Measure and manage
Skanska USA expresses its corporate commitment to the triple bottom line through its Sustainability Agenda. The following is the third of a five-part series exploring how Skanska is approaching the triple bottom line for the good of its clients, its respective businesses and for the good of the places we live, play and work. You can read parts one and two here.
In the design and construction community, the environmental focus is too often on what is being built: perhaps a facility targeting a level of LEED® certification or Living Building Challenge certification, or seeking to exceed ASHRAE 90.1 standards.
Those are wonderful measures for whoever will use a building after construction, but they say very little about those involved in construction – yet the volume of green work a contractor has is the basis for any number of green rankings. The truth is, the building team can influence the client’s wishes, but they don’t directly control them.
We need another way to fully measure and demonstrate the building team’s commitment and achievements towards sustainability. How can we as an industry make it easier to evaluate green credentials?
At Skanska, we developed our Green Strategic Indicators (GSIs) to help us measure our present status and our ambitions along three key green areas: our brand, our people and our projects. The resources tracked – against a 2011 baseline – are energy, carbon, materials, and water. These seven simple metrics provide a road map for how we build, and what we build.
Essentially, we want to measure and manage what a contractor can do to emphasize sustainability.
The most challenging goals relate to carbon footprinting and waste disposal. With waste handling, while large cities such as Washington, D.C., and Seattle routinely achieve high levels of waste diversion, that’s not always the case in less urban parts of the U.S. But no matter where we’re building or what the client’s requirements are, we’re obligated by our Green Strategic Indicators to recycle construction waste – even if it costs us more to do so. In 2013, our target is recycling at least 94 percent of our construction waste, a goal that increases to 98 waste diversion by 2015.
Read more: Carbon footprinting.