Earth Day 2022: 4 Ways to Promote Sustainable Facilities Management

Published April 15, 2022

Categories: Thought Leadership, Facilities Management, Climate Change, Earth Day

Earth Day 2022 is right around the corner, and businesses, governments, and citizens alike are being called upon to act boldly and innovate broadly to protect the planet.

First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day takes place every year on April 22. However, the event is taking on new importance as global warming worsens and the threat of climate change grows.

The theme of this year’s event is “Invest in Our Planet” – a reminder to everyone, but particularly to business leaders.

Today, businesses are discovering that there’s no longer a choice between going green and growing profits. Sustainability is the key to prosperity.

As advocates for sustainability, facility managers around the world have a responsibility to steer businesses toward environmentally friendly practices.

The International Facilities Management Association (IFMA) said it best: “Sustainable best practices are hardwired into FM operations and strategies.” Sustainability support, education, tools, and recognition should be hardwired into facilities management, too.

Here are four easy ways facility managers can promote sustainability and reduce negative impacts on the environment.

  1. Add plants

    Not only does indoor greenery positively impact occupant health and productivity, but plants on building walls and roofs can significantly reduce energy consumption. Because plants reflect about 30 percent of sunlight and absorb about 50 percent, they reduce the ambient temperature, which increases the efficiency of appliances such as air conditioners and solar panels. What’s more, coverage provided by plants can extend the life of your roof by up to 60 years!

  2. Go green

    Most traditional cleaning agents contain chemicals that are hazardous to both your employees and the environment. By making the switch to eco-friendly cleaning products, you’ll reduce the amount of toxic chemicals released into your facility, and you’ll decrease employee exposure. Be sure to follow the US Environmental Protection Agency’s tips for identifying greener cleaning products.

  3. Perform preventative maintenance

    When equipment isn’t functioning properly, it requires more energy to complete its job. This is especially true for older equipment. Performed at regular intervals, preventative maintenance helps increase overall efficiency to extend the life of your assets and reduce material usage – both big wins when it comes to sustainable facilities management.

  4. Incentivize employees

    Educating others on your initiatives is an important part of your role as a sustainability advocate. Encourage employees to support the cause by starting an incentive program for those who recycle, pick up trash, or use public transportation. You can even join or register a cleanup event in commemoration of Earth Day.

According to earthday.org, research shows a direct correlation between sustainable business practices and business performance. Companies that develop strong Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards have happier employees and better profitability – two things all facility managers should aspire to.

But, more importantly, facility managers should account to their role in reaching a climate change solution. Only together can we build a prosperous and equitable future.

For more information about Earth Day, visit https://www.earthday.org/about-us/.