A Moment of Silence for Japan

A Moment of Silence for Japan

After going to Japan in the aftermath of the '95 Kobe earthquake to promote green rebuilding efforts, what I learned was that people generally thought that rebuilding with green was a great idea, but also that the green plan needed to be in place BEFORE the disaster if there was any hope of implementing it.

Given what I saw and experienced back then, just a few days after the earthquake, it's impossible to not be riveted by what is transpiring in Japan. I was there about six weeks ago talking about how to transform the market for green buildings. Ironically, one of the key activities I mentioned was the development of a green disaster rebuilding plan for the country.

So in honor of the millions of people affected by this calamity, I'd like to take the journalistic equivalent of a moment of silence for the Japanese who lost their lives and for those who continue to struggle to overcome the obstacles that just seem to keep coming. Please add some prayers for our Haitian neighbors to the south who still suffer from last year's tragedy of an unimaginable magnitude.

On a brighter note, congratulations are in order for Adobe Systems Inc., which has just received its ninth LEED Platinum certification, this one a LEED EBOM certification for its Seattle office. During the two-year upgrade process--and I emphasize that EBOM is a process--Adobe so far reduced their energy use by almost 20% while reducing total water consumption by 10%. Of course, EBOM is not about savings, it?s about overall performance, but you can bet that at Platinum, it?s got a pretty good Energy Star score?their California projects average 87. In addition they have improved the manageability of the 165,000 ft² building by adding 30 electrical sub meters and a web-based data management system. Grew its landfill diversion rate by over 60%. Another great feature about Adobe's greening strategy is that the firm is not content to rest on its green design laurels: four of its 11 certifications are re-certifications under EBOM of buildings that were originally certified to LEED NC.

There is some interesting new research on the spectrum of activities that large (revenue or operating budget over $1 billion) private and public organizations are taking to green their buildings that has just come out from Tririga undertaken in conjunction with technology research firm, Gartner.

Breaking the typical five-bin technology adoption curve into three bins that they call "Achievers," representing 34 percent of respondents; "Planners," 58 percent, and " Stragglers" 8 percent of respondents. The report provides insights into the key reasons for the achievers' success:

• active engagement from the top of the organization;
• cross silo implementation teams and implementation of enterprise class technology to support sustainability initiatives;
• sustainability as one of the top five priorities within their real estate and facility strategy;
• budgets commensurate with their goals.

If I had to guess, I would imagine that some of the public sector Achievers evaluated by Tririga, are working with Johnson Controls Building efficiency group. Over the next 10 years, JCI has over 1,000 projects in the pipeline whose aggregate guaranteed savings exceed $4.7 billion in operational costs, including energy and water. The state of Maryland, for example, has achieved overall energy use reductions approaching 20 percent across 37 state facilities. This impressive result is part of the nearly $20 billion in savings that have been achieved to date across JCI's project portfolio.

The release of the EPA Energy Star's Top 25 list for 2010 surely is providing some balm for Los Angeles, which is still recovering from the post film industry awards season hangover. For the third year in a row, Los Angeles tops the list both in the number of Energy Star labeled buildings as well as the total floor area certified. Number four in building count, but number two in total floor space, is Chicago. Washington DC and San Francisco rank second and third, respectively, in building count though New York in Houston take third and fourth respectively in floor area.

Times of economic turmoil often are periods when people take to burnishing their professional credentials so the International Facility Management Association's (IFMA) new Sustainable Facility Professional (SFP) credential could be way to elevate and recognize facility management professionals with sustainability skills. Training and self-assessment materials will be released imminently and an instructor led training will be available this summer. The SFP credential is good for three years before it must be renewed.

This week's Look-Grandpa-I-picked-up-the-$20-bill-you-said-was-fake-but-it's-real! goes to Autodesk for its overall contributions to helping litter the streets with $20 bills as revealed through its large and growing suite of sustainable design tools. In his blog piece, GreenBiz.com executive editor Joel Makower discusses Autodesk and CEO Carl Bass' efforts to get advanced sustainability design tools into the hands of entrepreneurs and students ("gateways to sustainability") and their work with established industries to embed sustainability into their day-to-day design efforts. Also, check out excerpts from Makower's interview with Bass at the end of his article.

Japan photo CC-licensed by the U.S. Navy.