Greening the Workplace

Feb. 1, 2003
Facility managers take steps to go green.
A survey conducted by the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) shows 95 percent of facility professionals envision sustainability will become an important issue for their profession, and most are already taking proactive steps to ensure a greener workplace.One of the top reasons cited for greening facilities was improved employee health and productivity (76 percent). Additional reasons, as shown in Figure One, included:* cost savings (72 percent);* environmental responsibility (65 percent);* and product life cycle analysis (41 percent).Figure Two illustrates some of the actions facilities managers have implemented or plan to implement in the next two years in the area of product specification and purchasing.In the area of recycling, 88 percent of respondents said they are already recycling solid waste; 49 percent are re-using materials; 36 percent said they are reducing the production of solid waste and 12 percent are recycling water. Another 67 percent said they are purchasing recycled office products.In addition, 78 percent said that they use natural daylight in the facilities they manage, and 67 percent said they have lighting fixture retrofits in place. More than half have instituted an employee education program. The survey, sent to 3,400 facility management practitioners in the United States and Canada in September 2002, garnered an 11 percent response rate. The primary objectives of the study, conducted with support from DuPont Commercial Flooring, were:* to assess facility managers' knowledge of sustainability issues; * to ascertain to what degree green practices have been implemented; * to measure familiarity with sustainability terms; * to determine the importance of factors in selecting sustainable carpet;* and to learn which carpet manufacturers facility managers consider as having sustainable practices. IFMA is the Houston, TX-based professional association for facility management with approximately 18,000 members worldwide. The combined purchasing power of IFMA's North American members is $64 billion (U.S.) annually. For more information, visit the association's Web site at

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