Next week, Americans across the country will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the country’s most effective conservation laws, the Wilderness Act. Signed by President Johnson on September 3, 1964, the Act was a h
Though everyone had a great time, this was no ordinary afternoon at AT&T Park.
Five Ways to Bring Nature to Work
Research proves it again and again: access to outdoor views, fresh air and plants improves employee well-being. Integrating natural elements into the workplace isn’t simply an aesthetic move – it has monetary payoffs too. In one call center in California, for example, employees with views of the outdoors handled 6-7% more calls than those without those views. Contact with nature also reduces absenteeism and improves employee productivity and retention.
Humans affinity for the natural world, known as biophilia, has been overlooked in building design until recently. Now hospitals, schools and workplaces around the world are beginning to incorporate natural elements into their design and seeing happier tenants as a result. Want to champion biophilia in your office? Here are some changes your workplace can make.
Bring in plants. Adding plants to the workplace is a great way to filter indoor air pollution, reduce stress, and muffle noise. You can go as simple as potted plants for employee desks all the way up to beautiful living walls. Some companies like Ambius and Good Earth Plants will maintain your office vegetation on a regular basis too.
Install a green roof. If employees’ windows face an empty interior roof, why not install a green roof to enliven the space? Green roofs also save building energy costs and keep runoff from overloading our sewer systems. Many EarthShare members have installed green roofs, including the beautiful courtyard providing employees at the World Resources Institute a green respite from the urban environment of downtown Washington, DC.
Daylight the workspace. When Ford Motor Company redesigned its Rouge River assembly plant near Detroit, MI, it installed 46 skylights, the largest of which were 3000 square feet each. Ford didn’t just want to save money on lighting costs (which it did). The natural light also reduces eyestrain for people working on the assembly line and improves mood. Can’t install skylights? Consider rearranging the layout of your office to maximize window space. That’s just what the Sacramento Municipal Utility District Call Center did.
Circulate fresh air. Believe it or not, just sitting at your desk exposes you to some pretty nasty pollutants. It’s not uncommon to find things like formaldehyde, radon, mold, solvents, volatile organic compounds, lead dust, and pesticides floating inside homes and workplaces. While its best to choose products that avoid pollutants in the first place, proper ventilation can also keep the air clean. The US Green Building Council’s LEED program requires a minimum level of outdoor air enter its certified buildings. Smart ventilation can also cut down on air conditioning, even in a hot place like Mexico!
Mimic or include natural shapes, colors and materials. Nature doesn’t resemble a box, but that’s what most of our buildings look like. Varying textures (soft and hard) and ceiling heights can create a more welcoming space for occupants. Wood, water, and stone can be incorporated into design and furniture. Just make sure your materials are sustainably sourced or recycled.
Want to learn more about biophilia in the workplace? Check out these resources:
Featured locations, Biophilic Design
Economics of Biophilia – Is Your Commercial Office Space up to Snuff, IDO Incorporated
This blog title is the title of a blog from Singlehop that I was sent to check out. Thanks Lisa & Shannon! Now to figure out what this means…. ‘How Green is Your Tech?’.
First you could think.. ‘How Green am I?’ You might think I recycle paper, cans and plastic. I watch my paper usage. I use LED lights at home, and my workplace does the same. Things along these lines. Those are great 1 Things to do and continue to do. But there are ‘Green Things’ you can do that go beyond using reusable bags, that are just as easy to do. This is where the ‘How Green is Your Tech?’ comes into play. How we use email, social media and digital data storage affects your carbon footprint. I’ve never thought of that since it’s paper free, so it seems totally ‘Green’. Granted it’s way more Mama Earth Friendly than the paper alternatives, but there are still ways our carbon footprint can be decreased w/ everyday digital use whether it’s for work or play.
Here are a few things to think about from Singlehop from their blog/website:
*As a technology company offering public and private cloud hosting services, we wanted to focus on some of the ways that everyday technology consumption like email, social media, and data storage affects your carbon footprint.
According to Mike Berners-Lee — professional carbon-emissions consultant and brother of the guy who invented the World Wide Web, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about — every time you send an email into the ether(net), you’re using up 4 grams of carbon. And that’s if you don’t add any attachments.- 1 year of email = 300lbs of CO2
Each year the average person emails an amount of carbon equal to the exhaust of a 200-mile car ride. Looked at from a different angle, all the emails sent scurrying around the Internet in a single day generate more than 880 million lbs. (that’s 44,000 tons!) of carbon per day.
If you cut down on the number of emails going through a server to others, you cut down on the carbon foot print.
Singlehop Email Tips:
– Stop hitting auto reply for multiple emails going out to many, if it doesn’t need to involve all.
– Learn to search- You think you received an email with information on it. Instead of emailing to ask for it again. Look for it yourself in your emails.
– Don’t spam- Just because you can email anyone, doesn’t mean you should.
– Unsubscribe– Getting emails on subjects you never worry about or look into, unsubscribe to stop those emails from coming to you.
– Start a Conversation– Rather than numerous emails back and forth w/ someone who is just right down the hall from you. Talk to them face to face. This will save on your carbon footprint stopping the emails, plus get you away from the computer, which is good exercise that does the body good. It also improves face-to-face communication skills, which is lacking w/ so many emails/ texts going out as main communication in many cases, especially at work.
These are just some of the things you can do to cut down your carbon footprint when it comes to your tech. Social media and more come into play too! Get more Singlehop 411 here!
This means no more emails to end long winded email conversations. I’m guilty of that one. Cut down my out going emails, and drop any incoming emails of subject matters that are of no interest to me. I’m doing (more than) 1 Thing, and it took nothing. I just ‘Didn’t Hit Send!’….
Stanton was sworn in as the first African-American director of the NPS in 1997, but his path to that lofty perch was not an easy one.
The world’s existing power plants are locking in more than 300 billion tons of future emissions that aren’t being accounted for, a new study says.