By Rachel Bourne, 2010 Climate Corps Fellow at Cummins, Inc., MBA candidate at Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Member of Net Impact, LEED AP
As a 2010 EDF Climate Corps fellow, my mission this summer was to create the business case for Cummins’ Global Building Policy, while reducing the company’s environmental impact. Cummins has made a voluntary commitment to reducing GHG emissions through the EPA’s Climate Leaders program. With energy efficiency teams already in place at many Cummins facilities, my job was to incorporate these efforts by creating building standards for future building projects.
As a consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to work with building standards and prototypes for several Fortune 500 clients, many with some of the most sophisticated building programs in the world. Working at Cummins, however, was my first venture into a company with more varied building types where I was given the opportunity to lead the strategic development of the Global Building Policy. Initially, I ran into a few questions:
- How do you create a standard for such a wide variety of building types and locations?
- When does a standard become too specific? Or too general?
- With so many stakeholders involved, who exactly is the audience?
- How do I best present a business case for such a broad program?
While these questions may sound simple, for a company like Cummins that is projecting growth and quickly sprouting new facilities, the answers are complex. Despite the benefits associated with sustainable building standards, ranging from consistent corporate branding to increased energy efficiency, the process of creating standards is challenging for any corporation, regardless of size. However, the majority of both the biggest challenges and opportunities tend to be consistent, regardless of the corporation or building type:
1. Consensus + Collaboration
How do we synthesize so many opinions and so much knowledge?
The process of creating a building requires careful collaboration of many minds, especially in a highly technical, manufacturing environment. Getting input and reaching agreements between executive leadership, functional experts, design professionals and end-users takes time and finesse. Additionally, between all those stakeholders there is a vast amount of knowledge that if leveraged correctly, will create high-quality standards.