“Sustainable Sustainability” Presented at the COAA Winter Conference

KE's Director of Sustainability, Jim MacMillan, is always prepared to share his sustainability knowledge with an eager audience. At the end of 2013, the Ohio chapter of the Construction Owners Association of America (COAA) invited him to present at the winter conference. He was tasked with providing the audience with a basic introduction to sustainability and how to approach it.

Jim presented with fellow sustainability expert Margaret Hewitt, principal at HLMS Sustainability Solutions.  Jim and Margaret were chosen for their extensive experience in sustainable engineering, design, and project management. The sustainability presentation followed “Writing Effective RFQ's and RFP's for Design and Construction Services” presented by David Cozier, VP of Design, Construction & Facilities at Mount Carmel Health System and Christopher Trotta, founder and president of levelHEADS, Inc.

According to Jim, the goal for the “Sustainable Sustainability” presentation was to expose the audience to a range of sustainable solution options and expand their knowledge of the different reporting options available for sustainability projects.

A lot of the time people think of LEED as the only option,” Jim says, but there are other methods of certification for sustainability projects, like Net Zero, Green Globes, Energy Star, and others. Organizations should choose the method that best fits their goals and level of commitment.

The presentation informed participants that 74% of a building's lifecycle costs are related to operating costs, which are lowered by creating a building that uses less energy and water, generates less waste, and has lower maintenance costs, all of the goals of sustainable facilities. On average, LEED certified buildings save 35% annually on operating costs.

The presentation included several strategies that can be implemented to increase the sustainability of existing buildings. Strategies discussed included:

  • building automation modifications
  • high efficiency irrigation systems
  • methods to reduce water consumption
  • lighting retrofits, building operation changes
  • using energy audits to identify energy conservation opportunities

The presentation closed by stressing the idea and importance of the triple bottom line: People, Profit, Planet. “They are not mutually exclusive. One does not need to be sacrificed for the goals of the other two to be met,” says Jim.

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