Simple sustainability steps towards a better and greener world | Macro

Simple sustainability steps towards a better and greener world

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By Khalid Ali, Facilities Manager, Macro International

Working on a large school campus in the UAE, implementing sustainability is high up on my list of priorities. Making a project sustainable is a big task but by setting up simple objectives against agreed target dates, it is a step towards a better and greener world.  

Targets can be set in any field, irrespective of how it impacts the projects both in operations and cost. Simple ways to introduce sustainability are:

  • reducing the amount of waste generation on site
  • installing recycling bins
  • segregating the waste at source
  • replacing harmful chemicals with green label products
  • proactive and innovative energy and water savings methods
  • replacing compact fluorescent light (CFL) with LED
  • recording your monthly utility meter reading and analyse the trend for the year.

The top concern with every decision made, is how to engage the environment, and to gauge what economic and social impact it will have. Implementing sustainability not only changes the project achievement but also separates an organisation from competitors and affects the company’s reputation positively in the global market. The most important part of implementing sustainability is deciding what, when and how to set targets and how to achieve them. Developing project based targets which impact values, morale and cost, produce a more transparent process and a longer time frame of responsibility.

Challenges can include a lack of understanding, awareness, ineffective funding, and a reluctance to adopt new ideas and techniques. Long term benefits are often ignored because priority is given to current issues. These challenges can be overcome by carrying out training and awareness programs, showing the advantages of using green materials. Most importantly, you need to show the client how it will indirectly create a cost saving.

Being an FM at a school, reducing the use of raw paper has made a big impact. We also switch off the air conditioning units and lights when not in use, since all school timings are preset, and have switched to LED lamps. By scheduling regular maintenance and service of the equipment on campus, these run more efficiently and consume less energy.  In addition to this, all cleaners use Eco friendly cleaning products and pest control is carried out with Eco friendly pesticide chemicals.

It’s about growing a cultural shift to sustainable practices and understanding that it offers a cost saving, healthier facilities and an improved environmental performance. I believe that property values will increase through the use of sustainable solutions and an efficient use of resources. It will also enhance the marketplace and community services along with an improved relationship with key stakeholders.