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5 keys to transforming an older building to meet the sustainability challenges.

From our experience, here are five key lessons for transforming an older building to meet the sustainability challenges of the 21st Century.

1. Success starts from the top

The project needs a clear vision with strong, committed leadership willing to invest in building upgrades.

Budgets vary for different projects and it's important to clarify performance priorities and pursue systemic solutions to achieve them.

2. Be flexible

A strong vision helps formulate a good plan, but even the best plans may need to change,

whether for internal reasons such as resource issues, or external ones like economic downturns or global pandemics. Timelines may need to be extended and priorities reassessed.

3. Build an educated and empowered team

Greening existing buildings involves changing long-held practices and ways of thinking which can meet resistance from building management teams. But these professionals care about their buildings, and no one better knows the minutiae of their workings.

Engage with colleagues on the rationales and intents behind green building concepts, get their input on how best to achieve these aims and then empower them to implement the solutions they identify. This is the most effective approach to finding the right solutions for your building and creating a sense of project ownership among colleagues.

4. Listen to stakeholders and create consensus

The building management team can’t do it alone. Suppliers, vendors, contractors, and especially tenants have a vital role to play in green building performance.

Engaging in dialogue with these stakeholders to communicate the team’s goals and listening for feedback on challenges and suggestions can lead to better solutions that everyone is invested in.

5. It's not only about certification

Everyone wants to achieve the best certification result possible, but that shouldn’t be the goal.

Greening an existing building is about changing business as usual, planning for ongoing measurement and improvement, and laying the foundations for the future success of the building.

In developing this forward-focused mindset, even small, seemingly insignificant changes to operating protocols show a meaningful positive impact over time. People notice these positive impacts, and will suggest more ways to make enhancements.

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