Smart ideas for eco-efficient facilities

August 3, 2011 / By

Recently I had an opportunity to visit the Microsoft Campus in Hyderabad. I was really excited and curious to visit a company’s campus which has a 3R sustainability policy (reduce, reuse and recycle). As I walked into the well maintained campus, a thought crossed my mind: I wanted to know how they implement the 3R policy and whether it was cost effective.

As Jones Lang LaSalle manages the entire Microsoft campus, I met the facility managers. I was really pleased to know that from landscaping to waste management in the building, sustainability policies are followed. Moreover, facility managers definitely can’t go high on spending as this affects their margins. So they have to implement green ideas in a cost effective way. Facility managers at the Microsoft campus were actually successful, to a large extent, in implementing the 3R policy in a cost effective way through “simple ideas”.

Yes, the ideas were actually very simple yet eco-friendly. Let me share a few instances where simple ideas made big changes. For example, facility managers de-weeded a lake within the Microsoft campus by using a species of fish which feeds on water weeds. They were successful in clearing the lake without affecting the ecosystem of the lake. In another instance, the boundary wall of the campus was to be moved to widen a road under instructions from the Government authorities. Facility managers managed to save and replant about 98% of the plants and trees that were landscaped around the boundary wall of the campus.

In addition, facility managers were also successful in reducing energy usage in the buildings. As the facility managers detected that there was energy wastage due to the air conditioning in partially occupied spaces, they introduced a VAV (Variable Air Volume Controllers) in the HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning System) which is space-, location- and occupancy-specific. This resulted in an 18% reduction in energy usage by the HVAC. The lighting system was also retrofitted with LED lamps to reduce energy usage for lighting by about 50%. These ideas were not only eco-friendly but also very cost efficient.

Similar ideas to manage commercial facilities so that there is energy efficiency and conservation of the environment are being implemented in other corporate facilities such as IBM, Computer Associates and Accenture etc. It was a really good experience to know that these facility managers are actually making the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit) happen through simple but important changes in their approaches to managing facilities. Napoleon Hill, quite rightly, said that “Ideas are beginning points of all fortunes.” Simple ideas can really give smart approaches towards sustainability in managing commercial facilities. These can bring stark changes in saving energy and the environment which can be converted to tangible and intangible benefits.


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