You have done a lot to enhance the sustainability of your office building and you want people to know it. After all, sustainability in building design and operations is becoming increasingly demanded by tenants and/or your own employees. But how best to tell your sustainability story?
The Society of Environmentally Responsible Facilities (SERF) was founded in 2010 by real estate owners and industry professionals to provide an alternative sustainable building certification which is streamlined, easy to navigate, and affordable.
We promote the triple bottom line of sustainability: buildings that are good for business good for the environment and good for the community.
Our drive to recognize and promote Practical Environmental Stewardship™ does not end with the certification process. We work with certified property owners, managers and leasing agents in the research and production of materials, including property Profiles and Case Studies, to tell your sustainability story.
These materials, which we produce in colorful and engaging hard copy and electronic form, have proven a valuable tool in communicating essential, but often hidden, sustainable materials, systems and processes to multiple audiences which include:
- Your employees
- Prospective tenants
- Government agencies, including local planning boards and commissions
- Community at large
SERF’s approach is, by design, in marked contrast to that of the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, although SERF supports the USGBC’s mission and their success in making sustainable design and operations an industry priority.
SERF’s process is structured to eliminate the necessity of using third party consultants such as commissioning agents and building energy simulation consultants for the purpose of documentation. Additionally, SERF requires minimal documentation for the entire process.
SERF takes a holistic approach to sustainability and incorporates 18 areas in our evaluation, including lighting, HVAC, water use, recycling, landscaping, green cleaning and air quality.
Depending on the needs and history of the facility, SERF allows either a prescriptive or performance based path to certification. The sustainability benchmarks used in the process are a smart blend of proprietary standards resulting from SERF’s own research, third party standards such as ASHRAE, ANSI, BIFMA, USDA, as well as industry-specific standards. Further, by the use of SERF’s dynamic scoring system eliminates requirements which are impractical or cost prohibitive to implement, especially in the case of existing facilities. Examples include bike racks for facilities located by freeways, implementing high embodied energy actions such as tearing up entire parking lots to replace with permeable pavement etc.
SERF also will work with building owners and facility managers who seek certification but don’t find that their facilities neatly fit within one of these categories. Contact us to talk about your situation.