Finding Green in Our Projects

Mark Mullaly is president of Interthink Consulting Incorporated, an organizational development and change firm specializing in the creation of effective organizational project management solutions. Since 1990, it has worked with companies throughout North America to develop, enhance and implement effective project management tools, processes, structures and capabilities. Mark was most recently co-lead investigator of the Value of Project Management research project sponsored by PMI. You can read more of his writing at markmullaly.com.

A few years ago, the idea of project management becoming more “green” was a head-scratcher. What did this involve, exactly? Printing less? Using less paper? Reusing coffee cups until the glue gave way? In the intervening period, the idea of sustainability and “green” practices has undergone a renaissance of sorts. While it is not at the forefront of the radar for many (and, if we’re honest, probably most) organizations, discussion of the topic is no longer derided or considered a basis for dismissive humor when it comes up in the boardroom. We at the very least give it passing consideration before moving on to other things.

Where there is a particular emphasis on sustainability is with respect to infrastructure projects. Facility certification to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards has become an increasingly sought after goal, with many organizations targeting silver, gold and occasionally platinum certification for new facilities. The criteria are based upon reduction of environmental impacts and enhancement of human benefits, and address both the design of the building and the practices employed in its construction.

Adoption of LEED standards is typically framed as a means of reducing operating costs; the greater expense in designing and building sustainable facilities is offset by reduced energy consumption …

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