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BOMI International - the Independent Institute for Property and Facility Management Education
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Tips for Building and Maintaining an Effective Sustainability Program

by BOMI International

A number of industry organizations offer programs-many in the form of tool or scale-to help industry professionals enhance building performance through the reduction and conservation of energy use. But with so many available options, how do you know where to begin the process of implementing and maintaining an effective sustainability program?


Whether you're starting from scratch or planning to restructure your current sustainability program, the following two tips will support your efforts.



Tip #1-Refresh What You Know & Learn Something New


A key facet to planning or revising any program is to make sure you are up-to-date on industry best practices. However, keeping current with various applications and trends in greening can be quite time consuming and overwhelming.


The good news is the dirty work has been done for you by BOMI International. A leading industry education provider for over 44 years, BOMI International offers several subject-specific courses that focus on achieving greater building energy efficiency through the implementation of sustainable best practices.


Everything you need to know is compiled into a 15-week Instructor-Led Online course-or, for independent learners, available in a six-month Self-Study format. What's even better, AGPOM members save 10% on all BOMI International offerings, including the following courses, which are approved by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for the LEED Credential Maintenance Program (CMP).


Check Out These Courses!


Air Handling, Water Treatment, and Plumbing Systems

Revisit the components of HVAC systems, water treatment, and plumbing systems, and learn how to control climate for energy efficiency and for human comfort.


Electrical Systems and Illumination

Learn how to measure electrical consumption, and gain the ability to recognize, set up, and maintain reliable and effective maintenance and safety systems.


Energy Management and Controls

From everyday preventive maintenance tasks to developing an energy plan, this course provides you with the skills to evaluate and optimize your current system, the know-how to integrate new components, and the ability to communicate your needs to decision makers.


Environmental Health and Safety Issues

This course will help you develop and manage proactive environmental/occupational health and safety programs, comply with regulatory standards and guidelines, and assess when to obtain technical assistance.


Refrigeration Systems and Accessories

Gain the skills and knowledge to identify the performance characteristics of refrigeration components, and operate and maintain reciprocating and absorption refrigeration systems.


The Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Building Systems, Part I

This course covers best practices in building operations and maintenance-you will learn how to effectively manage the ongoing operation and maintenance of building systems to maximize building efficiency and cost-effectiveness.


The Design, Operation, and Maintenance of Building Systems, Part II

This course covers building systems management, analytics, and optimization, and high-performance security and life safety systems design-you will gain the knowledge needed to increase occupant safety and comfort while facilitating building efficiency to meet your business goals.


For a complete course/program list visit:



Tip #2-Assess & Select A Tool


No matter your experience level, after a refresher course or two, it becomes easier to understand and, therefore, determine the right tool to assist with your organizations' building improvement initiatives.


Listed below are summaries of a few options you can research and perhaps consider for your company.


Consider These Tools 

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED´┐Ż) 
Provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.


There are several LEED rating systems, including ones for new construction, existing buildings/O&M, core and shell, and others.


BOMA 360

Evaluates major areas of building operations and management, and incorporates a rating system to compare a building's performance against industry standards. 

Only occupied commercial office buildings and industrial buildings are eligible.



Green Globes

 An assessment and rating system that delivers guidance for green building design, operation, and management in the US and Canada.



Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

An assessment using recognized measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building's specification, design, construction, and use.


Energy Star

Focuses on saving money and protecting the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. For a manager, the most important part of the program is the Portfolio Manager. 


Portfolio Manager is an interactive energy management tool that allows the tracking and assessment of energy and water consumption across a portfolio of buildings in a secure online environment.


Green Seal

A nonprofit organization that develops lifecycle-based sustainability standards for products, services, and companies and offers third-party certification for those that meet the standard criteria.



For more information about BOMI International's courses and programs, and to learn how you can save 10% as an AGPOM member, please visit
or call 1.800.235.

BOMI International, a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1970, provides critical education and expertise to industry personnel with property, facility, building systems management, and sustainability responsibilities. More than 27,000 industry professionals hold one or more BOMI International designations, and over 90,000 property and facility management professionals have turned to BOMI International for their continuing education, professional development, and staff training needs.

Special Offer from Stephen Bushnell + Associates

For even more relevant and current information on green and sustainable enterprise risk management consider becoming a subscriber to the Stephen Bushnell+ Associates monthly or semi-monthly green risk newsletter. 

 Each edition includes an enterprise risk management commentary on some of the most critical risk based issues being managed by green and sustainable organizations. In addition you will find links to the latest information customized from our extensive survey of relevant publications. We do the research and you reap the benefits.


The newsletter is divided into areas of interest to public entities, manufacturers, real estate owners and managers, insurance professionals, the healthcare industry and more all at a reasonable cost, just $500 per year for the monthly edition and $1000 for the semi-monthly.


Contact for more information.

Alternative Energy and Battery Backup Systems Unlock Economic Value

Alternative Energy and Battery Backup Systems Unlock Economic Value but they also increase risk.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the installation of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the United States increased by more than 400% from 2010 to 2014 and there is every reason to think that this trend will continue. The inability of these systems to meet peak energy demand 24/7 has sparked new technologies for energy storage from residential to utility grid scale.   

AGPOM Member Koloa Landing's Poipu Beach Villiage Solar Array Photo Credit: Haleakala Solar

Battery storage is one of the most intriguing solutions. While the cost remains high (as compared to more traditional sources of power) and a variety of regulatory and code barriers exist these are more and more solutions moving to the market. The growing focus on "net zero" buildings is a major factor in the interest in on site storage. 


Rooftop solar pv systems bring significant economic and green value even without the round the clock flexibility that battery backup systems provide. They are not without risk however. The obvious weather risks of wind and hail can be addresses by confirming that the pv panels and mounting systems meet all current standards and that installation is 

performed by a qualified, experienced professional.

First responders may not understand the nature of  pv and how to fight fires, especially when they need to access the roof to vent smoke and dangerous gasses. If the pv installation is extensive and there is insufficient clear space on the roof for fire fighters to work, they may not be able to properly fight the fire. They may also not know where and how to shut down the system. Proper labeling is critical.


California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) has addressed many of these risks in the publication, Solar Photovoltaic Installation Guideline. Other organizations such as the National Fire Protection Association and several model electric and building codes reference the Cal Fire guidelines. Local codes are evolving and may not reflect the best practices suggested by Cal Fire.


An additional risk management practice is to engage the local first responders to tour your facilities and become familiar with your pv system and how to shut it down if needed. You may already involve them in a similar way for your commercial automatic sprinkler systems. In this case, familiarity breeds safety.


Battery storage is probably a few years away from being economically viable at scales smaller than grid installations. Existing battery technology ranges from traditional lead-acid batteries, to emerging lithium-ion batteries, flow batteries (vanadium redix and zinc bromide) and even Sodium Sulfur batteries. Hybrid automobile batteries that are no longer powerful enough for their original intent are being repurposed for a second life as pv backup systems. Again, the green concepts of reuse and recycle will play a role in creative "cradle to cradle" rebirth of many components.


While batteries hold lots of promise for cost efficient energy storage, they also introduce new elements of risk that must be managed. There are three significant issues that arise:

  1. Batteries get hot and may combust. Recall the issue laptop computers bursting into flames as lithium ion batteries overheated. Thermal runaway is a significant concern for installation with several lithium ion batteries.
  2. Batteries contain dangerous chemicals that should not be released into the environment or contact humans and animals. Some technologies can release hydrogen gas that needs to be properly vented to avoid explosions.
  3. Power is always present. We are already seeing concerns with first responders over rooftop pv systems and fires in hybrid and electric autos. Adequate labeling, assessable shut offs and fire department training goes a long way to mitigate these risks. Adding batteries to the mix changes the risk dynamics.  Firefighters might expect sophisticate battery arrays in industrial setting not in residential properties. 

New technology almost always introduces new elements of risk. Tried and true risk management techniques can support our response:

  1. The battery storage room or container should be designed by professionals who understand the properties of the batteries involved and the risks they bring. The principal of separation is a good first step. The storage enclosure should be separated from the building by adequate clear space. If a fire or chemical release does occur it will not have an immediate impact on people or property. Of course, proper venting, chemical containment systems and even heat alarms should be included in the design.
  2. The room or container should be clearly labeled with easy to read instructions about how to shut down the power.
  3. You should make the local fire department aware of the battery installation. Again, on site visits to review the arrangement are helpful. Many cities have codes regarding rooftop pv installations and placement of storage sheds which should always be followed. Few have any requirements for battery storage installations.

We can expect rapid progress to be made in battery storage. Understanding the risks and taking the proper steps to mitigate them will go a long way to ensure that we will realize the economic benefits without unduly exposing lives and property.


Read the full article with additional links here


Stephen Bushnell is a highly experienced insurance and risk management professional with more than 40years of leadership experience at various property & casualty insurers. Steve is widely recognized as a risk-focused expert on green buildings, sustainable manufacturing and operations, and the broader business, economic and risk management implications of climate, energy and other sustainability challenges.


Stephen Bushnell + Associates advises property owners and managers, public entities, manufacturers and other enterprises on the enterprise risk management best practices to enhance green buildings and sustainable operations.  

Customizing Commercial Property Insurance is Key

Commercial property insurance is there when an insured's property is damaged or destroyed because of a covered loss like a fire or vandalism. But without the right property coverage, gaps or limitations could exist, especially when it comes to consequential losses that follow a direct physical loss. This can result in serious problems for the insureds and the brokers and agents insuring them. For example, without property insurance inclusions for debris removal costs and increased cost of construction resulting from ordinance or law, an insured can end up looking at significant expenses after a building has been damaged or destroyed.


Debris Removal

Typically, debris removal is an additional coverage in most property forms, as opposed to being included in the scheduled building or business personal property limits. Therefore, it's limited to 25% of the sum of the direct loss and the deductible. There is also an additional $10,000 in coverage available if the sum of direct physical loss and debris removal expense exceeds the scheduled property limits, or if the debris removal expense exceeds the amount payable under the 25% coverage provision.  Should there be a total loss, it's easy to see the potential shortfall of insurance to cover the total debris removal costs under this provision. To increase debris removal limits, a Debris Removal Additional Insurance endorsement should be added to the base property form, along with a specified amount. Choosing the right amount involves taking into consideration the building's size and construction materials, manufacturing processes and materials, and any potential pollution hazards that may require special handling.


Increased Cost of Construction

Another important consideration following a property loss is the increased cost of construction as required by ordinance or law. Older buildings that have a total or partial loss will have to comply with current building codes when reconstructing or repairing a building. Unless a Property form is customized, there won't be any coverage to accommodate the increased construction costs to meet compliance ordinances. To address this gap, the policy should be crafted with an Ordinance or Law endorsement. There are three coverage provisions available under this endorsement: 1) the cost of demolishing and rebuilding the undamaged portion of a building following a covered cause of loss; 2) the extra costs associated with demolition following a covered cause of loss, with a specific limit of insurance selected for this coverage; 3) and coverage for additional costs incurred when ordinance or law requires higher standards of construction or compliance with current safety standards, with a specific limit of insurance must be selected for this coverage.


Both of debris removal and increased cost of construction require analysis of an insured's property to determine the overall risk exposure and the appropriate limits to purchase. 


AGPOM's Insurance Partner, Fulcrum Insurance Programs, insures the hotel/resortreal estate, habitational and casino industries and provide a comprehensive property insurance for their clients. For more information click here.

Green Hotelier Awards 2015 Open Now!
The Green Hotelier Awards are searching for the top-in-class green hotels around the world. Submission deadline is March 2, 2015. 

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 purchase with Fulcrum Insurance Programs or because 
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Although active member participation with AGPOM is not mandatory, continuing to receive and review AGPOM correspondence, including this newsletter is required as part of your insurance package. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.