Sustainable Management: an Interview with Brenden Welch

October 18, 2021 | By: Brendan Welch

Brenden Welch is Bridge Commercial Real Estate’s Director of Property Management for the greater Atlanta area. He has over twenty-five years in the commercial real estate industry and sit at the cutting edge of building sustainability. CRE Insight Journal reached out to him for his insight into sustainable management, and these are his responses.

What does it mean to be a sustainable manager? 

“It means to continuously evaluate how one’s property or building operations negatively impact the environment and to seek ways to minimize that impact while still providing best in class service.  With an attention to detail, a manager can impart a culture of awareness among the operations team to focus on identifying ways to reduce environmental impacts.

There may be opportunities in building system operation and utility management, janitorial processes, landscaping, trash and recycling, parking operations, etc.  Leadership goes a long way towards setting expectations and campaigning the team towards a new way of thinking.”

How is sustainable management achieved?  

“Through implementation of trackable efforts to reduce impacts while evaluating your progress towards goals.  It can be achieved through designations where an outside party, such as ENERGY STAR®  or LEED, certifies that a building’s operating performance or procedures comply with minimum standards.

A critical element to these efforts is the education and communication with the building occupants. Many environmental impacts can be linked to human behavior, and a true sustainable program is one that does not have a start and end – it is ongoing and one that is recognized and understood by the building’s community.”

What are some of the steps towards being a sustainable manager?

First, identify areas of opportunity within a buildings’ operation to lower impacts – assess your current state or baseline.  Next is to determine how to make improvements and how to track the success of these improvements.  Then you want to set short term and long-term goals for the program to educate and communicate these goals to your team, your tenants, and your service vendors.  Last would be to regularly report progress towards those goals and shift efforts where needed to maximize results.

How can members of the commercial real estate industry learn more about sustainable management?  

Research into innovative resources – through technology tools, consultations with specialized experts , learning service vendor partner capabilities, seeking out industry trends, educational classes, webinar opportunities, and reading case studies or white papers on programs that achieved success and met goals.

What else should people know on this topic? 

“Understanding and implementing sustainability into building operations can benefit your business by lowering operating expenses. This also builds a connection with your tenants that can lead to improved satisfaction and retention, and foster a reputation for improving the community around your building. All of these things help in attracting top talent to join in your efforts.”

See the entire library of ENERGY STAR® videos and articles in our 2021 ENERGY STAR® Content Guide.


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