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IFMA: The Sustainable Office In Action - New 'Service Center of Excellence'

The new global headquarters of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) offers a strong case study of the application of sustainable workplaces. The Houston-based “Service Center of Excellence,” which officially opens on Feb. 21, 2013, employs innovative technologies and techniques to benefit the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit.

“The IFMA Service Center of Excellence was conceived, designed and built around the core concepts of sustainability, usability and productivity,” said Marina Badoian-Kriticos, the sustainability director at IFMA. “By knowing exactly what we wanted to achieve from the beginning, IFMA found ingenious ways to integrate sustainable features and behaviors into the facility in manners that improve productivity and save money. We drew from some of the best tried and true facility management ideas of our 23,000 members around the world, making this a truly collaborative accomplishment. The Service Center of Excellence just the beginning; it will continue to grow, change and adapt as we test the products and services that our members use.”

The following are ways that the Service Center of Excellence was designed to be sustainable.

Half the Physical Footprint

One of the most visible improvements with the Service Center of Excellence is a dramatically reduced physical footprint. Through employee mobility, shared workspaces and smart design, the new IFMA headquarters requires only about half the useable square footage compared with the previous space. The smaller, smarter space not only reduces the environmental impact, but it also saves money and increases productivity.

“Recycled” Space

One strategy the IFMA Service Center of Excellence uses to do more with less is applying the concept of recycling to physical space. Just like recycled plastic can be used for something else, modular and convertible office spaces created throughout the facility can be quickly and easily repurposed for multiple uses, allowing one room to serve the function that previously required two or more.

Resource Efficient

Furnishings, finishes and fixtures were chosen with sustainability, as well as aesthetics and function, in mind. To increase efficiency, occupancy sensors were installed facility wide to turn off lights when rooms aren’t in use. IFMA will carefully monitor energy and water consumption in order to refine and improve conservation efforts.

Environmental Connection

To further connect people to each other and their environment, and to reduce the environmental and actual cost of lighting, the layout maximizes the penetration of daylight into the space while promoting line-of-sight views of the outside environment. This breaks down the indoor-outdoor barrier, and is further facilitated by using lower panels between workstations.

Smart Location

Even the location itself – in the heart of Houston’s Memorial City – was chosen with sustainability in mind. The development density and community connectivity means that a host of amenities are within walking distance. The building itself is a high-performance facility with an ENERGY STAR ® rating of 98.

Commuter Friendly

By utilizing mobile technology, IFMA not only empowers mobility within the workplace, but outside of it. When it is not necessary to physically be in the office, employees can work remotely, allowing them to reclaim time lost in a daily commute while reducing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions, thus lowering the carbon footprint.

For more details and photos of IFMA’s Service Center of Excellence go to  or plan to attend the upcoming open house — either in person or virtually—on Feb. 21, 2012.