Facilities Teams Can Help Sustain a Healthy Planet

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Facilities Teams Can Help Sustain a Healthy Planet
Written By: Whirlwind Clean & Green Team ~ 8/16/2019

The 2018 Yale Climate Opinion Map showed that 70 percent of people in the United States believe that protecting the environment is more important than growing the economy. The facilities management industry definitely plays a part in protecting the environment. Globally, the industry was reported to be worth almost $35 billion in 2018 and is forecasted to knock on the door of $60 billion before 2024.

These are some pretty hefty numbers that indicate a laser focus on the facilities industry by not only the government but consumers and fellow citizens alike. With the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, firmly dedicated to supporting those policies and processes that help keep the world clean and sustainable, the way organizations treat their landscaped areas, parking lots and more must be up to EPA standards to avoid painful penalties.

In 2017 alone, offenders of environmental laws dished out almost $2 billion to pay fines and indemnities. Many guilty parties were required to do time in jail with sentences totaling over 150 years served. By these numbers alone, it’s clear that a commitment to the environment by the facilities management industry and its professionals is pivotal in helping to ensure a long and healthy life.

It all sounds like a huge challenge to continue to stay ahead of what may be harming the environment and to be doing such work all for the good of mankind. Things don’t get much bigger than that, however, there are many quick and easy things that can be done to help support environmental sustainability.


Here are a just a few simple ways to make a positive impact:

Keep the facilities team up to date on all current environmental compliance laws. The EPA offers direction on obtaining accredited certifications and their website is an excellent resource. Encourage the team to proactively stay on top of industry best practices to create an informed, engaged and empowered team that creates positive change.

Put time into choosing mulch, whether it’s being used for high-end landscape maintenance at the statehouse or when there’s a drought and only two to three inches of mulch is needed over soil to keep it cool and protected from the sun. The University of Massachusetts Amherst did a study revealing that wood recycled from garbage and used in some mulch contains dangerous chemicals. One of the contaminants found was CCA, chromated copper arsenate, which has harmful compounds such as arsenic.

Be smart and about water conservation. Conserving water can be as simple as fixing leaks and updating old equipment or get more complex when considering the installation of more modern water management equipment. Seeking the advice of facilities management professionals, or outsourcing some of the more complicated work to a third-party are helpful options to consider as well.

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