Energy Management and Lighting, Green Building, Maintenance and Operations, Sustainability/Business Continuity

Illuminating the Triple Bottom Line for a Sustainable Future in Facilities

If you want to make a difference in today’s social, economic, and environmental climate, a great place to start is by examining what’s going on behind the scenes in facilities. Many consider social, economic, and environmental themes the triple bottom line (TBL) of facilities management.

The TBL theory suggests that instead of one bottom line, there should be three: profit, people, and the planet. It is important to note that the triple bottom line doesn’t prioritize environmental and social concerns over profit. In fact, it suggests that all three P’s of people, the planet, and profit are interwoven.

“Applying the triple bottom line to daily facility operations is more important than it ever has been,” said Nico Viola, director of facilities at Holden Forests and Gardens. “Every organization is looking for ways to save money while doing the right thing for their people and the environment. Such a large emphasis has been put on improving working conditions within facilities while creating flexibility to meet the demands of hybrid work. Now more than ever, the C-suite is looking to facilities to plan and implement these initiatives.”

Let There Be Light and Air

Applicable lighting and indoor air quality (IAQ) contribute to a healthier workforce.

It’s essential to determine where the lights will be placed, the type of traffic in a building, facility hours, the mix of building residents (students, patients, walk-ins), and sustainability/energy consumption.

Areas of priority for facility lighting are stairwells, exteriors, parking garages, or any areas where machinery is being used, advised Bobbi McLeod, VP of sales, marketing, and design at Lumenal Lighting.

The dangers of poor facility lighting include security issues, personal safety issues, and risks of litigation due to injury or crime.

Healthcare facilities managers face a slew of challenges including being aware of sensitive and sterile environments and minimizing installation interruptions to staff and patients. With their long operating hours and high-density electrical usage, special care should be given to what types of lights are most cost-effective in these environments.

While IAQ has been around for some time, the pandemic began to raise concerns about emergency preparedness, testing the role of facilities management services in keeping buildings safe for students, and best practices moving forward.

“It used to be that temperature and humidity were our biggest concerns,” said Pete Cantone, CEO of Pandemic Solutions LLC. “But we’re now becoming more and more aware of the impact of viruses, airborne pathogens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and contaminants on a submicron level, which speaks volumes about what we have to do ensure a facility’s indoor air quality.”

Cantone added, “Facilities management teams play an important role in IAQ management by performing preventative maintenance on HVAC systems, cleaning air ducts, and upgrading filters—making sure the basic stuff is done first.”

Many facilities teams are using mobile devices and QR codes to access equipment data in the field.

Green Is Good for the Environment

Through green cleaning protocols and recycling initiatives, facilities teams can lower the carbon footprint of their buildings to make a difference for the better.

Through initiatives like green building certifications (LEED, BREEAM), facilities managers can reduce carbon emissions by implementing sustainable building practices and reducing energy consumption.

“The environmental impact of facilities management has moved to the forefront of our focus. It can have a huge impact on your bottom line if you’re not following local and state environmental guidelines,” said restaurant facilities manager Scott Rogers. “We avoided fines and violations by training our employees about what’s acceptable to put down our drains and grease traps. It takes changing habits and continued training, but your bottom line will reflect the results.”

Examining Economics and Social Responsibility

If an organization’s image falters due to poor building performance, then you’ll lose customers, which impacts revenues and profitability. Poor reviews damage an organization’s reputation.

Effective facilities management practices can optimize resource utilization and reduce operational costs through energy efficiency, waste reduction, and streamlined processes. Proper maintenance and management of facilities prolong asset life cycles, reducing the need for frequent replacements or major repairs, saving costs in the long run.

By integrating strategies that focus on social responsibility, cost-effectiveness, and environmental sustainability, facilities management can positively influence the triple bottom line, benefiting society, the organization, and the environment simultaneously. Organizations that prioritize these aspects often experience improved brand reputation, operational efficiencies, and long-term viability while contributing positively to society and the environment.

Jack Rubinger is marketing content writer for ARC Facilities. He can be reached at

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