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How “Green” Facility Management Helps Nonprofits Improve Their Bottom Line

Many nonprofit organizations are planning to construct new buildings or conduct major renovations. However, most do not have access to the resources necessary to evaluate opportunities to create healthier work places that are energy- and water-efficient. Southface’s Grants to Green program meets this need by providing nonprofits the knowledge and funding they need to decrease environmental impact and increase cost-efficiency.

The Fox Theater, a 2014 Grants to Green grantee, recently replaced all the incandescent bulbs in its marquee with LEDs. The upgrade will conserve energy and staff resources by not having to replace the bulbs nearly as often.

Founded in 1978, Southface is an Atlanta-based 501(c)3 that offers programs and services promoting energy, water, and resource efficiency in buildings and communities across the Southeast. Annually, our programs impact thousands of people, including design and construction professionals, policymakers, consumers, and students. Our staff includes more than 50 experts in engineering, architecture, interior design, building science, residential and commercial construction, planning, and energy and water policy. Above all, Southface strives to lead and educate by example, a concept embodied in our Eco Office, using 84 percent less water and over 50 percent less energy than a typical office building of comparable size. We offer tours of the Eco Office to demonstrate how off-the-shelf technology and good planning can minimize environmental impact and resource use. Our entire staff is engaged in the proper use and management of our facility, led by a full time facilities manager, to exemplify how careful facility management can reduce energy and water use and save money.

We offer other nonprofits the same opportunity to practice sustainability in facilities management through the Grants to Green Program. A partnership with The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta undertaken with private funding from the Kendeda Fund, Grants to Green enables Southface to provide nonprofits with building assessments and recommend strategies for reducing energy and water use. The nonprofit is then eligible for an implementation grant from The Community Foundation covering the cost of implementing our recommendations. To date, 155 nonprofits have received an assessment and/or implementation grant and collectively saved over $1 million on utility costs.

The Grants to Green Program is currently accepting assessment applications until noon on Thursday, October 9, 2014. Interested applicants should visit The Community Foundation website at www.cfgreateratlanta.org to review the full process and apply.

Southface will also be teaching the Sustainable Facility Practices component of the five-part training series Certificate of Nonprofit Facility Management, presented by the Atlanta Chapter of International Facility Management Association through GCN’s Nonprofit University. Members of our technical staff will introduce the principles of sustainable design, speak specifically to efficiency in building systems, and review case studies of building efficiency projects in the Grants to Green program, addressing return-on-investment and financing considerations through each step of the process.

Register today for the Sustainable Facility Practices session on Sept. 25, and join us to learn how to implement resource-efficient upgrades that will save you money!

Joey Shea is Coordinator, Development and Communications at Southface.  Joey helps manage the development team’s operational processes for membership, event registration, sponsorship, grant research and writing.

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