Environmental Protection

Better Use of Current Assets Is Greener, Consultant Says

Global property and construction consultant Rider Levett Bucknall is challenging building owners and government officials to rethink their approach to green building practices.

"When considering a new construction project, the real question should be: Why are we using finite resources? What are the alternatives?" said Julian Anderson, president of Rider Levett Bucknall. "We are entering a new 'Age of Environmental Thrift,' where the real focus is preventing waste by making better use and extending the life of existing assets." To that end, Rider Levett Bucknall is offering free training on new environmental initiatives to government entities. These programs can provide considerable cost and environmental impact savings for public projects by making better use of resources. The programs include:

  • RElifing® – this mathematical model looks at the useful lifespan of an aging building and helps the owner determine whether to renovate, modify or build new.
  • Life Cycle Cost + Carbon Modeling – this tool enables owners to develop facilities that are cost-effective to build out, operationally efficient and support sustainability initiatives. The model can calculate the carbon footprint, energy and water consumption of a building, giving a true indication of its environmental impact.
  • Building Quality Assessment – this standardized method for evaluating a building's quality encompasses 31 criteria and results in a "quality grade," along with recommendations for improvements and identification of areas of deficiency.
Several years ago, RElifing® studies were conducted on 80 buildings within Arizona, including those for the Arizona Department of Administration, the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, Arizona State Hospitals and the Arizona School Facilities Board. Using RElifing® saved Arizona taxpayers $26 million in the first six months alone.

Based on its overwhelming success, the state of Arizona now requires all funding requests for facility renovations or replacement buildings greater than 25,000 square feet be supported by a building life extension study.

For the past two years, the consulting company has been working with the Lake Washington School District to develop a Life Cycle Cost model for its bond planning. Using data from several schools that have been recently constructed, the model indicated that by investing $2.1 million in capital expenditures, $25 million over the 50-year life cycle of the property could be saved. When applied to determine design decisions for future schools, this could result in a savings of $650 million for the district in operational, maintenance and replacement costs over the same 50-year period.

For government entities wishing to sign up for free training sessions, send an e-mail to GiftofLife@us.rlb.com.

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