The FM Professional

SYWBAFM Part 6: Clean, Green and Ready for Disaster

David Spence
September 17th, 2015

You’re still reading? Well that’s flattering, but it also says something about you; we’re in the biz so we know that’s good ­- like, really good ­- FMs are not a dime a dozen.

By now, you’re familiar with most of the knowledge areas you’ll need in order to succeed in this field.

Today we’re going to wrap up our mini-series with our final two competencies, Environmental Awareness and Emergency Preparedness.

9. Environmental Awareness

Here is where you get the chance to earn eco­-friendly cred and impress the Board of Directors at the same time.

As a solid Facility Manager, you need to be aware of wasting resources ­- earthly, green resources like energy, which is also tied to the other resource: money.

What does that mean, exactly? Ensuring thermostats are programmed to make the most efficient use of energy during business hours, making environmentally sensitive choices in regards to building materials and furnishings, and keeping tabs on areas of potential waste.

In today’s eco­-conscious world, Facility Managers play an increasingly important role in reducing a building’s carbon footprint.

Some examples of changes you could implement include things like smart lighting, grey water capture, solar panels and even things like composting and soft plastic recycling programs.

A lot of the aforementioned strategies reduce environmental impact straight out of the gate and end up saving money in the long term. Other ideas that don’t cost any money include donating or repurposing old office furniture and choosing office space that’s along a bike or bus­-friendly route.

10. Emergency Preparedness

Quick ­- where’s your first aid kit? If you answered “Which one? The mini one in my pocket right now, or the full sized ones in my car, house and both my kids’ backpacks?” then you’re so cut out for this job.

Facility Managers have a plan for every type of emergency ­- it’s part of the gig. This includes evacuation plans for fire, earthquake (where applicable) and more sinister situations like security threats.

You’ll also need to establish protocols for power outages, pipe bursts/floods and basically anything else that could go wrong. You’re the one who knows where all the fire extinguishers are and when they expire. You know 10 ways out of the building in case any one way is blocked. You’re the one who they call to complain about the lack of good options in the vending machines (and that is definitely an emergency ­ prune & flax breakfast bars, really? Come on.)

Thanks for following our ‘So You Wanna Be A Facility Manager’ blog series!

Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit more about what it takes to hack it in the FM profession. Like we said in our first post, it’s a dynamic and thriving field of work with experienced corporate FMs typically bringing in a six­figure salary.

As a wise uncle once said, with great power comes great responsibility.

Are you already working as a Facility Manager? We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on our competency list. Give us a shout!

And for all you prospects out there: the next time someone at work teases you for making a Lunchroom Evacuation Plan, remember their name when you’re in charge … and move their desk to the Supply Room.

photo credit: stockimages at