Building Owners and Managers – Agents of Change?

When you think about saving water, does your office building, local bank, or shopping mall come to mind? 

Perhaps it should. 

A Water Canada blogger, Meirav Evan-Har, recently wrote a great post that looks at how the owners and managers of buildings across Canada have been addressing their water use.

The story looks at a new report by BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada) that reveals a striking difference in water use between buildings that adopt water efficient “BOMA BESt” (Building Environmental Standards) practices and those that don’t:

“For the period of June 2009 to June 2010, the average water consumption intensity for BOMA BESt certified buildings is 0.98 m³/m², compared with the national average for water consumption in commercial buildings is 2.03 m³/m².

BOMA BESt certified buildings have minimum incorporate all of BOMA’s identified best practices such as a water audit and receive additional points for incorporating water efficient fixtures, using rainwater for irrigation and having a documented water conservation policy.

The study also found that only about 1/2 of the toilets and urinals in all buildings were reported to be efficient. Clearly an opportunity for additional water savings exists.  

REALpac, an association of managers and owners of investment real estate, has also focused attention on green building practices, energy efficiency and more recently water conservation through its industry sustainability initiative.

As we try to shape our interactions with water around more sustainable practices, these reports are an important reminder to look beyond homeowners and local governments for solutions.

From builders to building owners, the associations and leaders in this sector are potential agents of change and need to be part of the conversation.

Are you (or do you know of) a building owner, manager or association that is a leader in water conservation? What kind of support do you need to make these water-saving changes?

One Response to “Building Owners and Managers – Agents of Change?”

  1. Lindsay Telfer March 29, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    I am super curious to learn more about this idea Carol!

    I definitely agree that builders, owners, developers need to be a part of the conversation. I think in some places they are. I know several examples (in Edmonton actually) where developers, municipal councillors and environmental advocates have gotten together and agreed upon specific actions. This is fantastic.

    I believe, in addition to the conversations and voluntary initiatives, that there needs to be government supported standards that ALL buildings need to meet (and be brought up to date on). This type of regulation seems to work best when Governments put some budget dollars behind it to help owners, developers, builders integrate the changes.

    But I’m definitely on the outside looking in…so I am quite interested to hear others’ reflections on this!

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