What is Green Building? Definitions and Concepts

We’ve all heard the term “green building”, but what exactly does it mean? Simply, green building is a method that uses efficient design, advanced technology, sustainable construction and maintenance elements that creates a building that has very little impact on the environment and a promotes a healthy atmosphere for those who live or work in the building. These environmentally-friendly buildings can be high-rise office buildings, apartments, residential homes or schools. Furthermore, they can be found all over the country, from the deep, hot South to the cold, snowy North.

One of the challenges of living in an eco-conscious society is making buildings and homes that already exist conform to greener standards. Buildings can be retrofitted to encompass efficient technology so their emission level and energy consumption is as minimal as possible. An easy way to start making your facility more energy-conscious is by purchasing energy-efficient appliances, which will save you a lot of money on your electricity bills. You can also begin to employ techniques that will reduce your total water consumption and winterize windows and doors to prevent heat loss.

Many green buildings use solar lighting and generate their own energy. Solar panels on buildings will not only provide your facility with all the energy it needs to function, but in many cases, you can sell the excess energy to the local power company. Solar powered heating and lighting are a great way to significantly reduce your building’s energy consumption and harmful emissions.

Green buildings can also use natural ventilation systems to help reduce indoor air pollution and allergens. This is especially beneficial for those with asthma, suffer from allergies or have other respiratory problems. Building materials that are free from chemicals and toxins, along with a natural ventilation system, will allow people to breath easy while inside the facility. It has been shown that people who work inside of buildings with modern ventilation systems are more productive and use fewer sick days than those who work in conventional office buildings.

Do not be overwhelmed by the staggering amount of green technologies that can be applied to a building. You do not have to employ each one right away. You can start by making small changes and work your way up to a totally green, energy efficient facility. A green building consultant can help you focus your energy conservation goals and show you exactly how your building’s performance efficiency will change with each step you take. Also, this type of consultant can help your maintenance department implement CMMS software (or Computerized Maintenance Management Software), which helps a maintenance department run more effectively and efficiently.

Green buildings can save, on average, 40% of their total energy costs. This means more money in your pocket and less harmful emissions being sent out into our surrounding environment. This type of decrease in energy consumption means the burning of coal and oil is reduced, thereby helping lessen the impact of global climate change. The recycled materials used in the construction of green buildings help keep our ecosystem regulated.

Any small step you take to make your facility run more efficiently, or “green”, would be a wise decision. You’ll be saving money in the long run, promoting a healthier lifestyle and helping to conserve our delicate ecosystem.

Green Commercial Buildings

In this day and age, it is simply not economical to consume unlimited energy resources. Costs for electricity, natural gas and heating fuel are climbing at a consistent rate, and show no signs of slowing down. Furthermore, the traditional methods of building maintenance and upkeep have become obsolete as technology is changing and our social responsibilities demand that corporations take a proactive step toward energy efficiency and green construction.

Those who live in residential neighborhoods have already begun shifting the way they consume energy – including electricity and fuel. For the past few years, statistics have shown that green products, from efficient fluorescent light bulbs to major energy efficient appliances, have been selling more often as people want to do their part to help the environment while saving money in the process. These same small steps can be done on a larger, commercial scale and achieve similar results.

Building managers who operate a traditional facility can begin thinking about their building’s carbon footprint and the type of lifestyle it promotes for the people who live or work in or around it. At first, the simple step of switching to energy efficient fluorescent light bulbs can be one way of reducing energy consumption, and reducing monthly energy expenses. From their, a building manager may explore the possibility of installing modern appliances that use a fraction of the electricity and energy of older, non energy-efficient appliances. Windows and doors can be replaced with models that are highly insulated, ensuring that the building’s heating and cooling system runs more effectively. New heating, cooling and ventilation systems can drastically improve indoor air quality and give the inhabitants of the building allergen-free air to breath.

On a larger scale, companies who strive to be proactive and drastically reduce outside energy consumption can install energy-generating devices that will allow the building to be self-sufficient. Solar panels and wind turbines will generate electricity for use inside the facility. In many cases, solar panels and wind turbines can create more than enough electricity – meaning an environmentally conscious, green building can help generate power for its entire community.

There are many steps one can take to improve building performance efficiency, small and large. Working with a green building consultant, a building manager can decide the right path for their facility and implement better maintenance techniques. CMMS implementation can greatly reduce costs and ensure building performance is running at the highest level of efficiency.

Green building consultants have expert knowledge on the most up-to-date green building techniques and can recommend energy efficient products and green product manufacturers. Remodeling and existing building or constructing a new facility with the help of a green building consultant will guarantee that it is designed in the most energy efficient manner and promotes a healthy lifestyle for those who live or work in it.

Corporate Team Building Activity – Failure To Achieve Results

Your corporate team building program was not a success? Here are four possible reasons why.

1) Lack of understanding why they are there.

If the participants are not made aware of the reason for the team building program there can be some serious hostility. Some coordinators like to “keep the people in the dark” and surprise them when the team building program starts. Another common idea is, we will not tell them what we are doing and when it starts they will be totally surprised. These two ideas are a recipe for disaster, and a competent team building facilitator’s worst nightmare. As adults the idea a “SURPRISE” you need better team work, does not create a happy environment.

Instead what coordinators of team building programs should do is speak to the team inform them that they are going to be taking part in a team program. You are going to get some groans and people may not want to attend. This however is alright. The team building program should not be viewed as a prison sentence. Let them go to the meeting, ask them to observe for a little time, if they still do not wish to participate, this is their choice.

Within work teams – initiative and choice is a building block for team work, you must respect your team members decision.

2) Improper sequencing of activities

This cannot be said loud enough. What sequencing is in the team building world is the order of activities, each one adding a new level of comfort and acceptance to the group. Many times the coordinator of the event and even worse the facilitator wants to “scare them straight into being a team” by pushing a huge physical, mental or emotional challenge on participants for the first activity. If this happens almost 90% of the participants will back out immediately.

Participants understand that they are not going to love every team building activity, and that they have the choice to change their minds. A proper sequence starts with the groups’ current state of being. Do they know each other well? Have they worked together for 30+ years? Is there some hidden conflict waiting to erupt? The sequencing depends on the facilitator of your event; the facilitator should at the least have knowledge of Tuckman’s 5 Stages of Group Formation, if the facilitator does not RUN out of their as fast as you can! This facilitator is not ready for corporate team building.

Ask the facilitator how sequential learning is going to add to your team building program. Be an informed consumer, do not assume that because the facilitator works for a college, or a reputable conference center that he is qualified.

3) Poor or inadequate debrief

If the facilitator does not have the skills to debrief the team building activities, take your companies check book to the toilet and flush it! You will get the same results – wet feet, a foul odor and an angry supervisor.

This is where experience and broad knowledge is needed for the team building facilitator. After the majority of team building activities the facilitator should lead a debrief or processing session. Effective facilitators are able to gain the trust and attention of all team members through a variety of processing techniques. While you are speaking with the facilitator ask about experiential learning cycles, processing, planned outcomes, goals, and customization to your group. If he just stares at you blankly this facilitator is probably great at playing games but lacks the true processing needed to turn a corporate team building activity from recreation to education.

4) Lacking commitment of Management and Executive team

“Thank you for coming to this our team building day, the executive staff are pleased to have you, the executive staff and I are going to go golfing for the day and leave you here to play some games with [insert team building facilitator here]. This is important to the executive team that all of you work as a team. Have fun playing some silly games we will see you after our golf game, Good luck [insert team building facilitator here] this group needs a lot of work!”

This is the introduction I once got before a 7 hour team building program. Needless to say the goals and learning objectives that were reached never stuck back in the office. It is imperative for the higher ups to be part of the team building as much as possible. Often times the ideas that arise are brilliant and can be easily implemented into organizational practice. If the executive team is off golfing, they will never hear it.

Team building is a culture, team building is a value a mission a deep down belief in the participants soul to like and love their Job as well as co-workers. When looking for a Corporate Team Building Consultant find someone who is passionate about your organization and is ready to work with you for success.

There must be trust for organizational growth to occur.