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Focussed Agenda of Reducing Carbon Footprint

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Keeping in mind the increasing requirement of incorporating sustainability goals, reducing carbon footprint and providing cost-effective maintenance & space management, facility heads and service providers have set out with a focussed agenda.
Three forward-looking FM professionals, Prasad P Sakharkar, Manager-Marketing, Forbes Facility Services, Jai Ganesh Nanjan, Facility Management Professional and Immanuel Mohan, Founder, Ark of Sustainability Pvt. Ltd, share their vision for reducing carbon footprint in their respective areas of work with Clean India Journal.

Climate change is a pressing issue that requires urgent action from all sectors of society. Says Prasad Sakharkar from Forbes Facility Services, “While much attention is given to industries and governments in this fight against environmental crisis, one group of professionals often goes unnoticed – facility managers or the Facility Management service providers.”

His team has been working closely with clients to achieve the sustainability & ESG goals of reducing emissions by 45% by 2030. Some of their initiatives include using battery-operated cleaning machines and foam jet machines for washrooms, steam cleaners for hard surfaces, optimizing HVAC systems, digital compliance, installing LED lighting and sensors to improve energy efficiency; facilitating the adaptation of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power within facilities thereby reducing dependency on fossil fuels.

As custodians of the built environment, facility managers possess a unique set of skills and knowledge that can be harnessed to drive sustainable practices and promote eco-friendly operations within facilities. This is what makes us a key player in the larger movement for a greener future, in reducing carbon footprint and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

Prasad P Sakharkar

Other initiatives include implementing waste reduction and recycling programs to minimize waste sent to landfills, including promoting recycling initiatives. Composting organic waste generated from food service sites, reusing waste and excess water at horticulture sites, and reducing single-use plastics within facilities are also in place.

Eco-friendly cleaning materials and energy-efficient appliances are procured and used and a culture of sustainability with employees and stakeholders at the facilities has been cultivated. His team monitors and tracks data to assess the effectiveness of sustainability initiatives and identify areas for improvement.

As part of hard services, the FFS team has increased awareness of temperature control with new-era devices that improve efficiency by the reduced use of compressors. They ensure the use of solar to assist power back-up instead of grid power, monitor and maintain DG efficiency to save fuel and reduce emissions, help clients shift from engine to electric power and save water by employing sprinklers and timers. Sakharkar added that developing kitchen gardens ensured organic material is recycled, and using bio-pellets for fuel, have all contributed to reducing carbon footprint in addition to the soft and hard FM services.

Facility managers play a critical role in reducing the carbon footprint of their organizations. By implementing sustainable practices and technologies and taking a proactive approach to sustainability, facility managers can help their organizations create a more sustainable future and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Jai Ganesh Nanjan

FM professional Jai Ganesh Nanjan lists energy efficiency, water conservation and waste reduction as the top three initiatives to reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint. This can be done through a variety of measures, “such as upgrading to energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and equipment; installing insulation and weather stripping to reduce heat loss; using renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines and implementing energy management systems to track and control energy use”.

Water consumption is closely tied to energy use, as it takes a significant amount of energy to pump, treat, and distribute water. He suggests conservation methods such as installing low-flow faucets and showerheads, water-efficient landscaping practices, reusing water for irrigation and other purposes and capturing rainwater for use in non-potable applications.

Waste disposal contributes to greenhouse gas emissions as it takes energy to collect, transport, and dispose of waste. By implementing waste reduction measures like recycling and composting programs, using reusable products and materials, reducing packaging waste and donating unwanted items to charity, facility managers can help their organizations reduce their waste production and associated emissions, Nanjan adds.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) is also an important consideration for facility managers, he said. Poor IEQ can lead to health problems for occupants, which can reduce productivity and increase absenteeism. By implementing measures to improve IEQ like controlling temperature and humidity, providing adequate ventilation, using low-VOC paints and materials and regularly monitoring indoor air quality, facility managers can help their organizations create a healthier and more productive work environment.

In multi-location office environments, Nanjan recommends that facility managers develop a comprehensive, goal-oriented sustainability plan like replacing use of paper and plastic with ceramic and glass.

Conducting regular energy audits, installing energy efficient lighting, using renewable energy sources like solar and wind power, upgrading HVAC systems to energy-efficient models and working with suppliers to reduce their environmental impact are other measures to reduce carbon footprint in such offices, he suggests.

Tasked with sourcing diverse goods and services, Facility Managers hold the reins to steer organizations towards environmental sustainability. Leveraging their procurement decisions, facility managers can significantly diminish carbon emissions and advance the organization’s net-zero aspirations.

Immanuel Mohan

Immanuel Mohan, Founder of Ark of Sustainability, focuses on the role of facility managers in driving net zero through sustainable procurement. Sustainable procurement entails conscientiously integrating environmental, social, and ethical considerations into purchasing processes. “It favours suppliers and products that minimize environmental degradation, uphold social responsibility, and adhere to ethical standards. Carbon footprint reduction stands as a crucial facet of sustainable procurement, along with resource conservation, ethical labor practices, and support for local economies.”

Facility managers need to meticulously vet suppliers who prioritize sustainability, he opines. They need to rigorously assess the vendors’ environmental practices, utilization of renewable resources, adoption of energy-efficient manufacturing, and waste management protocols. Partnering with sustainable suppliers mitigates the carbon footprint of the supply chain while endorsing businesses committed to sustainability.

FMs need to opt for products and materials in line with sustainability principles like energy-efficient appliances, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, recycled building materials and low-impact furnishings. Such choices mitigate resource depletion, minimize waste accumulation, and alleviate carbon emissions throughout the facility’s lifecycle, he said. By scrutinizing raw material extraction, manufacturing processes, transportation, usage, and disposal, they make informed decisions favoring products with minimal carbon footprints.

Sustainable procurement demands perpetual refinement and innovation, says Mohan. Facility managers need to proactively seek novel technologies, materials, and practices offering heightened sustainability benefits. Embracing renewable energy solutions, waste reduction initiatives, circular economy models, and collaborating with suppliers for eco-friendly products drive innovation, propelling the facility management industry towards a net-zero future.

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