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Accreditation & Certification

Going Green ~ Cost Reduction

Accreditation & Certification

In the previous issue, we covered the basics about corporate sustainability. We presented sustainability as growing from a simple and single department to a mindset change in every major corporation. I hope the article was helpful for industry leaders to emphasize the basics about sustainability and the importance of getting involved in moving towards a sustainable corporate culture as quickly as possible.

In this issue, we will address how to develop a robust sustainability strategy for cost reduction. Our goal should be to create a simple message around the returns of sustainable investments which will allow organizations to make fast decisions for executing their projects. Sometimes the amount of contradictory information can make this process difficult.

Strategy Development for Sustainability

Every organization has a unique way of running their enterprise and varying expectations when reducing costs. A strategic roadmap must be implemented during the early stage of the initiative for identifying the main focus area. This roadmap also might help to analyze current performance gaps and to improve initiatives to help realize achieved benefits.

Sustainability value drivers should be investigated and captured during the visioning session with key project members’ involvement. This helps the organization to identify the baseline for their metrics.

Organizational characteristics are also important to analyze the gaps for any future recommendations. Before any scenario is suggested, the organizations’ social and environmental characteristics should be analyzed as well.

Alternative scenario development is another important task for the organization to establish during the implementation phase. During the recommendation phase, suggestions will be strategically chosen and implemented for the selected scenario to move forward with.

The suggestions also have to include alternative ways to measure the identified scenario. Recommended strategies do not mean anything unless alternative ways are created to measure during the life cycle of the asset.

Chart-1 illustrates the recommended roadmap

Project Team Structure

Identifying the right team before kickoff and establishing team members’ involvement during the strategic phase are two extremely important factors for the accuracy and timeliness of the project. This process should be initiated before work begins.

Chart-2 illustrates recommended team involvement during the strategy process for a robust project flow

Areas to Evaluate and Focus During the Strategy

Sustainability, in general, is not only related to physical assets. Strategic development should cover the areas beyond the physical portfolio of the organization. Organizations can generate growth, reduce cost and add value to their brand by implementing strategies under seven different areas during the life cycle of the project. Either one or multiple areas can be considered as part of the scenario development.

Chart-3 illustrates the different areas to explore before the strategy development

Alternative Ways to Identify Cost Savings

Once the scenario is selected along with an implementation strategy, it needs to be transferred into the real world for real time savings. The Project team is responsible for developing regular updates on various dimensions such as frequency, environmental impact, ROI, project cost and time-to-implementation.

HOK consults with organizations in various industries to develop their sustainability strategies. Every organization sets up their goals differently to reduce cost. During final analysis, sustainability components offer measurable benefits in the following areas: energy efficiency, green house gas (GHG) emission, water consumption, building performance, environmental management, land and building utilization, workplace management, technology enablement, and waste.


An important question to ask before assessment begins is “Does my organization present opportunities for integrating sustainable practices in order to identify gaps, improve initiatives and realize their benefits?” If the answer is yes, then a holistic approach for sustainability strategy has to be considered by bringing the right team on board. Decision makers should also think about creating a robust strategy by envisioning the different cycles which will occur during the life time of the project.

Chart-4 illustrates the overall lifecycle for the project

HOK is a global provider of planning, design and delivery solutions for the built environment. Since the firm’s founding in 1955, HOK has developed into one of the world’s largest, most diverse and respected design practices. We employ more than 2,000 professionals linked across a global network of 24 offices on four continents.

Industry surveys consistently rank HOK among the leading firms in numerous building types, specialties and regions, and we have earned many awards and honors for our projects, people and practice.

HOK Advance Strategies works with clients to help align their business strategies with their real estate, facilities and workplaces to effectively master change. Our consultants draw on their business and design expertise to align our clients’ business strategies with their people, real estate, facilities, workplaces and information systems. We help clients make value-based decisions to achieve clear, quantifiable results.

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