What is Green Building? Definitions and Concepts

We’ve all heard the term “green building”, but what exactly does it mean? Simply, green building is a method that uses efficient design, advanced technology, sustainable construction and maintenance elements that creates a building that has very little impact on the environment and a promotes a healthy atmosphere for those who live or work in the building. These environmentally-friendly buildings can be high-rise office buildings, apartments, residential homes or schools. Furthermore, they can be found all over the country, from the deep, hot South to the cold, snowy North.

One of the challenges of living in an eco-conscious society is making buildings and homes that already exist conform to greener standards. Buildings can be retrofitted to encompass efficient technology so their emission level and energy consumption is as minimal as possible. An easy way to start making your facility more energy-conscious is by purchasing energy-efficient appliances, which will save you a lot of money on your electricity bills. You can also begin to employ techniques that will reduce your total water consumption and winterize windows and doors to prevent heat loss.

Many green buildings use solar lighting and generate their own energy. Solar panels on buildings will not only provide your facility with all the energy it needs to function, but in many cases, you can sell the excess energy to the local power company. Solar powered heating and lighting are a great way to significantly reduce your building’s energy consumption and harmful emissions.

Green buildings can also use natural ventilation systems to help reduce indoor air pollution and allergens. This is especially beneficial for those with asthma, suffer from allergies or have other respiratory problems. Building materials that are free from chemicals and toxins, along with a natural ventilation system, will allow people to breath easy while inside the facility. It has been shown that people who work inside of buildings with modern ventilation systems are more productive and use fewer sick days than those who work in conventional office buildings.

Do not be overwhelmed by the staggering amount of green technologies that can be applied to a building. You do not have to employ each one right away. You can start by making small changes and work your way up to a totally green, energy efficient facility. A green building consultant can help you focus your energy conservation goals and show you exactly how your building’s performance efficiency will change with each step you take. Also, this type of consultant can help your maintenance department implement CMMS software (or Computerized Maintenance Management Software), which helps a maintenance department run more effectively and efficiently.

Green buildings can save, on average, 40% of their total energy costs. This means more money in your pocket and less harmful emissions being sent out into our surrounding environment. This type of decrease in energy consumption means the burning of coal and oil is reduced, thereby helping lessen the impact of global climate change. The recycled materials used in the construction of green buildings help keep our ecosystem regulated.

Any small step you take to make your facility run more efficiently, or “green”, would be a wise decision. You’ll be saving money in the long run, promoting a healthier lifestyle and helping to conserve our delicate ecosystem.

Hire Building Consultants to Handle Construction Disputes, Claims and Project Management Issues

Hiring building consultants is one thing that a small homebuilder and skyscraper construction company have in common. In both instances, issues arise that may require the services of a professional, particularly when you are juggling projects that handle mechanical, civil, structural, electrical and even process engineering aspects. The same problem solving principles apply whether you are spending a few thousand pounds or tens of millions of pounds.

Benefits of an Outside Consultant for the Building Process

What if you were half way through building your home and the actions of your contractors put your timeline for construction completion way behind? Building consultants could handle the resolution of your dispute through arbitration, mediation or negotiations. What if your company did their due diligence in applying for all the necessary building permits and then at the last minute, a neighboring property owner disputes the property boundaries? Again, a consultant acting on your behalf can get the matter solved so you do not lose time on your building project.

Individuals involved in building benefit from hiring a consultant to work for them as can smaller businesses who cannot afford to retain an expert in-house to deal with construction issues. It just makes sense to hire a professional who can mediate for you and “speak” the language of construction.

Fields of Consulting in the Building Business

Dispute resolution is one of the biggest tasks for building consultants; however, they also deal with a variety of other construction issues as well. For instance, a lot of contracts are drawn up and executed during the course of a construction project. How do you know that your interests are best represented in each and every case? You don’t, unless you hire a consultant to review the contracts and offer advice for amendments.

Claims defense and claims preparation against an entity for damages is another task for these consultants. Surveying aspects are addressed as well as management and training issues of construction staff. Project management is quite helpful for a construction site as consultants can help keep vendor deliveries and contract work well on task and within a set schedule. Debt recovery is another consulting issue too.

Why waste your money and time navigating through all the administrative stuff you don’t quite understand? While you may lead a construction project, it is nearly impossible to have an intimate and firm grasp on every aspect of the process. That is what building consultants are for – to serve as your advisors for each building process as needed.

Team Building Consultant – Consultant, Trainer And Facilitator

Team Building consultants generally use three overlapping, but distinct roles. Each of the roles mentioned below keeps the learning and Team training meaningful, self-reflective, team-reflective, and most importantly fun!

The overlapping of roles are best summarized in the explanation below:

o Consultant. In this role, he establishes and maintains contact with the client, jointly assesses the client’s situation, elicits information, designs programs, serves as confidant and adviser to the primary client contact.

o Trainer. In this role, he sets the tone of the training, then communicates, educates and improvises as he orchestrates and delivers the content through a sequence of activities and facilitated group discussion

o Facilitator. In this role, he leads the debriefings [processing], engaging and challenging participants to dig for deeper meaning, mediating disagreements and pushing for ever-greater clarity and understanding.

Each of these roles is inter-dependent upon each other. For example if the training lacks the full “buy-in” or approval of the primary client contact, (usually Human Resources, a Team Leader, or a Supervisor in some capacity), the program will fail to reach a higher level of success and fail to have a long term effect on the team and the participants within the team.

It is imperative that a discussion takes place between the Team Building Consultant and the client contact. All parties need to reach an agreement on how the program will progress, what objectives and goals are going to be reached as well as how to follow up the Team training program. What if the client contact is unclear about what objectives and goals to be reached? That is where the Team Building Consultant should meet, process and enable the client contact to better see and understand what it is that really needs to be addressed in the training session. If the Team Building Consultant can not facilitate a discussion to lead to clarity on goals and objectives both parties, the consultant and the client, should agree to go elsewhere.

Additionally during the training new evidence of inter-behavioral barriers may present themselves and the program takes an unexpected turn. This is when the true test of a trainer’s ability becomes evident. Does the trainer choose to stay the course and work on the pre-defined objectives? Does the trainer choose to go in a different direction and follow what has just arisen? Does the trainer have the skills, knowledge and abilities to in a synergistic fashion meld both together? Experienced Team Building Consultants have been in all three situations and the answer really is “YES”. It all depends on the situation at hand. That is why when choosing a team building consultant or team building company an organization must research and feel comfortable with the qualifications of the facilitator.

Some questions to ask team building companies are as simple as, who are your facilitators? Can you tell me an example of a program you have lead that is like our situation? Can you supply me with a list of sample questions you ask during the debrief [processing]? Give us a specific example of a program you have created that was a success? A failure? Can you provide my organization with a written proposal or agenda of what will be accomplished during our team training?

An effective team building consultant has the ability to move seamlessly through the consultant; trainer; and facilitator role. This comes from experience and Team Building consultants who are well educated and trained, in several fields. Choose the right consultant and always ask for and check references.