What makes a better building?

Better Buildings

Better buildings use energy more efficiently and waste less water. The materials they are made of and that are used in them provide the greatest possible value. Energy, water, and waste are quantified and tracked. Workplaces in those buildings are healthy and ergonomic.

Any building can be a better building. Potential savings and expense reduction opportunities ranging from low-cost quick wins to long-term investments are found through assessments. Those assessments range from the limited and simple to detailed and comprehensive.

Better buildings aren’t limited to downtown zip codes or trendy street address. They are not marked on maps. GPS devices will not locate them. There’s no need. Chances are, a better building is literally within your reach. Here is what sets them apart:

Greater energy efficiency

Are energy costs a concern in your building? Benchmarking and assessments will quantify metered use. Use easily translates to dollars.

A popular tool for first assessing energy efficiency is the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®.[1] It is offered free by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can also track water, waste, and materials use.

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) developed and maintains a comprehensive set of metrics to certify efficient and sustainable buildings. Trained and certified ecoPreserve Sustainability Specialists assist with USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) assessments. Certified Green Globes and Net Zero Energy assessments can be done as well[2].

While assessments define current state and costs, four prescriptive services are also available. Commissioning, re-commissioning, retro-commissioning, and building tune-ups all find value and efficiencies that reduce operating and maintenance costs. Retro-commissioning can achieve annual energy savings of 15%.[3] We have seen the average payback for commissioning services offset by savings within 2 years.[4]

Less water waste

Less Water Waste

It pays to be aware of and promptly fix broken sprinkler heads and leaky faucets. A single slowly dripping tap wastes 2,500 gallons of water in less than a year. Automatic faucets provide even greater savings, conserving 70% of the water waste associated with other types of faucets.[5]

Are you concerned about expense dollars headed down the drain? Most USGBC LEED and Green Globes assessments promote efficiency in water as well as energy use.

Optimized material use

Waste to Energy

Sustainable purchasing practices[6] bring materials into a building at the lowest Life Cycle Cost. The bottom-line benefits can continue from there. Waste can be minimized. Some items can be repurposed, and others donated for tax benefit. Food waste from grocers and restaurants may yield biofuels at an Energy from Waste (EfW) plant.[7]

TRUE Zero Waste certification[8] reviews the full lifecycle of all materials. In doing so, it achieves savings while reducing an organization’s carbon footprint and boosting public health.

Information access

Information Access

The day-to-day use of energy, water, and materials in a building can all be quantified as data. Once captured, analysis of that data can guide equipment maintenance schedules, HVAC systems adjustments, and future purchase decisions.

Information systems can multiply the value of a building’s data by formatting it visually and distributing it to decision-makers in varied departments. Those systems may be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as a dashboard. Their value can be further enhanced when the data is standardized and summarized for senior management decisions.[9]

Workplace wellness

Workplace Wellness

Even when a building’s utilities are fine-tuned and the materials in it yield zero waste, the quality of workplace wellness will impact every organization in that facility.

The WELL Building Standard can certify that a building environment is optimal for workers and customer wellness. Those standards align with several USGBC LEED standards. A project including both LEED and WELL assessments will address energy efficiency concurrently with optimal Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). That makes a building efficient to operate as well as comfortable for its occupants.[10]

For answers to questions you may have about benchmarking, assessments, or commissioning, ecoPreserve is here to help.

Alexa Stone
LEED AP, Sustainable Facility Professional, Envision Sustainability Professional - - Alexa has more than 25 years of experience in sustainable and Smart Cities development. Her strategic planning work has served local, state, and federal government, higher education, and private industry. Alexa founded ecoPreserve in 2009 as a team of 3 and has grown the company to over a dozen of the brightest sustainability and project management professionals in the industry.
Alexa Stone


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