After construction, there's still work to be done.
Naturally, there are walk-throughs to confirm that the final "punch lists" of things needing to be done have been successfully completed so that final checks can be written.
Happily, a lot of the post-construction work is celebrating your finished project. This can include a dedication ceremony for the entire project, as well as multiple gatherings for dedication of named spaces (which might include the unveiling of plaques, etc.). It can also include inviting local or regional media to cover the project. It certainly ought to include a final "report" to your own community (again, this can be through a segment of your newsletter or as a stand alone publication), filled with photographs and lists of those who've provided support and leadership. Remember, how you thank people is, in the end, even more important than how you ask them. And it establishes a culture of respect and recognition within your community that sets the stage for future successful fundraising. This is especially true for a green building, when what you are celebratory is the fulfillment of what was for many in your community a bold leap of faith.
We have seen a number of religious institutions create special signage that highlights the various green aspects of their new building. For example, when Temple Mkor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ dedicated their new education wing, they posted signs around the new facility highlighting its green features. Click here to see one of these signs. (attach Mkor Shalom sign)
You've invested money, time and care in your new facility. Now is the time to plan for its proper upkeep. To do this, make sure the structures of responsibility are in place, clear and accountable. Create a manual with clear information on the proper operation of your green building's systems and the timing and nature of its proper maintenance. If you are in any doubt about what these are, now is the time to consult with the vendors of such systems. Make sure such information is documented, and make sure that several members of your institution understand it. Train your in-house staff or outside cleaning or maintenance firms; increase their sense of pride in your green building by sharing with them its various features and benefits. Publicize the work they do to keep your facility running as “greenly” as possible.
We also encourage you to use environmentally preferable products and supplies in operating your facility. For example, we suggest that you use recycled content paper, organize an effective recycling program, use green cleaning products, and take other steps to operate your building in a green manner. See GreenFaith’s website for more information on this (link to www.greenfaith.org).
Though a significant portion of your maintenance may be handled professionally, we recommend that you educate your entire community about what’s involved in maintaining your new green building. A building with many "owners" stays greener longer.
We offer four case studies of religious institutions that have undertaken green building projects--from churches, to convents, to schools. Visit our Conversations with Those Who've Built in Good Faith to read of their experiences…the best, the worst, the most challenging, the most gratifying…and their advice for you.