By Mr. Jamal Abdulla Lootah, President of MEFMA
In the design, development, and construction of the built environment, sustainability is one of the key factors that are driving a dramatic paradigm shift within the facilities management (FM) sector. This timely and continuous change comes at a time when calls for an energy-efficient design approach to new and old buildings are mounting. Buildings are known for their alarming high power consumption level.
Facilities managers are crucial to attaining sustainability goals as they are central to reducing a structure’s overall power usage.
Aside from energy usage-related concerns, buildings, during their operating phase, also impact food consumption, biological diversity in the built environment, health, poverty, and the use of non-renewable resources, among others. These, too, are considered serious sustainability issues that need to be effectively addressed by all concerned parties. Focusing on building design, operation, and management is, thus, vital to make headway in the all-encompassing sustainability movement. FM experts define sustainability from the industry’s perspective as implementing smart decisions leading to positive environmental impact.
It is safe to say then that FM practitioners are at the forefront of delivering globally approved sustainable asset management strategies and best practices — a key step forward in the sustainability efforts. It results in fundamental benefits such as attractive property value, better health and wellbeing of tenants, lower greenhouse gas emissions, more substantial savings, increased sustainability awareness among stakeholders, and many more. In terms of profitability, for instance, sustainability lengthens the life cycle of a structure, thus making it more advantageous for owners renting out space.
Along with climate adaptation and green growth, sustainability is an important component for which facilities managers can contribute by formulating positive and practical solutions with strong organizational- and societal-level effects. As such, the need for constant reassessment for further improvements and enhancement is always in order.