Tag Archives: green solutions

Walking to Work

Greenway Health Goes Green In July

Most people would think you were crazy if you walked to work in Arizona’s July heat.  But at Greenway Health, that shows a commitment to the company’s green efforts.

Some employees at Greenway Health are so committed to the July “Greenway Goes Green” month that they’re braving the scorching summer temperatures to bike and walk to work.

About five employees are using transportation other than a car, including bicycles and the bus, while other employees are carpooling to work.

These aren’t the only green choices Greenway Health employees are making. They are also bringing reusable water bottles to work, using desk lamps instead of overhead lighting, recycling and using “treeless” paper.  The company is offering incentives to employees who make eco-friendly lifestyle changes.

The company decided to go green to show “employees the benefits and ease of going green,” says Mike McKenzy, of Greenway Health, a direct marketing health and nutrition company.

McKenzy says the young staff, most of the employees are in their mid-20s to early 30s, wasn’t well versed in green solutions.  Company officials wanted to show the employees easy, cost-effective ways to help conserve and preserve.

But, they are “amazed by what little things, if adopted by large numbers of people, can do,” McKenzy says.

The feedback has been great and McKenzy hopes the employees won’t ditch their new habits once July is over.  He says the chances of the green efforts continuing year round are pretty good.  When the company initiates programs like this one, “it sticks,” he says.

Greenway Health’s employees set an example for everyone. Just a little change can make a difference.

Green Building - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010

Green Building Is A Smart Business Solution

Green building is inevitably a smart business solution.

When it comes to the bottom line, companies that want to be in the black — go green. As building owners, developers, brokers and designers, the industry is trying to re-define how they do business to stay in business, and it is vital that these efforts align with the paradigm toward green building.

Existing assets — empty buildings, existing properties with leases expiring, etc. — may be the most marketable commodity right now. Building owners should look at new ways to use this economic downturn as an opportunity, and not a road block. By incorporating four simple measures, owners and developers can reposition their real estate assets to be more marketable — a concept better known as real estate asset positioning (REAP).

GOING GREEN – GREEN BUILDING

Invest in sustainable strategies. A building that can call itself “green” is much more marketable than one that lacks environmentally conscious attributes. Leading organizations are demanding green designs, while employees increasingly view sustainability as a corporate responsibility. In fact, a Harris Poll found that 33 percent of Americans would be more inclined to work for a green company, than one that did not make a conscious effort to promote sustainable practices.

Daylighting, shading, varied glass types and occupancy sensors are just a few strategies that have demonstrated a quantifiable Return On Investment (ROI), and are proven to benefit occupant health and well-being. Furthermore, increased building value and elevated rents often have been cited as benefits of green buildings, according to Turner’s 2008 Green Building Market Barometer. Going “green” is a great way for building owners to leverage their assets for strategic market repositioning.

ENERGY REDUCTION

Incorporate measures to reduce consumption by investing in sustainable strategies that are efficient in their use of water, energy and other resources. Examples include using low-flow plumbing fixtures, high-efficiency lighting and air quality monitoring.
Out of 754 commercial real estate executives surveyed, Turner’s report found:

  • 84 percent of respondents cited lower energy costs in green buildings
  • 68 percent noted overall operating cost savings
  • 72 percent say green creates higher building values

Sundt Construction, currently in the process of realizing a lab building for an Arizona university, conducted energy consumption metrics showing the cost to provide occupancy sensors for a 294,000-square-foot building would be $15,598. The owner’s savings for the first year were estimated at $29,905 — a noticeably fast payback on an initial investment.

Building owners and some tenants also may receive tax deductions of up to $1.80 per square foot if they install energy-efficient interior lighting; upgrade the building envelope; and install heating, cooling, ventilation and/or hot water systems to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent, in comparison to meeting minimum ASHRAE 90.1 requirements.

MARKET DRIVEN

Focus on looks and extras. When it comes to attracting the best tenants in today’s real estate market, there has never been a more prudent time to assess an existing building’s worth.

Upgrading and retrofitting 40-, 20- and even 10–year-old buildings during this economic downturn can result in significant cost savings, as the current market experiences up to a 30 percent drop in construction costs.

New lobbies and entries, updated restrooms and elevators will attract potential tenants and retain existing ones, who may be considering relocation. Providing additional amenities to elevate an existing building to Class A office space provides the competitive edge necessary to exist in the new, highly competitive marketplace.

In addition, envelope and exterior skin upgrades from Low-E insulated glazing units to new, longer lasting and maintenance-free, environmentally friendly materials will enhance the building’s appearance, as well as its internal support systems.

By incorporating aesthetic upgrades and modernizations to reposition assets, a building’s life can be extended well beyond its initial years.

ADAPTIVE REUSE

Innovate. It’s easy to envision an existing historic structure retrofitted into a modern, trendy boutique hotel. However, it takes a creative mind to realize that a brand new, empty, speculative high-rise office building has that same potential.

The real estate is there — it’s a matter of incorporating flexibility into the process of assessing the market’s changing demand. Introducing a new function or use into an existing asset, based on what the market is saying, is a cost-effective way to extend the longevity of a building and exceed the ROI on existing real estate.

What better way to “go green” than to recycle and re-use an existing building?
As asset repositioning — or REAP — continues to catch on, the value of revitalizing existing buildings is becoming paramount to how the economy will affect the design and construction industry in Arizona for the next 10 to 20 years. Understanding the market demand and how it affects an existing asset is the first step. Secondly, developing an analysis of the property may be the most viable way to determine its future potential — whether it makes sense to update, retrofit or green-up, the possibilities are infinite.

This is not a new practice, just a smart one that will provide ongoing opportunity for those willing to take the plunge and invest in what already exists. Let’s REAP the benefits together!

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Martha Abbott is an architectural senior project manager for the Workplace Studio of SmithGroup’s Phoenix office, with 20 years of experience.

www.smithgroup.com

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AZRE Magazine July/August 2010

Green Advisers on a Mission

Green Advisers On A Mission

Name an industry and you’ll find a consultant — investment, finance, marketing, and so forth.

You can add eco-consulting to that list.

After reading an interesting article from the New York Times about eco-consulting, I was curious to see exactly what this new type of profession would encompass.

Is it a passing phase or a legitimate way to better educate citizens about how to live a greener life? To find out more, I contacted Valley eco-consultant Linda Benson. She trained to become an eco-consultant with Green Irene, a company founded by a husband-and-wife team that now trains consultants throughout the country.

After contacting Green Irene for additional information, I received an e-mail from Jessica Clark, marketing manager at Green Irene, who supplied me with the following statement:
“Green Irene is on a mission to ‘Green Our World, One Home And Office At a Time.’ Green Irene trains independent, authorized distributors of Green Irene consulting services and recommended green home and office products. Through these services, eco-consultants assist neighbors, family, employees and coworkers implement proven green solutions in their homes and small businesses, and starts them on the path to a healthier, safer and more sustainable lifestyle.
As of July 2009, Green Irene has more than 425 eco-consultants in 45 states offering Green Home Makeovers, Green Office Makeovers, GO GREEN Workshops and many of the best green home and office products available.”

Guess this isn’t a phase after all.

Benson has been in the interior design industry for three years and her specialty is green, sustainable and universal design, so becoming an eco-consultant was a “good fit.”

She goes on to explain various initiatives offered by Green Irene, including but not limited to, green makeovers as well as “actual blueprints for converting your living, home products and just the way you carry out life on a daily basis in a green and sustainable manner.”

“I enjoy the challenge of re-using and re-engineering furniture and soft goods (bedding, window treatments) from items my clients already have,” Benson adds “I also love educating them on how to save money by making small changes to their lifestyle, such as changing light bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) in a main living space, and using proper window treatments to hold down the energy loss in a room, just to name a few things.”

green consultingThis sounds like a great idea for people who are trying to make a positive change to better the environment and aren’t really sure how to begin. As Benson points, out the changes don’t have to be costly, and customers can start small and work their way up to more significant changes. The consultations can be done for private residents as well as commercial companies.

Benson has a positive outlook on the future of eco-consulting, not only locally, but also globally.

“I see eco-consulting encouraging people to save on resources, giving motivation to explore new design modes and methods, pushing people to think outside of the box, helping people who spend hard-earned money to use it more efficiently and to encourage saving,” she says. “I see eco-consulting bringing people to the outdoor style of living again by cooking more during the pleasant sunny days. I even see eco-consulting prompting healthy eating and encouraging more community activities again!”

www.greenirene.com