As industry professionals responsible for managing utility programs and ancillary services departments, we all tend to think about “big picture” and “high level” items. However, it is important to consider what our sites are doing on a daily operational level to support and reinforce some of the larger sustainability and cost savings initiatives that we oversee and implement.

These overall concepts should, ideally, trickle down into all areas of front line property operations and not just remain on the executive level.

For example, some areas we can focus on and reinforce sustainability efforts are:

 

    • Property / operational audits – Does your operational audit include line items to check to ensure communities are actually implementing the company’s energy efficiency initiatives and sustainability efforts?

 

    • Company policies and procedures – Are your efforts to increase energy efficiencies reflected in and reinforced by written policy that teams are directed to follow?

 

    • Operational standards – Does your company have set operating standards that are in line with overall sustainability efforts?

 

    • Best practices – vacant utility costs – Have all communities been educated on the exact steps they should take at their communities to control these costs? Are they monitored to ensure they are being followed consistently?

 

    • Bonus and recognition plans – Does your bonus and reward structure align with your efficiency objectives? Are community team members held financially accountable for following programs that have been put in place surrounding conservation?

 

    • Parts ordering guides – Have on-site teams been given a guideline on parts they should and should not order (energy efficient light bulbs, recycled paper, etc.)?

 

  • Unit specification plans – Do the on-site communities have guidelines on the types of appliances, fixtures, etc. that should be ordered when replacements are necessary?

By incorporating our sustainability initiatives into these and other areas, a clear commitment to conservation and increasing efficiencies can be seen throughout all levels and divisions within an organization.

For further inspiration, please see the following articles:

http://www.naahq.org/read/operations-insights/sustainability-todays-multifamily-housing

http://www.naahq.org/read/aptly-spoken-blog/green-sprouting-everywhere-5-practical-ideas-green-your-bottom-line

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