Step 2: Engage the Building Team

The underlying assumption in this toolkit is that small to mid-size building management staffs are not large enough to warrant dedicated personnel to lead sustainability efforts. Unlike large buildings, someone typically plays the role of the sustainability project lead in addition to their day job. If they are lucky, there might be other resources that can play a supporting role. Ensuring that the Building Management Team sees sustainability as a priority and knows their respective roles will help to ensure success.

Define roles and responsibilities.

If the building has third-party property management, it is essential that whoever makes the ultimate investment decisions stays involved as a “Project Champion.” A representative from the property management team or a tenant may be responsible for leading the day-to-day effort, ensuring accountability and tracking progress towards goals. The skill set for this person is more important than a title. The best project leader tends to be a well-respected staff member who facilitates well across the team (to the extent there is a team), has the ability to influence and ideally has a passion for sustainability. This guide defines tasks in term of function so that it should work with any size team.

Set expectations.

It’s essential to provide guidance as to what may be asked of each team member over the course of the sustainability initiative. The following table provides individual responsibilities in a typical sustainability initiative: 


Example Sustainability Initiative Responsibility

Building Ownership

  • Perform payback and ROI calculations
  • Sign off on upgrade investment(s)

Building Management (Property Management)

  • Reach out to and engage tenants
  • Measure baseline performance and track ongoing results
  • Investigate costs associated with purchasing “greener” supplies
  • Ensure overall monitoring and reporting of results takes place
  • Communicate successes within the team and to other stakeholders

Building Engineering  (Possibly Contractors)

  • Assist with a building audit/analysis
  • Help make technology trade-off decisions and sign off on upgrade investment(s)
  • Revise policy, processes and procedures
  • Address use of information from building information systems
  • Assess more efficient replacement technologies
  • Measure baseline performance and track ongoing results

It generally works best to have a kickoff meeting (or a substantive agenda item within a regular staff meeting) to explain the project vision, objectives and the overall approach.

Click here for a sample Building Sustainability Program Kickoff meeting.

Next: Set goals and select initiatives >