When buildings are awarded a Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa (GBCSA), it is the first step for sustainability, but once occupied, these buildings are often not operated as eco-conscious as intended.
According to a scientific paper entitled “Building and Environment”, the practice of sustainable facilities management (FM) is rapidly evolving with the increasing interest in the discourse of sustainable development. “Survey results show that time constraints, a lack of knowledge and a lack of senior management commitment are the main barriers for the implementation of consistent and comprehensive sustainable FM policy and practice,” the report states.
It starts at the top
John J Coetzee, chief executive officer of Green Worx Cleaning Solutions, points out that responsible corporates must ensure that their decision power is used to further sustainability. This requires a holistic approach, ensuring that the entire building is run, cleaned and maintained in an environmentally friendly way.
He highlights three added benefits of a sustainable facilities management strategy:
- The increased health and safety of the workforce occupying the building, decreasing absenteeism and increasing productivity.
- This productivity ensures a positive effect on the bottom line, bolstered by cost savings realised, for example by using enzymatic cleaning products that continue working long after application.
- These types of cleaning products work without saturating the air with chemical fumes and volatile organic compounds.
Driving sustainable FM
The Middle East Consultancy Agency (MECA) is passionately driving this movement towards green facilities management. As the professional body for the cleaning and facility management industry in the Middle East, North and South Africa, and South and Central Asia, MECA works closely with environmentally friendly bodies and cleaning service providers to deliver improved efficiencies and establish innovative, affordable solutions that reduce inefficient resource use.
Local green cleaning product manufacturer and GBCSA member, Green Worx Cleaning Solutions, was recently awarded fellow membership to MECA, making it the only bio-technology company in South Africa to be considered as a member and preferred consultant.
“This is part and parcel of our strategy to educate Africa, the Middle East and the rest of the globe in green practices, the maintenance of truly green buildings (and homes) and training the masses in the critical importance of sustainable practices,” says Coetzee.
For the last decade, Coetzee has worked hard to educate the market about the need for greener living, cleaner results and smarter practices. “We do this because we know that the planet is finite and its resources are limited,” he states. “In legal terms, there’s a saying that ignorance of the law is no excuse – the time has come where ignorance of our effect on the planet could be our own downfall. This is why the time to be an #ecowarrior is now.”