According to the UK Green Building Council – “Globally, buildings account for around 35% of resources used, 40% of energy use, and consume 12% of the world’s drinkable water and produce nearly 40% of global carbon emissions. In the UK, construction and operation of buildings and homes accounts for 1/2 of the UK’s total CO2 emissions”.
A recent study by the US Environmental Protection Agency concluded that US citizens spend over 90% of their time indoors. Therefore, c.90% is a good estimation of how long Brits stay indoors too! This brings us seamlessly onto the topic of “facility management” – a phrase you may not be familiar with. Facility management can be shortened to “FM” and is both an industry “sector” like manufacturing, and a “profession” like “HR”.
The FM sector plays a critical role in both indoor and outdoor safety, cleanliness, and maintenance and right here in Reading we are reaping the benefits of its outcomes, probably without realising it. The Oracle is kept clean and tidy, perhaps your office block has a friendly face at reception or a reliable security guard, or the apartment complex where you live has a point of contact which responds to your reporting of problems. Home owners experience “FM” too – because if the light is broken – you replace it; if the bins are full – you empty them. If these things didn’t happen, your experience of the buildings in which you spend a lot of time would be pretty poor.
These are really just the “bare bones” of FM. In view of the statistics presented at the beginning of this blog, FM also has a larger role to play in the global and national mission to mitigate climate change.
If you feel your energy bills are too high – you might take steps to reduce them. The same can reasonably be expected of the organisations running Reading’s buildings and outdoor spaces to take these steps to reduce spending and therefore reduce energy use, waste generation, water consumption and other resource use. A sustainable approach is widely recognised for its capacity to reduce “running costs” in the long-term – making budgets last longer. This could save all of Reading’s organisations lots of money…
Over the coming years, The Reading Sustainability Centre (TRSC), seeks to work more closely with the facility management teams of Reading’s buildings and outdoor spaces to ensure these expectations are being met. Unless a coordinated sustainability strategy is established (and more importantly, implemented) customer, visitor, employee, and public experience will not be as good as it should be. The efforts you make to change your behaviours at home to reduce energy consumption and recycle more can and should be being mirrored by your workplace and the places you visit.
Please contact The Reading Sustainability Centre to find out more, to illustrate how your building or the building you manage is contributing to the wider sustainability agenda, and to engage with ongoing TRSC activities. TRSC is also a valuable resource for buildings and organisations seeking advice on how to further their sustainability agendas.