Sustainable facilities management is about introducing new ways of working, eco-friendly operating methods, managing procurement, supply chain process, energy use and asset management to achieve a carbon neutral impact on the environment. The aim should be to implement sustainable activities, maximize energy efficiency in buildings; while maintaining, reusing, and recycling assets to extend their lifespan and reduce carbon footprint.
Sustainability can mean different things to different people, in the context of soft services, it is all about an eco-friendlier approach by embracing green cleaning solutions, encouraging water and energy saving, putting in place efficient waste management and recycling programs, and applying sustainable laundry practices. Organizations can offer a stronger Client experience while improving the environment by putting a priority on sustainability.
When thinking about sustainability in FM Soft Services, we should keep following key aspects in mind:
Organize a sustainable audit
The first step toward building a sustainable future in facility management is to run a sustainability audit for a comprehensive evaluation of your current workplace practices that recognizes your environmental impact and suggests initiatives to promote and execute sustainable measures. It lets you know soft FM service (also hard services) practices that are worth innovating, progressing, or eliminating to reach better sustainability levels. After doing this, we can create plans to make these initiatives a reality.
Create a culture that fosters sustainability at work
Sustainable facility management should be a collective effort of all employees in an organization. This is why it must be embedded in the company's culture. A way to foster this culture is to educate, set guidelines and systems every member must follow. This may include managing resources and recycling large-scale e-wastes.
Green cleaning solutions
The usage of green cleaning solutions is one of the most important steps towards eco-friendly housekeeping. Traditional cleaning products frequently include dangerous chemicals that can harm the environment and human health. Facilities may reduce their environmental impact while still upholding high levels of cleanliness by switching to biodegradable, non-toxic, and eco-certified cleaning solutions.
Conservation of water
A key component of sustainable housekeeping is water saving. Organizations may take several actions to reduce water use such as installing low-flow/sensor enabled toilets, showerheads, and faucets may drastically cut down on water usage. Another successful tactic is to encourage visitors to reuse towels and linens by posting obvious signs and informing them of the advantages. Training housekeeping workers on effective water consumption habits may also significantly improve water saving efforts.
Organizations may also benefit financially from doing so. By shutting off lights and electronics when not in use especially by Housekeepers, properly insulating rooms to maintain ideal temperatures, and using natural lighting wherever available, housekeeping personnel may help the environment by automatically altering lighting and HVAC systems based on need, smart energy management systems may further optimize energy use.
Management of waste and recycling
One of the most important aspects of eco-friendly housekeeping is efficient waste management. To guarantee the appropriate disposal of recyclable items such paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum, facilities might develop recycling programs. Recycling initiatives may be actively supported by visitors and employees if recycling bins are strategically positioned around the site and there is clear signage explaining the process.
Green cleaning techniques
There might be a significant environmental effect of laundry operations. Facilities may dramatically lower their energy and water usage by utilizing washing equipment that is both water and energy efficient. Using less water and chemicals, it is also helpful to optimize laundry loads and use eco-friendly detergents. Further enhancing sustainability in housekeeping operations is looking into alternative laundry techniques like ozone or cold-water washing.
Using technology in implementation
Facility management leaders are beginning to see the importance of technology to facility management such as use of an effective CAFM solution combined with artificial intelligence (AI) and/or IoT which help us generate and simplify data on all facilities and assets such that these data are interpreted for actionable plans. The possibilities are endless when technology is leveraged toward achieving sustainability in facility management.
Achieving sustainable facility management in a workplace is a challenging task that requires intense preparation and commitment. However, once you define your sustainability goals as an organization, implement the achievable action plans, and leverage technological tools for the process, you'll place your organization in the right spot to enjoy all its benefits.
About the author:
Mohammed Aleemuddin is the Global Head of L&D and Quality Operations – Soft Services at Saudi Services Company Limited (SSCL).