Green Buildings — Sustainability
The initial point to begin the development of a green buildings and sustainability plan is to understand that there is no one program that establishes a framework for a company to follow.
Many program guidelines have been published, many models exist, and even more models are proposed worldwide. However, none have been adopted as the standard, as each company is unique in the products and services provided; thus the environmental impacts differ.
In 1996, the term ‘zero-discharge program’ was replaced by a holistic concept called ‘industrial ecology,’ an ambiguous term replaced by ‘environmental sustainability’ and later shortened to ‘sustainability.’
The popular term is Green Buildings.
Most of the assignments the firm has completed involve the development of programs ultimately leading to the goal of corporate or institutional sustainability. These are:
- Energy Assessments;
- LEED® Certification Assessments;
- Renewable Energy Assessments;
- Transportation Fleet Assessments;
- Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Emission Assessments;
- Water Conservation Assessments;
- Recycling and Solid Waste Management Assessment and Planning.
The assignments have led to the implementation of detailed plans resulting in projects that have achieved or exceeded the expectations of the clients. For example:
- Energy Projects implemented in 2010 reduced consumption and costs on average from 9% to 14% per year;
- LEED® Certifications at the Platinum and Gold levels that have reduced operating costs by 18% to 21% per year. For example, Discovery Channel is reporting an 18% reduction in operating costs;
- Renewable energy projects in construction that will produce on average 20% to 25% of the facilities’ annual consumption. The construction and operation are paid for through third party power purchase agreements;
- Transportation fleet plans implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 12% per year and improving vehicle efficiency by 18% per year;
- Northrop Grumman established a five-year plan for a 15% reduction in energy consumption and a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emission. The current reduction level based on energy consumption is 8% within the first two years;
- Frederick County Maryland adopted a comprehensive fossil fuel reduction plan that within the first year has exceeded the plan’s goals by 6%;
- In 2003, the Park and Planning Commission in Maryland implemented a commission-wide water reduction plan and staff best management practice program with the largest reduction in consumption in 2010 from 95,880 to 68,816 gallons per year.
Many of the firm’s projects have evolved into a Green Business Plan or a Sustainability Plan. No two plans are the same; no one model works for all businesses and organizations. Therefore, a customized plan must be developed using standards that are specific to each organization.
The majority of CQI Associates clients have asked to begin the process with energy management. This foundation provides the financial results to fund other program elements like water conservation, recycling, green procurement, green cleaning, improved indoor air quality, renewable energy alternatives, and in some cases, alternative transportation planning. In most cases, the step-by-step process has taken multiple years to implement with each year building on the success of the prior year. The resulting savings have provided financial incentives for management to continue the development and expansion of the plans.
Not all the clients call the program a ‘Sustainability Plan;’ however, all promote the success of the program to staff, customers, shareholders, and stockholders.
CQI Associates’ clients that have embraced this staged process leading to green business/sustainability plans are:
- Discovery Channel Communications Headquarters, Silver Spring, Maryland – Platinum
- The Embassy of Finland, Washington, DC – Platinum Recertification
- Discovery Channel Communications Day Care Center, Silver Spring, Maryland – Gold
- Stratford Realty – 201 N Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland – Gold
- Cushman & Wakefield – 2001 K Street NW, Washington DC – Gold
- Heritage Properties Headquarters Building, Towson, Maryland – Gold
- Essex Meadows, Essex, Connecticut – Gold
- Lockheed Martine, Maryland – Gold
- Mercy Ridge Retirement Community, Towson, Maryland – Gold
- Frederick Community College Building 2, Frederick, Maryland – Gold
- 999 Corp Center, Linthicum, Maryland – Gold
LEED® Certification Feasibility Assessments
- University of Maryland Physicians Building, Baltimore, Maryland
- The Field School, Washington DC
- The Brick Companies Headquarters Building, Annapolis, Maryland
- Cushman & Wakefield – 1615 K Street NW, Washington DC
- American Association of Medical Colleges – Washington DC
- University of Maryland Community Care Building, Baltimore, Maryland
These program evaluation tools are an accepted foundation to assist in the development of a roadmap for measuring the performance of the operation and maintenance of existing buildings.