Environment, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation: Systems Efficiency Strategies for Industrial and Commercial Facilities

17 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by Andrea Larson

Andrea Larson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Chris Lotspeich

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

Many managers are unaware of the strategic advantages and cost savings possible through systems analysis applied to material, energy, and water use in building design and operation. This technical note provides whole-systems strategies for improving resource efficiency in industrial and commercial buildings. Green building, sustainability, environmental concerns, and resource efficiency are among the topics covered. Systems thinking and integrated, multidisciplinary methods are explained that can stimulate innovation in both the equipment (technical) systems that make up facilities, as well as the human (organizational) systems involved in the design-build-operate process. Identifying and using key leverage points and systemic synergies can dramatically increase the performance of buildings and the groups of people who make and run them. In practice those approaches have saved money, reduced environmental impacts, improved worker health and productivity, attracted new employees, and greatly decreased operating costs, while adding little or nothing to initial costs, and in some cases have even decreased capital costs.

Excerpt

UVA-ENT-0052

ENVIRONMENT, ENTREPRENEURSHIP, AND INNOVATION:SYSTEMS EFFICIENCY STRATEGIES

FOR INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL FACILITIES

Many managers are unaware of the strategic advantages and cost savings possible through systems analysis applied to material, energy, and water use in building design and operation. This technical note provides whole-systems strategies for improving resource efficiency in industrial and commercial buildings. Systems thinking and integrated, multidisciplinary methods are explained that can stimulate innovation in both the equipment (technical) systems that make up facilities, as well as the human (organizational) systems involved in the design-build-operate process. Identifying and using key leverage points and systemic synergies can dramatically increase the performance of buildings and the groups of people who make and run them. In practice those approaches have saved money, reduced environmental impacts, improved worker health and productivity, attracted new employees, and greatly decreased operating costs, while adding little or nothing to initial costs, and in cases have even decreased capital costs.

Resource Efficiency: Doing More With Less

Resource efficiency (also called “resource productivity” and “eco-efficiency”) provides cost saving methods for reducing a company's environmental and health impacts. Businesses consume resources to deliver goods and services and to create socioeconomic benefits. Primary resource inputs are materials, water, and energy. Their use directly links industrial activity to the earth through extraction, pollution, and waste generation. (Labor, money, and time are also economic inputs, although environmental and health impacts associated with their use are generally more indirect, and we will focus here on physical and energy resource use.) In any firm that manages for maximum efficiency, the life-cycle resource intensity and environmental “footprint” of a given product or company is evaluated across the supply chain, from the natural resource base through manufacturing and use to ultimate disposal or recycling.

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Keywords: innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainable business, environment, environmental issues, eco-efficiency, systems, systems analysis, systems dynamics, systems innovation

Suggested Citation

Larson, Andrea and Lotspeich, Chris, Environment, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation: Systems Efficiency Strategies for Industrial and Commercial Facilities. Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0052. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=909030

Andrea Larson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/larson.htm

Chris Lotspeich

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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