Buildings offer substantial opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And that fact puts facility managers on the front lines of efforts to address the issue of climate change. Which got me wondering: What do facility managers think about climate change? When we’ve written about climate change, we have inevitably heard from a handful of readers who deny that human activity is causing changes in the climate, while getting no feedback from readers who agree with the scientific consensus. Did those few responses speak for most of the profession?
It turns out that the answer is no. A recent Building Operating Management survey shows that a large majority of facility managers see the need to take action on climate change.
Seventy six percent agree that it is extremely important to make significant reductions in worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, and 72 percent say significant cuts in U.S. emissions are extremely important. A smaller but still solid majority — 60 percent — supports federal action to significantly reduce U.S. emissions.
Our survey also asked about the economic impact of government measures to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Forty-three percent see a positive impact, while 23 percent say the impact will be neutral. In other words, two thirds of respondents see no dollars and cents harm from government action to reduce U.S. emissions.
For most facility managers, the case for energy efficiency measures to address climate change rests on bottom-line impact. But payback is not the only consideration in some organizations. More than a third of respondents say emission reductions will help justify projects.
For me, these results are heartening. Climate change is a disaster waiting to be prevented. Given the volume of greenhouse gas emissions tied to energy use in buildings, it’s good news that facility managers see the need for action.