Sustainability Dashboard Tools, LLC is encouraging facility managers, cleaning professionals, and building users to institute a color-coding sustainability system to help reduce energy consumption. The system would identify which power sources at the end of the day, over weekends or when rooms are unoccupied can be turned off, left on, or reported to facility management for further action.
According to Stephen Ashkin, CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools LLC, color-coding systems have already proved their value and are used for a variety of building operation needs.
"There are color-coded microfiber clothes, mop heads, and floor pads, as well as 'specialist cleaning' systems that use color-coding. This is a similar concept, but it specifically addresses sustainability."
So how does it work? According to Ashkin, a red dot on a light switch or electrical device such as a projector, copier, printer or coffee pot should be turned off.
Similarly, a green dot could indicate that the outlet or device should always be left on even over nights and weekends. While a yellow dot could be applied to more sophisticated equipment such as computers to indicate that facility management should be contacted so they can determine the appropriate action.
"According to the National Energy Education Development Project [NEED], 60 percent of the electricity consumed in schools is used to operate lights, while 20 percent goes to 'plug loads' that power computers, copiers, printers, etc.," says Ashkin. "Whenever and wherever we can turn these [power sources] off, we can reduce energy consumption, environmental impacts and operating costs."
However, Ashkin notes, there is also a bigger idea behind sustainable color-coding systems.

"The goal is to help create a 'culture of sustainability' for everyone who uses a facility. Every time someone sees a [colored] dot on a power source, they will be reminded that their individual actions are important and make a difference, even if it is as simple as turning off a light in an unoccupied room."