Navigating from Green 2 Sustainable with the New Sustainability Dashboard


By Nancy Geisler, Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC, for Sustainable Life Media

It is well known by Sustainability Officers at large corporations that the metrics tools available today for generating sustainability reporting are poorly suited for use by non-manufacturing facilities and medium/smaller sized companies, many of whom may be among their customers and vendors. Those tools are very costly, highly complicated and generally more effective for reporting footprint than for managing it. In order for the Sustainability movement to enjoy widespread success, tools for all types and sizes of facilities that drive 1) efficiency improvements and 2) cost effective conversion to green products are needed.

Data from LEED-certified buildings show us the extraordinary value of effectively tracking and managing facility costs.  An average non-LEED building operates with about double the energy cost, 1.7 times the water cost and 3.3 times the waste cost of the average LEED-certified building. What is a non-LEED building – a warehouse, hospital, airport, school, etc. – to do?  Without a low-cost, easy-to-use sustainability dashboard tool they operate in a sea of spreadsheets, spending as much time on analysis as implementing solutions.

“Any person tasked with integrating sustainable practices in their facilities will love the Sustainability Dashboard because it will make their life easier while improving the bottom line,” said Steve Ashkin, CEO, Sustainability Dashboard Tools LLC, a long-time, green-building expert and creator of the new tool. “For organizations small and large this is a huge time and cost saver. All organizations need practical, easy-to-use and affordable resources to adapt sustainability in ways that validate their environmental and business efforts.”

Save money while saving the environment with the Sustainability Dashboard Tool. Find out more at (Image source: Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC)

The Sustainability Dashboard Tool is an advanced reporting system that increases in value as one continue to use the system. The Dashboard displays an interactive, aggregate view of one’s data (see attached) and allows for tracking levels of resource consumption and the associated costs against targets that have been determine in the context of the specific business vision.  Owners, principals, managers and others can easily track measurements in one, or as many as hundreds or thousands of buildings, including resource consumption, associated costs against targets and greenhouse gas emissions. The Dashboard makes it simple to compare multiple facilities. Managers can better see opportunities for significant improvements, usage reductions and cost savings.  Based on the same global reporting requirements used by large multinational organizations, the tool is cost-effective and makes reporting easy.

The Sustainability Dashboard tracks up to six categories including: energy, waste/recycling, water, transportation, consumables (such as office supplies) and cleaning products.  The first four metrics enable the facility to reduce their resource footprint and cost.  The latter two enable the conversion to green products – office supplies, durable goods, lamps & lighting systems, and cleaning systems – cost neutral or better. The tool offers improvement tips to help get the effort in each metric going.

“The Sustainability Dashboard does for sustainability what other web-based services have done for business functions such as human resources, sales management and accounting,” said Peter Ashkin, Chairman of the Sustainability Dashboard Tools LLC. He is the former President of Product Strategy for American Online (AOL). “Web-based services are the future because they require little or no investment in IT infrastructure or software maintenance.”

Brandywine Realty Trust, a real investment estate trust that owns, develops and manages a portfolio primarily of Class-A suburban and urban offices in seven states, is an early adopter of the Sustainability Dashboard. The company has an aggressive sustainability program with 16 major goals for resource use and cost reductions in 2011, including piloting the Sustainability Dashboard in 86 facilities as part of their Green Cleaning goal of using more than 70 percent sustainable products.

“The Dashboard will allow us to track our sustainable cleaning and supply activities across our entire portfolio as well as by individual building, cluster of buildings and regional levels,” said Brad A. Molotsky, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, LEED-Green Associate and a member of the company’s sustainability team, Brandywine Environments. “The tool will also give us greater visibility into how dollars are spent with our many suppliers and will help us more consistently measure and manage costs for our green-building initiatives.”

As well as Brandywine, based on a grant just approved from the Turner Foundation, Sustainability Dashboard will be piloted in 200 public schools in the state of Georgia over the next year.  In addition, performance- based contractors and their customers (various types of facilities, including office buildings, hospitals and airports) are currently using the Dashboard successfully to document cost savings on investments in green innovations.

Rating systems such as LEED, the Global Reporting Initiative and Energy Star inspired development of the Sustainability Dashboard. Yet it is not another rating system or certification program. The Dashboard’s primary aim it to help people effect change and become better managers by making data-driven decisions for their organization.

“Strategic goals for sustainability are too often set without the benefit of real data rolling up from the bottom of the organization,” said Steve Ashkin. “These goals can be either widely unattainable or set too low. Objectives that effect real change work best by engaging, educating and motivating all occupants, employees and facility visitors to act based on solid data. Effecting change is the real work of the Dashboard.”

The Sustainability Dashboard is an advance reporting system designed for everyone who is involved in sustainability programs. It is specifically designed to be easy to use, reduce environmental impacts and save money. For more information visit and sign up for a free demo.

Nancy C. Geisler is Executive Director of Business Development for Sustainability Dashboard LLC, a new venture offering easy-to-use, low cost sustainability management software. Nancy also serves as Acting Director of Stakeholder Relations for Sustainable Atlanta.

Nancy was formerly Vice President of Sustainability at Unisource Worldwide, Inc. a $5 billion multinational logistics and distribution company. During her tenure, Unisource was recognized by Supply and Demand Chain Executive Magazine as a Green Supply Chain (2010), by Forest Ethics in their Green Grades reports (2009, 2010) and as a significant contributor to the Healthy Schools Campaign (2008, 2009).