Archive for November, 2009

ENERGY STAR: The Power of Participation

November 23, 2009

 
Posted By: Bob Best
Investor Services Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

The old saying is that every journey starts with a single step.  The same is true of energy savings.  While the focus is most often on the big, spectacular projects, the real savings start with people and habits.  To get people oriented toward savings, at home or in the workplace, they need a focal point … something simple.
 
The ENERGY STAR Pledge is a fantastic place to start, an easy first step.
 
In October of this year, we at Jones Lang LaSalle decided to commit our total employee population to the ENERGY STAR Pledge.  That’s right, 100% of our employees would take the Pledge.  After a month-long effort, that included every communications vehicle we could think of (e-mails, posters, newsletter ads, broadcast phone messages, payroll stuffers, town hall meetings and more); we are now at 63% (7,000 employees) and we continue to add people every day.  Our message is consistently simple: “Take the Pledge.  It takes a minute.”  We are now proudly number 2 on the ENERGY STAR Pledge organization list, following only the U.S. Department of Defense.
 
Does it really make a difference?  ENERGY STAR automatically calculates the impact of the energy reductions on the Pledge site. In our case, those 7,000 employees have pledged to take actions that will save 142 million pounds of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, over $11 million, nearly 78 million kWh and 197 billion BTUs.
 
But, there’s something far more important, and that’s the individual impact.  Another employee stopped me in the hall at work the other day and told me they had taken the Pledge on a Friday and was out buying light bulbs the next day.  He said he would have never even thought about compact fluorescents before, but that’s what he bought, because it was on his mind.  Multiply that story by 7,000 and something magical starts to happen.
 
ENERGY STAR makes it so easy.  I’d encourage every company to take that first step.
 
To check out the ENERGY STAR Pledge site, click here.

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Ten things learned at Greenbuild

November 19, 2009

Posted by:
Michael Jordan
Corporate Services Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

I attended Greenbuild last week with several of my colleagues.  Following the conference, we pooled our observations to compare notes on hot topics.  I’ll expand on a few of these over time but here is a quick list: 

– Advances in LED lighting are making this product much more lucrative

– Government regulations with serious implications for business and real estate will most likely pass in late 2010-2011 (stay tuned!)

– Leases are catching up to the sustainability movement

– Solar is a hot topic (whether its practical or not is another question)

– Energy efficiency and energy usage reduction are still paramount

 -Existing buildings are where the biggest gains are to be made (however, managers of existing buildings seemed under represented at the conference)

– There are a surprising number of rainwater storage solutions

– Zero net energy buildings are feasible today – for the right sized and shaped building

– There is real concern about the lack of C-Suite sponsorship for supporting green initiatives given economic downturn and large scale layoffs

– Al Gore’s keynote speech—and a lot of the sessions—focused less on climate change, and more on creating green jobs. Gore said the green building business can create 2.5 million permanent jobs that can’t be outsourced.

Greenbuild:it’s all about practical

November 15, 2009

Dan Probst - Jones Lang LaSalle

Posted by:
Dan Probst
Global Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

I’m still absorbing all the interesting things I learned at Greenbuild, but if there was one big idea that jumped out, it was the focus on practical solutions.

For example, in his witty and inspiring speech, Al Gore barely touched on the horrors of climate change, focusing instead on practical arguments for energy and sustainability: the creation of millions of American jobs and the ability to control our own energy future instead of waiting for another OPEC price hike to cause the next economic crisis. It’s a reality that many Americas are unconvinced of the threat of global warming, but no one can deny the need to create jobs, improve efficiency and enhance energy security over the long-term.

This year at Greenbuild, more corporate real estate executives and institutional investors turned out than ever before. Owners are not merely star-gazers. The fact that many are taking the time to learn green strategies signals that  sustainability is really taking hold–not as a trend–but as a business imperative.

ENERGY STAR: more than just a rating system

November 12, 2009

Gary GrahamPosted by:
Gary Graham
Energy Services Lead
United States
Energy and Sustainability Services

Greenbuild is a great place to meet up with friends and colleagues in the green building industry. Yesterday, we spent some time with Alyssa Quarforth of the EPA and Deborah Cloutier of JDM Associates. We chatted about the great strides ENERGY STAR has made in recent years and obstacles that still remain.

The good news is that enrollment in ENERGY STAR is around 120,000 properties, more than twice what it was a couple of years ago. We know first-hand what an accomplishment this is.  Building owners are often reluctant to enroll because they view ENERGY STAR solely as a rating system. They think if their building doesn’t receive the ENERGY STAR label; it may make them look bad. Many don’t realize ENERGY STAR’S value in benchmarking building performance and identifying areas for improvement. ENERGY STAR’s growth over the past couple of years actually means its performance database is larger than ever, and in turn it is more valuable to its participants.

The Smallest Way for Real Estate Teams to Make a Big Difference

November 10, 2009

JLL-Michael-Jordan-85Posted by:
Michael Jordan
United States
Corporate Services Lead
Energy and Sustainability Services

 As I talk to companies around the country, I’m hearing a single refrain about what we could do most to improve the impact of real estate and facilities sustainability efforts:  adoption.
 
By adoption, I mean the ability to take a project that worked in one part of the portfolio and do that project again and again to create the financial and environmental payback that comes from scale.  Like when Wal*Mart de-lamped vending machines in its break rooms and saved a million dollars in energy.

More and more, the sustainability managers in our workplaces are suffering less from the ability to come up with good ideas.  What they need now is delivery.  Fortunately, this is where Corporate Real Estate (CRE) departments have a real advantage.  Corporate real estate teams are used to the idea of having to reach out to facilities around the globe.

 An effective sustainability program should be a combination of basic operating standards, high-gain projects, and the occasional major investment.  You can’t run your whole sustainability program on solar power (not any time soon, anyway) – only a handful of locations are probably good candidates for solar.  But if you can globally deploy controls, behavior changes, and space design standards that minimize the demand for real estate, that is real change.

So how do we achieve adoption?  This is where change management comes in.  Better to have 95% adoption of good ideas than 5% adoption of amazing ideas!  Your program needs infrastructure to spread knowledge about what works, to incent good behavior, and to monitor performance via good data.  Are your leaders engaged?  Have you assigned accountabilities and decision-rights?

One of my clients realized early on that the key to success across a global portfolio was to build assessment tools and to work with his company’s leaders to develop the business case for their action plans.  He built a library of how-to’s – for everything from fixing air leaks to preventive maintenance to re-lamping to cogen (and, yes, even solar).  He built a database of advice and is taking the program on the road via key stakeholders.  His company won’t hire an army of managers to cover the globe (and I suspect yours won’t, either).  But by working smart, he gets leverage.

Every corporate sustainability report I read has good examples of one-off projects at this or that facility.  But to drive real change with even a single project of any complexity, I count on 2 full years of careful stakeholder engagement.  With accountable leadership and support, that is how we will win this battle.