Carter Goes Beyond Green with Environmental Optimization

By: Jonathon Barge, vice president at Carter

At today’s Bisnow Sustainability Summit, I had the opportunity to speak on the panel regarding Carter’s environmental optimization efforts. We all want to reduce operating costs and make our buildings as efficient as possible, but it is also critical for us to make the office a healthy place to spend time as well as a place that teaches and promotes sustainable practices. Watch the video for a clip of the panel discussion and read my expanded thoughts on the topic below. 

It is also important to know about how a building or project can become more sustainable.  However, in reality, not all buildings can qualify for Energy Star or be LEED certified. At Carter we have a process in our efforts to “Go Beyond Green.” We practice Environmental Optimization, or, making the best out of the current circumstance. If a new project or existing building is not able to pursue formal certification we work through a process with goals to reduce energy and water use, make smart purchase decisions, reduce waste, create a healthy work environment and create opportunities to teach building occupants the impact of those improvements. The most important aspect being that we simply do something. Even if it is something small, it is still an improvement towards making a project more sustainable.

For example, with regards to energy-and-water-use reduction, the first thing needed is data. We start by gathering historical usage data. The Energy Star portfolio manager is a great place to track and compare data. Gathering meter data and comparing it to data from similar projects helps building teams to develop efficiency improvements. This enables a project to document measurable success.

In addition to Energy Star there are other programs aimed at reducing energy-use like BOMA’s Seven Point Challenge and BOMA 360, which recognizes high performance buildings. All three office towers managed by Carter in Atlantic Station have achieved this designation. 

We all have choices when it comes to which products to buy in day-to-day building operations. Today there are numerous products available that are better for the environment than others and many are competitively priced. To improve the environmental impact of building consumables, I would recommend an analysis of purchases in order to find ways to make better selections and use less, if possible. The LEED for Existing Buildings guidelines are a great resource as owners research sustainable options in their ongoing consumables. The use of greener consumables also supports the goal of a healthier work environment.

In addition to looking at what is being brought into the building it is also important to remember what is leaving the building. Diverting trash that can be recycled into recycling streams instead of going to the landfill is a simple way to make a significant impact. Successful recycling programs give tenants multiple opportunities to recycle and provide constant reminders to occupants to follow the program.  It is also a good idea to report on the progress and benefits. That is a teaching opportunity which encourages and promotes additional sustainable support. At 171 17th Street in Atlantic Station, more than 60 percent of our waste is recycled, and through waste audits we have found that there is still room for improvement. 

Jonathon Barge LEED Jonathon Barge provides a highly technical perspective to projects by drawing from his Mechanical Engineering design background and complex, large-scale construction experience. With over 13 years of experience in design and project management, Jonathon can understand and overcome daily field issues to keep projects moving towards successful completion. He has consistently completed challenging projects while protecting owners interests with an organized and detailed project management approach.

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