- The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool has been updated to factor in the costs and benefits of waste management for the first time, as reported by Waste 360.
- Previously users could track energy, water and greenhouse gas data. Now they can also measure 29 types of waste including building materials, plastic, glass, paper and refuse.
- The tool is used by more than 450,000 commercial buildings in the U.S. — 45% of the country's commercial space — and 10,000 buildings in Canada.
Like other EPA tools, this one has been around for many years but still isn't widely known. The addition of these new waste features was the result of a year-long collaboration between the agency's Energy Star and Sustainable Materials Management programs, along with industry representatives.
According to the EPA, commercial buildings and manufacturing operations make up about 45% of the 150 millions tons of waste that is sent to landfills or waste-to-energy facilities in the U.S. every year. As companies look for ways to become more sustainable it makes sense to get a better understanding of what their waste management operations cost from an environmental standpoint.
In addition to helping achieve environmental goals, making building operations more sustainable helps often saves money. A recent study found that the role of dedicated sustainability officers may be decreasing as these methods become more ingrained in corporate culture, which is a sign that this trend is likely to continue.