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 . They are also responsible for 25 percent of global water consumption and 40 percent of global resource consumption . In addition to their environmental impact, facilities are community/social hubs that can bring people together, making your building a great 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:

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 left. 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.

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
  • Improving facility recycling
  • Implementing a green cleaning program

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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