Any building can be a better building

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Written by: Alexa Stone

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? 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.[1]

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%.[2] We have seen the average payback for commissioning services offset by savings within 2 years.[3]

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.[4]

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[5] 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.[6]

TRUE Zero Waste certification[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

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

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AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

Tools tailored to location and need

Disaster resilience requires a select toolset, identified, adapted, or created as needed based on planning calls and inclusive workshop participation.

Business and government organizations today are confronted by threat categories that range from drought to flood, from fire to hurricane, and extend globally to pandemics and sea level rise. Threat categories are broad and diverse, but ecoPreserve and collaborating organizations design resiliency tools for specific local context.

Local needs are identified and verified. Building from that essential understanding, tools are designed, tested in pilot programs, refined, then implemented through action plans.

Today's challenges/
tomorrow's potential

ecoPreserve collaborates with major community and private organizations in optimizing the resiliency and resource efficiency of their workplaces, venues, and public spaces.

In response to ever-increasing environmental, sociopolitical, and public health challenges, we advocate for and participate in assessment and planning actions that directly address disaster preparations, recovery activities, infrastructure improvements, and smart building/city design.

Online and in-person workshops

ecoPreserve designs and leads workshops in varied formats, to achieve varied goals.

Often an event is held for skill and knowledge development, but some needs of an organization or community are better resolved through collaboration to identify requirements and to design solutions. A range of Disaster Resilience workshops are available for solutions planning and development, as well as for training and communication.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Workshops

  • Identify technical and business process gaps
  • Define stakeholders, recovery teams, and processes/functionalities necessary for operation
  • Highlight missed expectations from a data loss and recovery time perspective
  • Address compliance with regulatory agencies and industry standards
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

Facility Condition Report

The report is prepared in accordance with the recommendations of ASTM E2018-15, Standard Guide for Property Condition Assessments. This is a partial list of contents:

  • PHYSICAL CONDITION
    • General condition of the building, grounds, and appurtenances
    • Physical deficiencies, their significance, and suggested remedies
    • Photographs
    • Safety issues observed
  • INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPREAD POTENTIAL
  • OPPORTUNITIES
    • Potential operating efficiencies
    • Electricity and water use reductions
    • High-efficiency interior and exterior lighting
  • ORDER OF MAGNITUDE RENOVATION BUDGET
    • Recommended interior finishes
    • Construction costs

Risk Mitigation Improvements

  • IAQ
    • Airflow
    • Temperature and humidity
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC EQUIPMENT
    • Settings
    • Conditions
    • Capability
    • Filtration
  • FLOORPLAN
    • Traffic patterns
  • FURNISHINGS
    • Placement for social distancing
    • Clear barriers where social distancing is not possible

Interior Elements

  • Foundation
  • Building frame and roof
  • Structural elements
    • Floors, walls, ceilings
    • Access and egress
    • Vertical transportation (escalators and elevators)
  • HVAC equipment and ductwork
  • Utilities
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
  • Safety and fire protection

Grounds and Appurtenances

  • Façades or curtainwall
  • Topography
  • Storm water drainage
  • Paving, curbing, and parking
  • Flatwork
  • Landscaping
  • Recreational facilities
Here's how to request further information. Thank you for reaching out!

AWARE of CDC and NIH guidelines

The Baseline Property Condition Assessments described in ASTM E2018-15 do not specify consideration of infectious disease transmission concerns. In a pandemic and post-pandemic environment, that inspection and documentation is essential.

Buildings open to the public must comply with local regulations. For best results and greatest public acceptance, any planning for building repairs and maintenance should not overlook current CDC and NIH guidelines.

Optionally, ecoPreserve's can assist with a comprehensive GBAC STAR™ Accreditation which extends beyond the building to include the goals, actions, equipment, and supplies needed to implement best practices for outbreak prevention, response, and recovery.

An OPTIMIZED Assessment

Certified Sustainability Consultants on a facility assessment team can discover ways to lower energy costs. Their understanding of HVAC equipment suitability and condition along with the specifics of LED lighting retrofits can provide offsets for needed investments in upgrades and replacements.

Knowledge of water systems can bring further savings while averting water waste. It can all be part of an assessment which might otherwise overlook water fixtures and irrigation schedules.

How should a facility be ASSESSED?

A thorough facility assessment finds the issues - on the surface or below - which have a potential negative impact on the building. That brings the facility to meet building codes. Beyond that, the assessment proactively addresses the deficiencies not covered by code.

The occupants of a building benefit as the assessment reveals conditions having a potential impact on their health or safety. The assessment must not overlook those conditions, nor fail to consider the frequency and duration of occupant visits.