An opportunity to see Sustainability in Action


The process of continuing education never ends for the clean-tech professional. I had the opportunity to attend a workshop titled “Sustainability in Action: Develop your Sustainability Pilot Project” by the Association of Facility Engineers. The event as graciously hosted by Lockheed-Martin.

Goal of Sustainability in Action Workshop

The goal of the workshop, hosted by Anna Harrison and Jim Diffenderfer, was to provide the attendees with a template for creating sustainable projects and get the funding approved and the project completed.

Since the green building guidelines were in line with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program the projects were designed to be implemented with companies even though this does not need to be inclusive, these could be used in any type of sustainable project.

Our hosts started off with the company’s sustainable position which communicates the companies view on sustainability. This led into the participants suggesting pilot projects with the help of volunteers assigned to provide assistance if anything became unclear.

What is the Envisioned Future and its relation to the Sustainability Triad?

The participants stated the envisioned future for their project which was the long-term desired goal for the project’s completion. The envisioned future needed to be strategically and emotionally compelling while keeping in sync the Sustainability Triad. The Sustainability Triad is the combination of People (how a project might benefit Society), Planet (how a project would benefit the environment) and Profit (how the economic effect of the project). The project should be closed flow or cradle-to-cradle which means the project in question should generate no waste.

Six Components of the LEED Program

The LEED program has six components which were used to classify proposed projects. They included 1) Sustainable Sites (SS) which refers to building in good location and site; 2) Energy and Atmosphere (EA) which refers to practicing energy efficiency and deploying renewable energy; 3) Location and Transportation (LT) which touches on building in close proximity to public transportation; 4) Water Efficiency (WE) refers to minimizing water usage and utilizing technologies to conserve water; 5) Materials and Resources (MR) which touches of reducing the materials used and maximizing the amount of green material used in a building; 6) Interior Environmental Quality (IQ) which refers to maintaining good air quality void while minimizing the amount of pollutants.


The selection of a pilot project

A pilot project for my experience in the chemical industry is a small scale or preliminary version of a proposed project with the intention to prove a concept of feasibility or design before implementation on a larger scale. Our pilot project would be designed the same way with the addition caveat of project the flexibility to fail without major consequences.

After selection the project was pitched to the management person responsible for funding. Assuming a successful pitch once the project received approval the last part of the process developed a closed loop process designed for the implementation of the project.

In the end, I had a template for executing by sustainable projects. By the way, are you curious about my proposed project?

My proposed project made the presumption since a company sells solutions which allow sustainable water management solutions our proposed clients will be expecting a company to be as sustainable as the solutions they sell. In sales, in larger territories like California on occasions a large amount of driving are required to meet with clients. This prompted my project as using an Electric Vehicle to travel to my sales calls using a charging system installed at the office to charge at night when electricity is cheap. This would reduce the amount of gas we consume while lowering our carbon footprint.

Once I gather some research and formulate my project perhaps I will write another post on what resulted since the ultimate goal of any project template is its implementation.