Why you should go green in 2014

It’s the end of the year and most credit unions are thinking about 2014 planning.  What are our goals in 2014?  How can we make impactful decisions that support future growth?  How can we best support our members and community?  How can we demonstrate social responsibility? 

Last month, I talked about how to achieve an effective workplace and the four components that contribute to overall organizational success.  One of those components is sustainable design or “Green Building.”

Has your credit union already taken some steps toward going green?  Have you incorporated sustainable policies into your operating facilities?  And, are you thinking about how it can positively impact your organization in 2014 and beyond?

 If not, you actually should be.

Green building, also known as sustainable design, is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle.

The practice of building green expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and occupant comfort.

This defines Green Building, but what are the actual benefits to your organization, members, and community? 

There are four key categories to address:  Environmental, health and wellness, economic, and community awareness.

1)      Environmental

  • Enhance and protect ecosytems
  • Improve air and water quality
  • Reduce solid waste
  • Conserve natural resources

2)      Health and Wellness

  • Improve indoor environmental quality (IEQ)
  • Enhance occupant comfort and health
  • Minimize strain on infrastructure
  • Improve overall quality of life

3)      Economic

  • Optimize building system’s life-cycle
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Enhance asset value
  • Improve the bottom line
  • Improve staff effectiveness
  • Improve consumer satisfaction

4)      Community Awareness

  • Be viewed as community leader and innovator
  • Market to savvy consumers
  • The new workforce expects it
  • Be an employer of choice
  • Leverage as a marketing and sales tool

According to the General Services Administration “Green Building Performance: A Post Occupancy Evaluation (2011)” report, compared to national averages, green buildings in the study demonstrated:

  • 25% less energy use
  • 19% lower aggregate operational costs
  • 27% higher occupant satisfaction
  • 36% fewer CO2 emissions

In the Filene Research Institute report, “Credit Union Social Responsibility:  A Sustainability Road Map” it says that “the ROI opportunities around sustainability include, among others, positive public relations, cost savings, talent acquisition, and access to new markets…But, sustainability is like any other initiative.  It needs its own goals, its own champions, and its own resources if it is to be more than a flash in any credit union’s pan.”

Ask yourself in what ways will your credit union be able to demonstrate social responsibility in the coming year.  Then, make sure that you have a solid strategy for incorporating sustainability into your 2014 and long-range workplace planning process.

Heather Horrocks

Heather Horrocks

Heather is the Director of Marketing at Momentum, a national design-build firm. Heather and the Momentum team work with Credit Unions to facilitate strategic planning, evaluate facilities growth needs, and ... Web: www.momentumbuilds.com Details