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Elaine Gallagher Adams

Net Zero Facilities and Sustainable Communities Solutions Leader

It’s 2024. Are you on track to meet your ESG goals for built assets?

Here are 10 strategies for finding your ESG groove this year:

  • Don’t overcomplicate it. Even if you’re only prepared to address energy, water and land development right now, these aspects have significant environmental impact. Understand those aspects of your operations, and you capture most of the “E” in ESG for the built environment.

  • Meter your buildings. Measure every energy source and all water consumption. Operating a building without metering performance is flying blind. Pay attention.

  • Track building performance automatically. Cheers to you for metering your utilities; now track performance and consumption patterns. The data tells a story of good or bad management, system failures, environmental response, aging equipment and climate impact. Take advantage of open-source utility management tools like Energy Star Portfolio Manager. Tools like this work as a hub for communicating with comprehensive building management software and green ratings systems like LEED O&M via Arc.

  • Address the “S” in ESG. How do your built assets impact your community? Map the flow of impact and find ways to make life better for those within your influence. Social sustainability is the positive and negative impacts your assets have on neighborhood air and water quality, noise and odors coming from your facilities, influence on workforce housing and transportation in areas where you operate, etc. It is critical to identify and evaluate your assets’ impacts so you can address them, thereby building trust in your community.

  • Make a decarbonization roadmap. More than just energy audits, a decarbonization roadmap is a long term, integrative assessment and analytical approach to meeting carbon neutrality targets through bundled projects with modeled outcomes and right timing. For the equivalent cost of just a few months of utility bills, hire a consultant to reduce energy consumption dramatically and economically across your entire portfolio through a whole systems approach.

  • Assess and reduce purchasing. Reduce consumption and waste. Imagine that your logo is on every piece of waste leaving your facilities—what does that say about your company and your impact on the environment?

  • Find the joy. Creating better buildings and better places to live and do business makes everybody’s life better. Celebrate the opportunity to transform how your buildings feel to the people who manage and occupy them. Do your buildings have a net positive impact?

  • Create a Climate Action Plan for your buildings, campuses or cities to make life better, reduce risk and improve environmental, economic and cultural resilience. 

  • Create and incentivize facility excellence in your organization. Acknowledge and reward those earning professional credentials in sustainability, system optimization and energy management. Learn from your best as well as struggling building managers. Create a platform to share best practices and solve challenges together.

  • Commit to carbon neutrality and be bold. Raise the bar on governance. Reimagine your company as a leader in global climate solutions and follow through. Find opportunities to improve planetary and human wellbeing and happiness. Re-examine your paradigm and understand there is no paradigm for where we are going.


Elaine Gallagher Adams

Net Zero Facilities and Sustainable Communities Solutions Leader

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