Last week at the IREM/USGBC “Sustainable Operations of Buildings” workshop I shared the story of a Greek philosopher who, back in 500 BC, was credited with saying, “the only thing that is constant is change.”

I can certainly relate to “constant change” in my life, how about you? When I think about it, the metaphor of a journey comes to mind. Where there was a beginning, a present, and a path that I’m heading down where I can only see a short way into the distance – constant change with our families, relationships, career, even building portfolios.

Constant Change – Now that’s an oxymoron. You know a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction. Like “jumbo shrimp” – Really big small things. “Family vacation” – Sitting on a beach with your toes in the sand and drink in your hand without a care in the world – with your family. “Death benefits” – It’s difficult for most of us to put a positive spin on the end of life.

How about a couple of apparent oxymorons that are more relevant to “wasting less” in existing buildings? For example:

 Energy Independence
 Waste Management
 Sustainable Consumption

Embracing the reality of constant change means that we should never become too comfortable with the way things are. We should always strive to evolve, otherwise we will have change thrust upon us.

For those who are responsible for existing buildings, most of you know there are opportunities to reduce energy, and water, and the amount of un-recycled waste that comes from those properties, right? Do you subscribe to the philosophy that you can always do “a little bit better” to waste less in your buildings? If you do, then you can. However, if you don’t feel you can do even a little bit better, well then I guess you will be stuck with the status quo. Your journey is on hold until change is enviably thrust upon you.

Today I challenge you to embrace the reality of constant change and to begin or continue your journey toward wasting less in your buildings. I’m asking you to look back on where you’ve been by establishing utility baselines, assess where you are now through bench-marking, and to chart a course by setting goals on your expedition toward “wasting less” in your buildings in a more sustainable manner.