Construction, Energy, GPRO

Gaining an Edge through Sustainable Operations

May 22, 2013 | By Matthew Rolnick | Make a Comment »

When you’re already one of the pioneers in building sustainability, how do you keep your edge? You use training to keep your staff engaged in the strategies and work practices that make buildings green. That’s exactly what Vornado, one of the largest owners and managers of commercial real estate in the U.S., has chosen to do.

Vornado is part of a growing group of real estate owner/operators who fully understand the positive impacts of sustainable operations on the bottom line. They have 30 million square feet of LEED-certified space and 25 million square feet with the ENERGY STAR label. They have structured their sustainability department to be a core part of their operations, managing all utility and energy efficiency spending, but they are not resting on their laurels.

In years past, Vornado ensured that managers were trained on the ins and outs of LEED and operating staff earned BOC (Building Operator Certification), but this time around, they wanted something broader to get management and operations speaking the same language.

GPRO proved to be the perfect solution and complemented what they had already learned from the LEED and BOC classes. GPRO goes beyond the required LEED checklist approach and explains WHY different elements of sustainabilityare important and what building managers and operators should be doing in their buildings.

Vornado partnered with Urban Green and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 94 to train their staff.  Vornado arranged time for the chief and assistant chief engineers to attend dedicated daytime GPRO classes at the union training facility and provided training space for the managers’ and assistant managers’ courses.

“GPRO is such a great course because it provides a whole new way for the chief engineers to look at—and be excited about— their work,” noted IUOE Local 94 training director Howard Styles.

Before classes began Urban Green worked with Vornado and Local 94 to ensure that the customized portion of the classes was the same for both groups – facilitating a common vocabulary throughout the organization.

The courses were well received and Vornado is already using some of what they found during the training to improve their work practices.

“We were thrilled to offer GPRO to Vornado staff.  Working with the GPRO team made everything so easy, even down to the logistics of getting the instructors and books. The curriculum was great – very comprehensive and engaging,” said Sukayna Paciorek, Vornado’s vice president of corporate sustainability.

GPRO was created to help organizations bridge the “green gap” between conventional practices which are still deployed at even the most forward-thinking organizations and green practices that will reduce operational costs, increase building value, improve occupancy and rental rates and create healthier indoor environments.

To learn more about how GPRO can help your organization, contact Matt Rolnick, GPRO Business Manager at

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