This year, the Earth Day Network has unveiled the first of five large undertakings that will count down to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020.
Task number one is to plant 7.8 billion trees to help mitigate climate change and pollution, protect biodiversity and support communities.
In keeping with the “Trees for the Earth” Earth Day 2016 theme, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International has issued a list of strategies that commercial real estate professionals can use to create more environmentally friendly landscapes.
“BOMA International has long been committed to providing property professionals with the information and resources they need to implement environmentally sustainable practices,” said BOMA International chair Kent C. Gibson, BOMA Fellow, president of Capstone Property Management, L.C.
“Creating a ‘green’ landscape is an important way for commercial building owners and managers to support the environment while improving the curb appeal of their properties.”
Here are seven practical ways commercial real estate professionals can make their landscapes even “greener” this Earth Day, April 22, and throughout the rest of the year:
- Plant more trees. From providing shade for outdoor seating areas to improving the aesthetics of your property, adding more trees to your landscape design can come with a host of benefits. Placing trees strategically around a property also can help shield lower floors from direct sunlight, reducing heating and cooling costs year-round.
- Choose your “green” wisely. Landscaping in Arizona should look much different than landscaping in Wisconsin. Picking plants that work well with the local climate and ecosystem will mean less work—and water—to keep your plants and trees healthy and looking good.
- Try composting. Many areas now offer professional composting services that turn a tenants’ paper and food waste into nutrient-rich compost that can help your lawn stay green.
- Save water. Landscaping accounts for the majority of water use in most commercial properties. Regularly check for leaks in the irrigation system to prevent water loss, and consider cutting back on watering by one day a week.
- Upgrade your irrigation. Installing drip irrigation or greywater recycling may pay for itself over the long term through significant reductions in water use.
- Think inside the building. Adding more plants indoors can improve air quality and complement the interior design. Office plants may even boost employee morale, as access to nature can have a positive impact on people’s moods.
- Enjoy your landscape. Celebrate Earth Day (or just the warmer weather) by hosting a tenant appreciation event outside, if possible, and show off the hard work of the building landscape team.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized BOMA International with the 2016 ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence. This is the ninth time BOMA has been recognized by the EPA with an ENERGY STAR award and it remains the only commercial real estate association to have received this honor. In 2009, BOMA International also received the Climate Protection Award, the EPA’s highest honor.
For more information on BOMA International’s green initiatives, as well as more tips and strategies for greening commercial buildings, visit www.boma.org/sustainability.