike-to-work initiatives, tree plantings, and environmental fairs. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Johans Chavarro/Released)

Earth day is approaching, and the best way to rise to the occasion is using facility-based green initiatives to bring in big energy savings. According to the International Energy Agency, buildings account for approximately 40 percent of total direct and indirect carbon emissions–and for 25 percent of global water consumption. Although facilities are attached to a major environmental impact, they are also community/social hubs that can bring people together. Your building can help mitigate the global resource footprint by making your building a place to spread knowledge and make a collective positive impact. This Earth Day, let’s leverage the opportunity to facilitate change through the following initiatives…

 

Harvard Green Team Infographic

1. Educating Occupants

Teaching what people can do to contribute to a healthier facility and planet is the ideal way to raise environmental awareness and share valuable knowledge this Earth day.

Signs can spread environmental and climate literacy throughout your facility, inform occupants of your building’s green features, and/or provide tips for reducing impacts. For example, Harvard’s Green Team puts up posters featuring a Green Tip of the Month, like the one pictured to the right.

Facility managers can show where occupants can recycle in the facility, lock up their bikes, or donate office supplies all amazing poster ideas that reduce environmental impact on a daily basis in your buildings. Signs can also be used to share facility-wide sustainability goals/progress and engage occupants in such initiatives. Presentations and idea sharing events are also great tools to raise awareness on Earth Day.

2. Implementing Sustainable Initiatives and Innovations

Green facility initiatives and sustainable innovations have a direct and measurable impact on the Earth. What better time to implement such initiatives than on Earth Day? In addition, these improvements also result in significant cost savings. Make sure you set measurable goals so you can track progress and engage occupants in their collective achievements. If you are just beginning your sustainable transformation, some simple and impactful initiatives include:

  • LED lighting retrofits: Stouch Lighting, is a lighting company with a host of information regarding the benefits of a LED retrofit for your business.

  • Improving facility recycling: The implementation of a waste minimization program will deliver insights on data received from your buildings waste stream cycle from start to finish. Improvements in your waste stream(s) can quickly translate into significant savings, bringing in more resources to satisfy your building customers.

  • Implementing a green cleaning program: ZWS has designed and implemented a Green Cleaning Program, resulting in the elimination of 1,598.2 pounds of hazardous material content from Columbus Air Force base operations. Program’s like these can really become “proof in the pudding” for your Earth Day celebration. Whether beginning or reporting the finish of a Green Cleaning Program, it will always be a solid start to getting your building into the Earth Day spirit.

3. Conducting Community Campaigns

Facilities are a communal hub and a great place to foster collective efforts and impacts. Earth Day is an opportunity to bring occupants and community members together to fight for a brighter future. Environmental events are fun, engaging and help promote environmental conscious activism. Inviting community members and other local facilities to join forces and entice community participation with fun games, food, and entertainment. Some example activities can be:

  • Green Challenges: challenge and help participants to identify three things that they can implement at the office and at home to reduce their impacts. Help them set specific and measurable goals and pledges to see how far they have come at the next Earth Day event.

  • Awards and Prizes: recognize and reward the achievements participants have made of the past year (e.g. Greenest Employee Award). Facilities themselves can also compete with each other, and compare annual achievements each subsequent Earth Day.

  • Collective Events: Bring community members together for collective-one day efforts such as beach/park cleanups and tree plantings.

Environmental awareness can sometimes be a bit dismal, however, Earth Day is an opportunity to make it fun and engaging! Starting with these three ideas will bring the community together and create a foundation for your team to improve and innovate each year, making your facility a catalyst for positive impact!

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