IFMA Releases Climate Change Report For Facility Managers

IFMA’s “Climate Change Fundamentals for Facility Management Professionals,” is the first report to address climate change as it relates to facility management roles and responsibilities.

IFMA’s FM Research and Benchmarking Institute (RBI) has released “Climate Change Fundamentals for Facility Management Professionals,” the first report to address climate change as it relates to facility management roles and responsibilities. The report was published in partnership with IFMA’s Environmental Stewardship, Utilities and Sustainability Community (ESUS) and sponsored by BGIS.

IFMA climate change report
(Photo: Getty Images)

Free to download through IFMA’s Knowledge Library, the report summarizes more than 3,000 pages of dense scientific evidence into 30 intelligible pages of explanation and guidance, enabling facility managers to discuss, advise and plan for safeguarding life and property from extreme environmental threats.

Last year, two major reports were made public: “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5°C” (Oct. 2018), and “U.S. Global Change Research Program: Fourth National Climate Assessment” (Nov. 2018). These seminal reports offer compelling evidence on the detrimental effects of climate change, revealing a limited time frame for reversing the trend of damaging carbon emissions.

“The science behind climate change is complex. It’s unreasonable to expect facility managers to not only digest these comprehensive research reports, but also develop climate-based action plans for their facilities and communities,” said Dean Stanberry, CFM, LEED AP O+M, Chair of IFMA’s ESUS Community. “This report is intended to provide FMs with meaningful insight into the impact of climate change on their roles as stewards of the built environment, as well as guidance on adapting to climate change within their regions.”

The new report was authored by Kathy Roper, CFM, MCR, LEED AP, IFMA Fellow. As a retired Professor of Facility Management at Georgia Tech and a former IFMA chair, Roper was uniquely qualified for the task.

“Climate change is an increasing threat to the facilities we manage. It’s vital that we understand how it can affect our properties, how to perform risk assessments and develop plans for resilience,” said Roper. “Climate change concerns almost every aspect of the built environment. We can’t allow it to catch us off guard.”

The report covers:

  • A layman’s explanation of the science behind climate change.
  • How the contribution of human activity to climate change is identified and measured.
  • Projected impacts of climate change that affect the survival of humanity, including clean water; breathable air; agriculture, domestic and wildlife animal survival; livable temperatures; weather patterns and rising sea levels.
  • How industrial and commercial structures contribute to climate change.
  • Direct and indirect effects of commercial construction on a building’s carbon footprint.

A follow-up report will be released in March or April of 2020. “Adapting to Climate Change” will provide facility management professionals with tools and resources to perform risk assessments and develop plans for resilience. Specific risk scenarios will help facility managers build focused plans for varying realities, such as severe drought, flooding, or extreme temperatures.


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