Integrative Design Process
The integrative design process understands that buildings, their components, and their context are interrelated. Whole building systems observe this principle by involving all stakeholders from project conception through delivery and beyond. Include all stakeholders in the design process to identify synergies that otherwise would go unnoticed to reduce the initial and operating costs and optimize the design for appearance, functionality, and resource efficiency. An integrated solid waste and materials management team can involve the occupant, facility manager, project manager, information technology professional, custodial and maintenance personnel, landscape architect, sustainability specialist, interior designer, and food service manager with a goal to reduce waste and conserve natural resources.
Project Managers are often acutely aware of scheduling needs and the need for additional construction and demolition waste removal, furniture, and e-waste excess associated with projects, many of which impact facility resources like loading docks and service elevators. The Project Manager plans for adequate space, waste collection equipment, and transport of waste by haulers. The Project Manager plays a vital role in tracking and enforcing waste diversion and recycling of construction and demolition waste.
Information Technology Personnel
The IT personnel play an important role in reducing paper waste by implementing processes that move the occupant work towards paperless. Even with the proliferation of paperless processes, printing paper still represents a significant percentage of the federal building waste stream. The IT personnel also play an important role in offering solutions for end of life disposition and recycling of an increasing amount of electronic waste, electronics accessories, and toner/ink cartridges, through sustainable IT commodities purchases and electronics stewardship policies.
Custodial and Maintenance Personnel
Custodial and maintenance personnel are responsible for collection of trash, recyclables, and compostable material from designated locations throughout the facility. In many facilities, coordinating waste hauling collection is the responsibility of the custodial contractor. The custodial and maintenance personnel can offer advice on how to maximize recycling in the building, identify solid waste and recycling program improvements, and implement cost-saving opportunities.
The landscape architect is responsible for advising on sustainable landscape design and maintenance, to minimize the amount of waste transported from the facility and to maximize the reuse of organic material onsite. The landscape architect provides strategies for low-maintenance plants and landscaping, such as xeriscaping, grasscycling, and mulching. These strategies reduce waste, water consumption, fertilizer and pesticide use, and save money.
The sustainability specialist advises on legal environmental requirements, as well as sustainability mandates and credit requirements for certification of sustainable projects. They sometimes serve as Recycling Coordinators and can help to identify recycling and composting vendors and markets for solid waste, as well as advise on cost-effective contract strategies for waste management services. They connect the team of stakeholders to pertinent organizational resources, programs, and personnel to develop a comprehensive building waste and recycling program.
Interior designers can help to design space to minimize the amount of waste that is generated from wear and tear of materials (e.g., carpet tiles); specify and select materials that can be disassembled, deconstructed, and recycled by the manufacturer or other recycling company; integrate waste management resources into overall design; and pair with communication plans to assist implementation. They serve as a liaison between the Facility Manager and occupants to infuse Solid Waste Management best practices into the design of new and retrofit projects.
Food Service Manager
The Food Service Manager advises on sustainable concessions contracts, consistent with federal sustainability and health and wellness guidance, and works with vendors to implement sustainable concessions programs. The Food Service Manager can identify several waste reduction opportunities, from the design to the operation of the cafeteria. They can require the cafeteria vendor to purchase bio-based and recyclable packaging, collect recyclable and compostable waste, and communicate the environmental benefits with the design and product choices in the cafeteria.
The Facility Manager, who sometimes serves the building’s Recycling Coordinator, is responsible for procuring solid waste and recycling services and managing the building’s solid waste and recycling program. Solid waste is generated through discrete projects, such as construction projects or tenant moves, and through everyday use of the facility. The Facility Manager aligns decisions about waste management services to lower operational, maintenance, and disposal costs, to increase custodial labor efficiencies, and to deliver a clean and healthy environment to the occupant.
The beneficiaries of and direct participants in a solid waste and recycling program are the building occupants, who should participate in the design and planning of the building’s waste management program. Occupant behavior plays a significant role in determining that waste reduction goals are met. A building’s recycling program should be easy to understand through basic information, signage, and other visual aids. Bringing the perspective of an occupant to the integrative design table ensures the recycling program is designed to meet occupant needs while advancing waste reduction goals.
Procurement professionals (or contracting officers) can help to support the team in meeting sustainability objectives when buying goods or services. They are responsible for including green contract language that is mandatory for federal buyers and that supports federal agency sustainability goals consistent with Executive Orders. For example, federal agencies and their contractors are required to give preferential consideration to biobased products under USDA’s BioPreferred Program, as well as purchase products with the highest recovered material content level practicable under the EPA’s Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines Program.