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Mastering Sustainability: Tips for Facility Managers


Editor's Note:  The following article is adapted from a transcript of the webinar, "Mastering Sustainability: Essential Training for Facility Managers." 

Forget short-term bandaids that make your facility appear more sustainable. Invest in solutions that impact your facility's carbon footprint, the planet and the overall health of your occupants. Our team walks you through where to start with sustainability training.


How do I approach sustainability?

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Gayle Head: So there are two ways to look at this: how your company approaches it and then how you as the FM approach it. When you're looking through your company culture lens, do you support it? Are there any already sustainability parts that are attached to your balance scorecard? 

Do you have any KPIs that you are responsible for or your team is responsible for? Understanding where you sit at the baseline of sustainable practices is going to help you map out your future and where you can start making those improvements.  

Or maybe we need to look a bit more into this and see how we can make this a better part of our practices, or we want to meet that goal on our balance scorecard. When you look at yourself inwardly and say, "Okay, what can I do for my organization?" First of all, are you even strong in the foundations of FM? 

If you've been doing this for more than three years, you probably have been exposed to quite a bit. You probably do have that foundation already set. If you're unsure, reach out to us at Corporate Connections at We'll have a quick conversation with you to make sure, or even cheerlead you to say, "Yes, you do have this experience and knowledge! You're set. You're ready to jump into some kind of sustainable training."

Are you ready to lead? Really? Are you ready to make that sustainability impact? Are you ready to be the person who stands up to say, "This is the training that I feel that I need. This is the training that either my team needs or we as the team need so that we can start making those advances towards our KPIs or balance scorecard"?

Journey to sustainability expertise

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Starlyn Berlanga: We are going to go over a couple of options today. Please know that these are not the only options, but these are the ones we want to focus on. The first option is to fill a gap—really get a good overview of what sustainability is and some of the concepts. 

The other option is becoming the change—developing strategy and how to drive sustainability projects from start to finish within your organization. Every organization looks a little bit different. Our sustainability course goes over a kind of more of an overview and the SFP digs into helping you learn strategy to implement some initiatives at your company. 

Option 1: Sustainability Training

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Gayle Head: When you're filling a gap, maybe you don't think your voice is heard loud enough at your organization, and maybe you don't have time to earn a credential. 

The sustainability standalone course is a great way to get your feet wet. You're going to learn about concepts of managing water, energy, materials and consumables. Several things that are going to help you get the ball rolling and thinking about sustainability.

Here's a quick overview of the course. There is enough information that we're looking at potentially up to five hours of study time. After each of the six chapters, there's a quiz at the conclusion of the course material. There is one final assessment. Once that final assessment has been taken and passed, you earn a digital badge to showcase that you have some knowledge and some training under your belt for sustainable practices. 

Some study resources available are a digital flip book, a student PDF that's downloadable and chapter quizzes as well. 

If you decide you're ready to move over to the credential itself, we offer a dollar-for-dollar match. Whatever was paid towards this standalone course will be applied to your credential. 

Option 2: Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP) Credential

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Starlyn Berlanga: Our second option is the sustainability facility professional credential. This is a lifelong credential that you can obtain. As you can see, it requires more study hours on average between 46 to 67.  This is very different from the sustainability course.

This credential is broken into 12 chapters. There is a final assessment at the end of each chapter. Once you complete all chapters and all final assessments, you apply for your sustainability facility credential. 

This credential is going to give you more of a strategic view of the different things that were covered in the sustainability course, but the sustainability course is designed to help you understand the concepts. 

You can gain expertise in these areas and help meet the increasing demands for energy efficiency, waste reduction, carbon footprint reduction and resource conservation. It's going to cover everything from building a program to implementing the strategy at your company. This is a lot more of a deeper dive and is a very valuable credential to have at your company. 

Who needs the SFP?

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Starlyn Berlanga: Let's talk a little bit more about who needs the credential. As many of you know, different government agencies in the U.S. as well as the UN have initiatives that have been released. I'm sure you've heard of SDGs and the circular economy. 

This credential specifically is to help you and your company implement strategy to meet these initiatives and different things you're required to report on. Not just meeting other people's demands, but also boosting the resiliency and the long-term viability of your facility. 

You're taking care of your needs today, but also preparing for the needs of the next generation. In order to take this credential, you do need to have a strong foundation in FM, but every FM should eventually take the sustainability facility professional credential. 

At some point, it's going to come into play in your career to implement these strategies and have a successful company.

Build a framework where strategy meets implementation

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Gayle Head: Let's talk about building a framework where the strategy meets that implementation. You're going to have to assess where you're starting, develop that baseline and get that strategy going. 

Then you're going to identify initiatives. What is going to make the most sense? Get that started, get that written down and now start communicating that plan. O
nce that communication and those plans are set in place, you're going to report what doesn't get accounted for, what's not measured and doesn't get changed. Reporting is also going to be one of those high-level things that you need to make sure you're doing so you ensure that what you've put in place is still functioning and is still working. 

If there's any tweaks that need to be made, again, you do this cycle on wash and repeat making sure that everything is flowing and flowing correctly. I know there's talk about other credentials out there. We want to debunk a couple of things and highlight how the SFP helps you align with your company and those sustainable practices.  

What's the difference between sustainability certifications and sustainability credentials?

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Starlyn Berlanga: You may have heard of them or have some of these within the facilities that you manage. The two sustainability certifications for buildings are LEED certifications and WELL certification. LEED is going to be focusing more on the environmental sustainability of the building itself. WELL certification is still focusing on building certification, but it focuses on the health and well-being of the building occupants. These are both wonderful certifications and things that you want to be able to achieve with your buildings.

The SFP a little bit different. This credential is for the FM to be able to implement and maintain these buildings. These are important certifications, but it's a little bit different than implementing a full-on strategy for an existing company.


Want to explore mastering sustainability within your organization?