Thursday, July 20, 2017

In Cities With Benchmarking Laws, Green Building Adoption Climbs Higher

New York City claimed the No. 10 spot for the first time in this year’s Green Building Adoption Index study conducted by CBRE and Maastricht University. Atlanta, Houston and Minneapolis again claimed spots in the top five and San Francisco slipped to No. 2. Chicago claimed the top spot with 66% of its buildings qualifying as green certified.  The Big Apple was part of a group of cities leading the charge in LEED and Energy Star certifications. 



The study also looked at the impact benchmarking ordinances have on a city’s willingness to adapt sustainability standards. Among the top 10, nine cities have enacted policies that increase the transparency of  a commercial property's green standing. Markets with these ordinances have seen 9% more Energy Star and LEED certified buildings and 21% higher Energy Star and LEED certified square footage.  “While it is still too early to make a definitive correlation between benchmarking ordinances and the rate of growth in ‘green’ buildings, this year’s findings do begin to establish a link that will be studied closely in the future,” CBRE Global Director of Corporate Responsibility David Pogue said.   

New York enacted its Greener, Greater Buildings Plan in 2009, requiring benchmarking and transparency as well as energy audits and “retrocommissioning,” building retuning, every 10 years for commercial buildings 50K SF and greater. In 2016, Mayor Bill De Blasio and the City Council extended the regulations to cover buildings 25K SF and greater, bringing an estimated 2.8B SF under the ordinance, the largest of any local jurisdiction in the U.S. The GBAI surveyed the number of green commercial buildings just in Manhattan, which has continued to improve its standing on the list, with 39.4% of the market certified. 

The study did not include buildings in New York City's other four boroughs. Nationally, Manhattan has the highest percentage of Energy Star-labeled buildings, at 24.6%. It also has the highest percentage of LEED-certified buildings, at 11.3%. Manhattan leads overall in the percentage of green buildings, at 28.6%, compared to entire cities nationwide. The methodology behind the survey uses percentage of green certified square footage, placing markets with a large number of similarly sized buildings at a disadvantage to those with a broader mix of building sizes, putting the borough out of the running for the top spot.  

The study found that institutional owners of office buildings continued to pursue green building certifications in the 30 largest U.S. markets, with 10.3% of all buildings surveyed bearing the Energy Star label, while 4.7% are LEED certified, both ahead of last year’s totals. Despite major policy shifts and reversals coming from the White House, many building owners in major markets are keeping their sustainability promises. 

“Even though the current federal legislative agenda has shifted the focus away from energy efficiency and sustainability, the momentum in the commercial real estate industry toward improving building operating performance and enhancing building quality is hard to derail,” Maastricht University associate professor Nils Kok said.  To read the full report, click here. 

Click here to read more.

Related Topics: CBRE, Energy Star, Green Building Adoption Index, LEED Certification, green building practices

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Top 10 Reasons Outsourcing Janitorial Services Is a Win-Win

While the economy has improved in many sectors, building owners and facility managers continue to look for ways to lower costs and stay on budget. This belt tightening can mean a bigger workload for Facility Managers with fewer resources to do it. In an effort to get vital services covered while reducing cost, many facilities have turned to outsourcing janitorial services as a workable cost cutting solution. In addition to an immediate drop in costs, outsourcing cleaning services can help stabilize costs, improve services, protect your building’s assets and manage and reduce your workload.


The decision to outsource your janitorial services is a significant one. No matter what services you outsource, from office cleaning to preventative maintenance, the competency and professionalism of the building services contractor you choose will decide the outcome. 

1 - Janitorial outsourcing is cost-effective.

Outsourcing cleaning services can have a significant impact on your bottom line in many ways. Primarily, there is most often an immediate cost savings as a professional janitorial services company can get more done in less time. Likewise, your commercial cleaning company procures optimal pricing on equipment, supplies and refillable goods. Secondarily are the cost cutting measures associated with the sizable costs of recruiting, screening, hiring, training and managing employees. 

 2 - When outsourcing building services, the quality of your building maintenance often improves significantly.

Commercial building maintenance companies make cleaning and maintenance their business and as such can reach a level of expertise that just isn’t possible if it’s a needed task but not your core business. Handling your cleaning and maintenance in house is like running a business within a business. Do you want to run a commercial cleaning company? If no, outsourcing your facility maintenance can be a blessing. In a competitive business environment, janitorial companies understand you have many options when outsourcing cleaning services. The most effective janitorial companies will work hard to get and keep your business. Likewise, a sizable cleaning company can adjust to accommodate your changing needs quite easily. That means you can avid the waste of over hiring and meet times when your needs shift into overdrive.

3 - Outsourcing janitorial services can net you a better value.

Think about it, your cleaning company can offer you real value. They procure supplies and equipment at a level you cannot and through experience, they have learned how to do more in less time saving you money and increasing the value of your clean.

 4 - Outsourcing building maintenance can get you more responsive janitorial services.

With many facilities, your needs shift around things like industry cycles, peak times and more. The right janitorial company can shift with you and likely has a large enough pool of both employees and customers to shift teams as needed. 

 5 - Outsourcing your janitorial services eliminates the issues associated with using your own employees to tackle facility maintenance.

Whether you shift cleaning to employees hired for other duties or manage your own in house team of office cleaners, all too often the work goes undone, is poorly done or employee morale and turnover suffer. When you lean on your employees to tackle office cleaning you most often end up with unhappy employees and a dirty facility. Do you think Janine in the warehouse really wants to clean the restrooms her coworkers use everyday?

 6 - With outsourcing facilities services, you can transfer the liability and insurance costs to your commercial cleaning company.

As in any industry, with cleaning and janitorial, there are specific liabilities associated with janitorial jobs. Insuring you are properly covered costs money and time as you must adjust coverage as the scope of the services and people change. Outsourcing janitorial services can save you time and money as they will insure their own employees and can even add you or the facility owner to their contractor's policy shielding you from third party litigation.

 7 - When you outsource janitorial, you transfer management intensive duties to your janitorial services company.

Every component of the management of your cleaning operations becomes your contractor's responsibility. That means things like staffing, training and standards, supply procurement, equipment repair and other time intensive tasks shift to your facility maintenance company leaving you free to put your focus where it is needed.

 8 - With outsourcing facilities services, you often get an umbrella of other building maintenance services that can reduce time, hassle and costs on other needs you have within your facility.

The most highly skilled, professional building services contractors have a menu of other services that you can utilize as needed from minor facilities repair to carpet cleaning. These extras like plumbing, HVAC and commercial handyman services can come in handy when you have a need. Save yourself the time of searching for a reputable, affordable contractor and get the work budgeted, planned and executed with a contractor you already trust.

 9 - Outsourcing can net you better cleaners, better training, better products and better equipment.

Outsourcing janitorial services to a professional means you get better work done in less time. An experienced, effective commercial office cleaning company will utilize the most advanced and effective methods to get the work done right. Whether you need industry specific cleaning like the industrial cleaning, medical cleaning, school cleaning or you are considering green cleaning possibilities, your janitorial cleaning company can help you explore your choices.

 10 - Outsourcing allows you as a Facility Manager to streamline your workload and shift focus to areas of your business only you can manage while offloading other labor intensive tasks to your contract cleaning company.

At the end of the day there are those things you as a Facility Manager must manage and other duties and tasks that while they must be done, don’t need to be done by you. The process by which you maximize the value YOU deliver to your organization involves passing on those duties that don’t require YOU to a trusted partner. When you contract with a professional, responsive, effective commercial cleaning company, you are free to put your focus where it is needed and your building and its assets are still in good hands.

In order to reap the benefits of outsourcing, you need to choose a service provider that understands your industry. The truth is one size does not fit all and not every janitorial company is poised to meet your needs. But with the right partner, your facility maintenance can be straightforward, relatively simple and affordable.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Budgeting Your Building

Tips for in-house facility managers tasked with making tough choices

It’s that time of year again—the time when you’re tasked with creating a budget that will take your facility through the next several months, or even the next year. There are many factors to juggle when setting up the budget, including allocating costs for hiring, supplies, equipment, special projects, and emergencies, in addition to demands for higher quality work.

To meet and exceed the standards set by your client (if you’re an outside contractor servicing a building) or your supervisor (if you’re an in-house facility manager), you may have to collaborate with outside contractors, make tough decisions regarding your employees, and work with shrinking operational costs. When you decide upon your budget, you must ensure that the
quality of work doesn’t suffer, and that you have everything you need to do the best job possible.

According to those in the cleaning industry, the biggest challenge faced by in-house facility managers is contending with lower budgets, while still maintaining standards. In fact, according to Cleaning and Maintenance Management’s 2015 In-House/Facility Management Benchmarking Survey, 90 percent of respondents said reducing overall cleaning and maintenance costs was important to their facility or organization in some capacity.

“There continues to be a cost-cutting focus in this industry,” said Anthony F. Maione, vice president of Core Management Services. “There is a tremendous amount of pressure when budgeting, which puts in-house facility managers in a financial squeeze. They are constantly tasked with figuring out how to continue to produce successful outcomes for stagnant or decreasing budgets.”
Sharon L. Cowan, a certified building service executive (CBSE) and owner of Cleaning Business Consulting Group, stressed a similar point. “They must increase productivity in employees, while often times not increasing wages,” she said. “They must keep on top of every trend and new process in the industry to keep their crews efficient and productive, while staying motivated.”
If you’re an in-house facility manager and having a difficult time coming up with your budget, or want to know how to make the budgeting process better, the following advice from cleaning industry experts may help.

Look at Your History
Whether you’re looking to create your general budget, or trying to figure out how much money to set aside for special projects, you should study your facility’s history.

Mike Koenig, vice president of sales and marketing at TMA Systems, LLC, said management software can help in-house facility managers more accurately predict costs. “You can trend your unexpected costs from prior years. You have the ability to see what your future capital planning needs will be moving forward in order to maintain your facilities at a certain level.”

Some maintenance management systems can allow in-house facility managers to plug in all their past and present information, and then predict funding for the next one, two, five, or even 10 years.
By investing in management software, an in-house facility manager may be able to make intelligent decisions and back up a budget with solid data; this can also help building service contractors (BSC) provide data to clients if they request the information to help with budgeting.

Reevaluate Your Cleaning Procedures
After you’ve recorded your history and processes into your computer, you can start to reevaluate how you perform duties and arrive at your numbers.

“The first step for obtaining the right number is to do an inventory of the space you're responsible for maintaining,” said Jim Peduto, Esq., CBSE, co-founder of the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences (AICS). “You want to look at all the particulars that relate to that space, including flooring, square footage, and types of rooms,” he said. “Step two is to develop a list of tasks for that space and frequencies of the tasks [associated with the space]. Then, apply production rates for each of the listed tasks. The fourth step is to arrive at labor hours required to do the work, and the fifth step is to compare labor hours to the budget you have.”

If you use software, it should calculate the labor estimates needed for any type of situation. For example, Koenig said, if you’re an in-house facility manager at a university and your boss wants you to increase the cleanliness from a two to a three, you can see how that would affect the bottom line. “Once our system is populated with cleaning matrices, you can go in and determine exactly what your impact will be for the labor to support those levels.”

Cut Down on Employee Expenses
Fortunately, and unfortunately, as a facility manager, you also have the role of hiring and firing employees. It is your job to determine employee hours, and how many you will need during the next several months.

When it comes to budgeting, Peduto said, employee expenses are going to be one area where you’re able to cut back. “In any operation, labor is going to be far and away the largest budgetary component where in-house facility managers can save money. Supplies, equipment, and other areas pale in comparison to labor.”

Deciding upon the number of labor hours needed to maintain a facility is a key starting point for your operation. “Many [in-house facility managers] face the fact that it’s been a long time since they reengineered or looked at the number of labor hours that go into task assignments,” Peduto said.
To do this, Maione suggested using a workloading tool “to determine how to achieve adequate work levels with [fewer] people. [That way], you will have the option of not replacing some positions when they become vacant. You’re still meeting cleaning needs because you’ve re-designed your task and frequency in anticipation of having [fewer] custodians in the future.”

Maintain Your Equipment
Equipment is another big cost. It can run you thousands of dollars, and, if it breaks down, you’re going to need to quickly find the funds to replace parts.

“Equipment is becoming more crucial to the industry,” Maione said. “Wide-area equipment, utilizing better technology, can cover more ground and help cleaners perform their duties more efficiently.”
In order to prevent machinery from breaking down, Maione said, in-house facility managers need to be proactive and keep detailed equipment logs. By instructing their employees to do preventative maintenance, they can avoid budgetary problems down the line.

Research Outsourcing Options
Outsourcing some or all duties can lead to your operation running smoother.
“By choosing to outsource, you can mitigate budget surprises by making it more predictable,” Maione said. “If you’ve done a good job drafting your contract [with the cleaning service contractor], you can effectively shift the risk associated with cost uncertainty to a contractor willing to operate under a firm fixed fee.”

If you’re an in-house facility manager and having budgetary issues, you may want to consider outsourcing some tasks. If you’re a BSC servicing a facility, explain to your client about the benefits of outsourcing some tasks and how it could help the operation run more smoothly. If you’re the client, you could let your team know that you’re toying with the idea of outsourcing some services.
Outsourcing only works, however, if both the in-house facility manager and the outsourced contractor are on the same page. They must know their roles, and work hand-in-hand to reach the same goal.

“For the in-house managers, much of their time is spent managing the employees, handling coverage when someone is out, getting the work completed, engaging with human resources issues, making certain of safety compliance, training, discipline, termination, [and] supervision of the work,” Cowan said. “For the outsourcing managers, much of the above mentioned processes are removed from their job descriptions. They deal only with the representative of the building service contractor. The BSC takes on supervision, staffing, training, deficiency issues, quality checks [of] equipment and supplies, and responses to immediate concerns. This allows the facility manager the ability to oversee the janitorial program, make recommendations, and focus on streamlining the operation.”

Construct Your Budget

This year, you’re probably going to be faced with more demands than ever. But by utilizing helpful tools, factoring in the correct costs, and taking the building’s history into account, you can set up a budget for success.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Investors, tenants demanding that managers go green

Investor and tenant demands are pushing real estate managers to make their properties more sustainable. Commercial real estate contributes 30% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions, a recent report noted, despite early and continuing efforts by real estate managers to make their properties more environmentally friendly.
Many investment managers now are accelerating those efforts, notwithstanding the Trump administration's moves to loosen environmental regulations and drop out of the Paris climate accord. But the sustainability movement in real estate is driven more by market forces than regulation or politics, said Jacques Gordon, global head of research and strategy at real estate money management firm LaSalle Investment Management, Chicago.
"The overwhelming majority (of real estate managers and property owners) desires to have green buildings or sustainable buildings … It's true of big companies. It's true of small companies … it's true of Jones Lang LaSalle (LaSalle Investment's parent company) and LaSalle and most Fortune 500 companies," Mr. Gordon said.
Executives at these companies believe the best and smartest workers prefer to work in healthier, more environmentally friendly buildings, Mr. Gordon said. "That's not just in the U.S. but it's global," he added. LaSalle has approximately $60 billion in assets under management.
While many managers began focusing on the environmental impact of their real estate portfolios after the financial crisis, their efforts have not been enough to stem global real estate's affect on climate change. Real estate greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow rapidly and could reach 50% of CO2 emissions by 2050, according to the UNEP Finance Initiative, a partnership between the United Nations Environment Program and the financial sector.
Needed improvements to existing properties aren't cheap. Should the industry decide to embrace the goals of the Paris agreement — keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — the building sector's energy consumption would have to decrease by at least 30% through building highly energy-efficient new buildings and a deep renovation of the existing stock of buildings by 2050. That would cost roughly $11.5 billion between 2015 and 2050, according to the UNEP Finance Initiative.
Investor pressure
Investors are increasing pressure on their real estate investment managers to make investments more sustainable. In 2017, the $324.7 billion California Public Employees' Retirement System's real asset managers, including real estate, were required to begin reporting into GRESB, formerly the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark, an organization committed to assessing by environmental, social and governance factors real asset performance globally.
CalPERS' real asset portfolio has a net asset value of $31.8 billion and accounts for 10.8% of CalPERS' total assets. The GRESB results are expected to be reported as part of CalPERS' real asset review in November, said spokeswoman Megan White, in an email.
CalPERS adopted carbon footprint reduction goals as part of a five-year strategic plan for ESG approved in 2016. That includes reducing its carbon footprint by 50% by 2021. CalPERS is not alone. Sixty pension plans worldwide are GRESB members. For the full article click here.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Is WELL Certification Worth It for Developers?

 | Jul 07, 2017

The healthy workplace movement got a boost a few years ago when the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) partnered with the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) to streamline certification processes and minimize paperwork to achieve both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the WELL certifications simultaneously.
Launched in October 2014, WELL has registered or certified 450 projects, encompassing nearly 100 million sq. ft. of space in 27 countries, including 361 office projects.
“The rapid expansion of WELL worldwide underscores the fact that building and business developers, owners, and operators are taking notice of the need to harness the built environment as a tool to promote human health and wellness,” says IWBI President Kamyar Vaghar. He notes that IWBI is seeing increasing interest from core and shell building developers looking to achieve WELL certification, as well from tenants looking for buildings that facilitate a healthy fit-out.
WELL is an evidence-based system for designing, measuring, certifying and monitoring how buildings impact the health and well-being of occupants. It provides a 100 wellness features that impact 23 health pathways across seven concepts, including air, mind, water, nourishment, light, fitness, and comfort. Applicant spaces are evaluated for one year to ensure all necessary criteria are met before achieving certification and then are re-evaluated every three years for recertification.
In a 2014 Urban Land Institute study, which looked at the business case for developing healthy buildings, 13 developers reported that healthy buildings resulted in greater marketability and faster leasing and sales velocity, in addition to commanding higher rents than pro forma projections. They said the cost attributable to inclusion of wellness features represented a minimal percentage of the overall development budget.
An IWBI spokesperson told NREI that the cost to buildout the headquarters of Structure Tone, a New York City-based design firm, with WELL features came to less than $1 per sq. ft. 
Dave Pogue, CBRE global director of corporate responsibility, who recently worked with a developer on a WELL-certified project in Vancouver, Canada, says that the cost to add WELL features to a building varies considerably, with ground-up projects usually costing less because healthy features can be incorporated into what the developer is already doing. For existing projects, the cost is determined by what types of features a building already has in place.
Developers Hines and Kilroy Realty are embracing the WELL standard for new buildings going forward.
Kilroy has started construction on its first WELL project, a $450-million, 680,000-sq.-ft. office campus at Mission Bay, a tech-centric master-planned community in San Francisco.
The Mission Bay project is a pilot for the company to demonstrate the value of WELL features, according to Maya Henderson, Kilroy sustainability manager. “This is a great place to start building this type of project into our portfolio going forward,” she says.
Hines’ first building to register for WELL is 609 Main in Houston, Texas, a one-million-sq.-ft., multi-tenant building, which is also pursuing LEED Platinum. Full the full article, click here
#LEED #GreenBuildings #WELLCertification 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Official Partner of The Madison Square Garden Company

Guardian Service Industries, Inc., the leading provider of facility solutions, is now an ‘Official Partner of The Madison Square Garden Company!’ “Guardian is honored to begin this partnership with Madison Square Garden, which is a first-class organization,” said Matthew Bressler, Guardian Vice President, Window Cleaning.

“We take great pride in the fact that MSG ownership sought Guardian to ensure their building windows are spotless and cleaned organically, and we look forward to doing our part to provide MSG guests with a world-class facility and memorable fan experience for years to come.“

About Madison Square Company

As a world leader in live sports and entertainment, The Madison Square Garden company (MSG) sets a global standard for excellence in live experiences and forges deep and enduring connections with diverse and passionate audiences that span generations.

About Guardian Service Industries

Established in 1918, Guardian Service Industries is a 4th generation family owned Janitorial, Security, Pest Control and Engineering & Operations staffing corporation. We provide a comprehensive range of essential facility management services to over 1,000 clients across various sectors, inclusive of commercial and government buildings, residential communities, schools, industrial facilities, transportation hubs and retail outlets.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

THE ADVANTAGES OF GREEN CLEANING FOR COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS AND PUBLIC FACILITIES

Green cleaning is a trend on the rise – in our homes, workplaces, institutions, and public buildings. But why is it becoming so popular? What is the point of making sure our cleaning products and methods are “green”?

What Is Green Cleaning?

Green cleaning involves a combination of cleaning methods, equipment, products, and policies that are designed with one goal in mind: to maximize effective cleaning results while minimizing negative impacts on health and the environment.
With that in mind, the following are the key benefits of green cleaning:

1.     Green Cleaning Safeguards Building Occupant Health

Whether you are in charge of hiring the cleaning company for an office buildinga school, or a public facility, you want to keep the people in your building healthy. Cleaning is meant to improve health and hygiene – not harm it.
However, many conventional cleaning products and methods do negatively affect health, because of the chemicals they include.
Green cleaning products and methods use fewer chemicals overall. They also have restrictions on those chemicals known to be harmful, such as toxic carcinogens (involved in causing cancer), teratogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins, and more.
Certified green products are carefully controlled to reduce their corrosivity, inhalation toxicity, skin absorption, and combustibility. They are less irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, and have fewer health risks associated with them.

2.     Green Cleaning Improves Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is essential for good health. It also impacts employee productivity and energy (sick employees are not productive employees, after all!).
Conventional cleaning products release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns have short and long term adverse health effects. VOCs contribute to respiratory irritation, allergies, headaches, rashes, colds, and many other ailments.
VOCs stay in your building long after the cleaning is completed, exposing your employees and/or visitors to the harmful chemicals on a continuous basis. In fact, the EPA claims that indoor levels of pollutants are often 2-5 times higher than outdoor levels!
Green cleaning doesn’t pollute the indoor air with these harmful chemicals.

3.     Green Cleaning Offers Long-term Return on Investment

Green cleaning is cost-effective over the long-term:
  • It improves productivity of employees or attendance of building occupants.
  • It reduces the need for costly ventilation solutions to repair the damage of poor indoor air quality.
  • It uses less destructive chemicals than conventional products and methods, increasing the longevity of surfaces including floors, furniture, building exteriors, etc.
  • It reduces hazards and liability issues.
  • Green cleaning products and methods are becoming more affordable as more options become available.
Healthy, environmentally-friendly cleaning may appear to be more expensive in the short-term, but the long-term ROI can’t be ignored.

4.     Green Cleaning Promotes Environmental Sustainability

Green cleaning is eco-friendly cleaning that supports the environment.
Traditional cleaning leads to harmful, dangerous chemicals leeching into the soil, the water, and the air. These products typically have not been tested for effects on the environment, are non-biodegradable, and come in containers that are non-recyclable. Some are known to break down into unsafe components once released into the environment, such as phosphates or alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs).
On the other hand, green cleaning materials can be safely disposed of to minimize the pollutants entering the building and the environment. They are made from sustainable, biodegradable, and non-toxic ingredients, with packaging that does not create unnecessary waste.

Consider Green Cleaning for Your Building

Responsible cleaning should be a central consideration when choosing a professional cleaning company. Green cleaning is a commitment to safety, health, and the environment.