Getting started in decarbonization

Lower your environmental impact with an adjusted maintenance plan.
Thursday, October 12, 2023

As we strive to lessen our impact on the environment, decarbonization is something that maintenance managers can work towards to help reach the sustainability goals. Studies show that buildings are responsible for 40 per cent of all greenhouse gases, so facility and maintenance managers have an important role in minimizing the carbon emissions affecting the environment.

Experts predict a significant increase in the need for warehousing, and that means that there is a need to get the environmental impact of these facilities as low as possible.

Going electric

Optimally, shifting your entire business away from carbon is the goal, but that likely doesn’t fit in with your immediate budget. Even replacing things like heat pumps can cost up to 20 per cent more initially, and this may not be something that’s feasible, but there are smaller steps you can take to get closer to sustainability.

Shifting from fuel to electricity is one way that maintenance managers can lower emissions, and that can be done without breaking the back or completely overhauling your building. For example, simply switching maintenance equipment like gas powered lawn mowers can start to make a difference.

If you looking for large scale alternatives, think solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal systems to reduce your electric grid use. Start small with some simple swaps and move up to larger changes to get your maintenance plan carbon-free.

RELATED: Make your groundskeeping greener

Date driven change

Energy audits are a great way to measure your usage and assess where improvements can be made.  By scheduling regular assessments, you can identify opportunities, measure success, and create goals for greener practices.

Along with carbon reduction, think about using less water and energy. Technology like sensors can help you get a better handle on your needs, helping to limit waste and lower use. Installing things like motion lights can save energy use, too, along with touchless taps and dryers in your washrooms. Your HVAC system can also be improved with today’s technology, allowing you to control temperature in separate sections of your building with an app on your phone to only use the energy you need.

Do the research

Not sure about the best place to start? From the Canadian government to the Canada Green Building Council’s most recent low carbon training plan, there are several resources out there to make it easier to take the first step. There are even some financial incentives you can apply for to lessen the strain on your budget and make the transition easier as you head towards your sustainability goals.

Green by association

Not only can you make change at your facility but start examining your supply chain. Are you dealing with companies who support your goals? Look at how your inventory is being transported, what methods and products your affiliate companies are using, and how your distributors are operating to see whether there are improvements to be made in your supply chain. It may be time to align yourself with companies that are also working towards sustainability so you can make change from start to finish.

As many industries strive to go greener, decarbonization is becoming a priority. As part of your maintenance plan, start small with steps that you can budget for and go bigger when time and finances permit.

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