The Sustainability Check-Up – 10 Tips For Well Rounded Sustainability

If you only have time to do one thing for each of your green programs, you might start with these to help keep your sustainability efforts well rounded and in top shape.

Here are 10 tips – one useful to-do idea for each facet of your green efforts, from energy to recycling to education.

1.  Education and Outreach Tip

Showcase your successes! Did you cut your energy use or surpass your recycling goal?  Go ahead and post those results in the lobby on a poster, or send a “Thank You” email to your staff and tenants. Your success is their success. This outreach will motivate everyone for more green achievements.

2. Benchmarking Tip

The end of the year should NOT be the only time you view your metrics. Check them each month to have a better understanding of program performance.  If you didn’t do it this year, plan a monthly metrics review going forward. You will be surprised at how much you can learn.

3. Waste Management Tip 

Check your waste equipment; make sure your compactor undergoes its annual tune-up and that its semi-annual cleanings are scheduled.

4. Waste and Recycling Tip

Consider conducting a floor-by-floor LEED-style waste audit to determine the top recyclers in your building. To achieve even greater impact, conduct these audits on a monthly or quarterly basis throughout the new year. This allows you to set recycling benchmark goals and track recycling performance on a regular basis.

5. Energy Tip

Maximize your meters. Smart meter upgrades are available through select utilities around the U.S. to subsidize energy data visibility.


Time to Relamp. Newer T-8s and T-5s can pay for themselves quickly, and those last couple of points in your ENERGY STAR rating could fall into place.

7. LEED Tip

Tracking of purchases, waste, and construction are vital components of the LEED process. Address this early on for a smooth certification process. For LEED EB: O&M, have all team members agree at the start on the size, occupancy rate and operating hours of your project building. These numbers seem straightforward until you come to the end of a project and realize some numbers conflict.

8. ISO Tip

When reviewing annual goals, see if there are any areas you can add to enhance scope of the program.

9. General Sustainability Tip

How good are your corporate sustainability indicators? Sustainability programs are only as good as what you are able to measure. It might be a good time for a review.

10.  The When-In-Doubt Catchall Tip

Did you know that there is a free resource you can turn to for sustainability support? If you are confused about your data, wondering if you are in compliance, or if you just need some advice, you can submit your questions to our sustainability experts online through our Sustainability 101 portal.  Great Forest’s online resources are constantly being updated with regulatory information, insights and ideas. If you don’t see what you need, call us at 212-779-4757 or email us. We will get back to you with suggestions and solutions.

Sign up for "3 to Zero (Waste)." Get 3 tips each month + insights.