October 2014

SportsTurf provides current, practical and technical content on issues relevant to sports turf managers, including facilities managers. Most readers are athletic field managers from the professional level through parks and recreation, universities.

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22 SportsTurf | October 2014 Facility & Operations | By Kevin Mercer, LICM, CSFM T he question I get asked often is, Does going green with an Environmental Management System (EMS), is does is save money in the short or long-term? This is a loaded question and one that needs to looked at by an environmental committee within your organization; first to determine if cost savings can be made and ultimately, if you should get started on an EMS. The first thing the committee will do with an EMS proposal is conduct a benefits analysis and return on investments (ROI) analysis from practices. A few exam- ples of areas that will need analyzing before determining budgetary implications of an EMS is the practice of reducing greenhouse gasses, recycling and storm water runoff. There is a chance these areas in particular could cost your operation budgets 25%-50% more per year. The term I use for these possibilities is called unintended financial consequences (UFC). So, how can you formulate an EMS plan that works for you and is cost effective for your budget? You might already have an environmental committee in place within your organization, but if not, it might be a great time to form one. With all the pressures of today to do more with less and the community pressures of being more sustainable, a committee will be able to bring together ideas and initia- tives that build the buy-in from your senior administration and stakeholders. You can really call your "green team" anything you wish, but it's commonly known has a sus- tainability committee, or an environmental committee. The next thing is who should be on the committee? To have a dynamic and functional committee, there needs to be folks on the committee that can make sound deci- sions for the direction your complex wants to go environmentally while taking into account master planning or a direction of goals that your facility is working toward. The folks that make these decisions for this process are typically your stakeholders. The next person at the table should be your financial person; he or she can help aid in the process of offering cost analyses for sus- tainability investments with an ROI, but this won't work unless the team has the right technical areas represented to provide the Does going Green save you Green? Editor's note: The author dedicates this article to Kevin Trotta, who has paved the way for him and many other sport turf managers in envi- ronmental stewardship. Kevin was taking responsibility for his own actions and leading the way for the past 20 years, long before most of us ever heard of the environmental issues we are facing today. A bermudagrass field the author sprayed at St Mary's College of Maryland with Revolver herbicide to take out the ryegrass for winter play; it also controls other grassy weeds and can reduce the amount of product you apply. Above Left: An example of a naturalize area out of playing area. Above right: Spraying an iron-based, environmen- tally friendly herbicide on the main campus lawn at Vassar.

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