Facility managers are increasingly following a master plan when implementing sustainable practices and are tying their efforts to measurable goals and business strategy, according to the results of a new International Facility Management Association survey. The study, "Green Practices 2008," shows that while recycling and energy conservation initiatives are being practiced by the vast majority of facility practitioners, financial challenges still present the biggest impediment to going green.
Based on a survey of 573 professionals from around the world, the new research report examines the forces driving sustainability, the green practices being employed and the challenges facility managers face in implementing sustainable initiatives.
While most survey respondents say they are implementing green building concepts without a master plan, 17-percent say they are adhering to one an increase of nine-percent over similar data from 2002. The percentage of respondents who say they have not implemented any green strategies and do not plan to fell from 16-percent in 2002 to only five-percent this year. 92-percent of survey respondents say they are working to make their facilities more sustainable, and the same percentage say they have measurable goals related to sustainability. Seventy-nine percent say these goals are linked to their organization's business strategy.
"For years facility managers have been advancing sustainable practices with the aim to lower operating costs and improve efficiency," says IFMA Director of Research Shari Epstein. "This study demonstrates the gradual shift toward incorporating sustainability into the overall business strategy in addition to the overall design and operation of the facility."
The new survey also presents some of the first data on sustainability in food service operation. In addition to recycling and changes in packaging, facility managers are also turning to sustainable purchasing, such as reducing shipping distance for food products, and tray-less cafeterias, which discourage excess waste.
"Food service is perhaps one of the least explored aspects of sustainability, yet it can impact virtually hundreds of thousands of people," says Teena Shouse, CFM, senior FM consultant at Facility Engineering Associates, who also speaks and teaches on food service sustainability. "Whether it is simply reducing disposables or significantly changing the behavior of the customers and the practices of the food service providers, there is a huge opportunity here that is cost effective to investigate and respond to. These results illustrate that efforts are improving, but we have many opportunities available to us through education and the exploration of possibilities."
Results of the new survey will be presented at the World Workplace 2008 Conference & Expo on Wednesday, October 15, during the Global FM Sustainability Project, which seeks to compile and share the sustainability initiatives and best practices of leading organizations and businesses around the globe. For a complete list of survey results, or to view other IFMA research reports, go to http://www.ifma.org/tools/research/survey_results.cfm. Members of the media interested in attending World Workplace may register at no cost on site at the Dallas Convention Center.
IFMA's World Workplace Conference & Expo is an annual three-day educational and networking event focused on the future of the built environment. Building on the professional development opportunities available through the association year-round, the World Workplace experience includes a conference focused entirely on education and an exposition incorporating product demonstration and instruction. This year's conference will be held Oct. 15-17, 2008, at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. For more information, visit http://www.workplace.org.