Sustainable Facilities Management – The Vital Role FMs Can Play

We all have to do our bit to address the climate crisis and its impact on the planet and its people. As a Facilities Manager, you can play a vital role by employing sustainable facilities management practices. Let’s start with the basics. What is sustainable facilities management?

Sustainable facilities management aims to ensure workspaces have a minimal, neutral, or even positive impact on the environment.

A facilities manager can achieve this by reducing, reusing, and recycling resources to create a more energy-efficient workplace with a reduced carbon footprint.

Here’s why sustainable facilities management is so important — and how you can implement sustainable practices within your own organization.

Why sustainable facilities management is important


There are lots of reasons to champion sustainability at your workplace.

You can save money

Sustainability can bring financial benefits to your business, as a number of brands have already discovered.

  • United Airlines invested in lighter planes and saved $2 billion on fuel
  • With the help of cutting-edge workplace technology, Walmart boosted fuel efficiency by 90%
  • Tech giants have saved 10% on their energy bills by switching to renewables

By making your operations more efficient, you protect the planet and stand to boost your bottom line too.

You reduce your impact on the environment

The climate crisis is no longer a problem that we can kick further down the road. It’s something that all businesses — big and small — need to address today. And it’s especially important for enterprise-level companies since large, global firms disproportionately contribute to overall carbon emissions.

Reducing your organization’s impact on the environment is the morally right thing to do. But it also makes good business sense. Consistently good environmental performance can help to bolster your brand reputation. You can demonstrate to clients, customers, and employees that your organization cares about the planet as much as they do.

You find it easier to attract and retain employees

Employees, especially those that belong to the millennial and Gen Z generations, care about the environment. They want to work for companies that can demonstrate corporate social responsibility and sustainable practices.

Commit to going green, and you may find it easier to recruit top talent — and hold on to existing staff.

How facilities managers can improve sustainability

Workspace Utilization

If you’re committed to sustainable facilities management, there’s no better time to take action. The widespread adoption of hybrid working has created an enormous opportunity to reconsider how we use spaces and resources within the workplace.

So let’s dive into how you can capitalize on that opportunity and work to improve sustainability at your organization.

Conduct a sustainability audit

Before you can create a sustainability plan, you need to know what’s working — and what isn’t — when it comes to reducing the carbon footprint of your company facilities. A sustainability audit will help you to analyze current sustainability efforts and find areas for improvement.

You can then set sustainability targets and create a plan of action for achieving them.

Replace or upgrade older equipment

Older electrical equipment uses more energy than newer alternatives. So it’s well worth replacing old workplace appliances and machinery with more energy-efficient versions.

And don’t stop there! Budget permitting, the following improvements can all help to lessen your company’s environmental impact:

  • Use energy-efficient light bulbs
  • Install sunlight and movement sensors, so lights only come on when they’re needed
  • Invest in a more efficient HVAC system
  • Replace old window units with new and better-insulated ones
  • Insulate the roof and walls of your workspace

Implement any of these ideas, and you’ll reduce your energy usage and your bills.

Create and encourage the use of efficient systems and equipment

Sustainable facilities management is most effective when sustainability is embedded in company culture. You can do your bit to achieve this mindset by establishing guidelines and systems that your whole organization can follow.

Ensure people know what and how to recycle workplace resources. Consider everyday items like paper, cans, plastic, and glass. But also provide info on what to do with large-scale e-waste like old computers and batteries.

Also, instruct employees on how they should leave their desks at the end of the day, fully shutting down equipment rather than leaving it on standby.

Find green partners

Examine your suppliers and partners. The people who provide products or services to your workplace should be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment.

Eco-friendly cleaning supplies, a seasonal canteen menu, and an energy supplier who specializes in renewable energy sources can all help you to improve your environmental performance.

Harness natural light to save energy

An office space with plenty of natural light is good for your employees. But it can cut your energy usage too. There’s no need to keep the lights on all day if desks and meeting spaces are positioned close to windows.

You might also want to consider painting walls in light colors so they reflect light around a room. And pulling back curtains or blinds can maximize the natural light entering the workspace.

Scale back your office space

Because many businesses have adopted a hybrid office model long-term, they’re finding they need less office space. Cutting down on office space — so there’s less space to run and maintain — is another great way to make your facilities more sustainable. It’s all part of that “reduce” mindset.

Hybrid office work also means fewer employees making a daily commute, which again helps to cut your company’s carbon footprint.

Use technology to drive your sustainable transformation

Going green is much easier when you have the right workplace technology.

When you’re working to become a sustainable, modern office, the right tech can help you gather sustainability and energy usage data while supporting you in making lasting changes.

Smartway2 is a digital workplace management solution that can assist your sustainable facilities management initiative. Our room and desk booking software helps businesses use their spaces, facilities, and real estate more effectively and sustainably.

Get in touch to request a free demo and discover what Smartway2 can do for you.

Chris L'Hommedieu

Chris L'Hommedieu

Chris L'Hommedieu is VP of Product at Hubstar, with over 20 years of experience across engineering and product developing workplace technology solutions, and is passionate about building the new set of tools required for effective hybrid working.
Last updated September 5, 2022