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Old 05-26-2009   #1
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 88
Green practices in the workplace

What do green practices in the workplace mean to you?

I am writing a white paper and I need help from my boating friends. I am conducting a green policies and practices in the workforce from the employee perspective. It will only take a couple of minutes and is completely anonymous.

Thanks Mountain Buzz family!

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Old 06-14-2009   #2
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1
No styrofoam coffee cups! Recycle office paper!

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Old 06-15-2009   #3
Stoner, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 93
It depends a lot on your line of work. I am in the process of updating our practices right now. There are many obvious ones: pre-cycling (reduce plastic and styrofoam throw-aways), recycling, turning off computers at night, CFL bulbs or LED, etc. Look at the life cycle of products too. I just found these (The Naked Binder) binders that are suppose to bend 50,000 times before wearing out and you can recycle 100% of them. Four day work weeks or telecommuting reduce carbon footprints and boost morale.
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Old 06-15-2009   #4
Mr Beaver's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 188
I know when I started at my office, we didn't recycle anything. And this is an Engineering Firm, we generate lots of waste paper that should have been recycled. Plus the beer and soda cans and bottles.

The main issue was that even at 33 years old, I was by far "the young guy" other than our receptionist -I was the youngest person.

We have since rectified the problem, but it was really just about education. I mean if no one tells you to recycle all that nice white paper I guess you won't. And we got a few new garbage cans and turned them into plastic/glass recycling bins for the Break Room. Then we had to just get the custodian to not toss all our hard work into the dumpster.
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Old 06-15-2009   #5
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,911
Save $50K/year by labeling the light switches...

There's lots that can be done by recycling and that kind of thing. Other practices go much deeper into the energy and waste reductions. Use of green building (and retrofit) practices can cut many operating costs significantly, increase workplace productivity, and decrease absenteeism among staff. Considering that building costs are much less than staff, increasing productivity also gives a substantial payback on the investments for improving work conditions by implementing green practices such as improving daylight, improving ventilation and bringing in more fresh air, etc.

Check out the Rocky Mountain Institute at

Go to the publications section and then to the "buildings and land" link. You'll find plenty there for a paper.

Another really good resource is the Stanford School of Business Lecture Series, here in video:

Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute covers energy efficiency implications in general, then discusses putting efficiency to work in transportation, industry, and buildings. Its all the workplace and where most of our society's energy is used.

Or here for podcast download:
Social Innovation Conversations | Energy Efficiency (Free Podcast)

The lecture on "Business Solutions to Climate Change" is also very worthwhile. Here's the link to the podcast:

For the podcasts, right-click "Download" and then save to your machine.

You can check out integrated design as well. Please send me a copy of your paper when you're done and could review if you'd like.

Oh yeah - The "save $50K/year by labeling the light switches" is a reference to an energy efficiency project where they just labeled the light switches in a large office building so the last employee to leave a room wasn't afraid to turn off the lights for fear of switching off something important. Not a bad payback for sending the maintenance guy around with a label maker for a week. Duuuhhh....


PS - I just noticed this is my 1000th post - If I'm going to be an internet geek I'm glad to have this as my milestone topic. Consider that using technology from the 1980s we could save 75% of the energy we use with no decrease in our quality of life.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 06-18-2009   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,239
Great post Andy and thread in general.Like Lovins a lot.Too bad we can't /won't pursue more of Fuller's principles of design to radically decrease the amount of materials used to achieve the same purposes,conflicts with our economic model of consumption for the sake of consumption =growth.It's not all geodesic domes ,I'll see if I can get Paddily Fluids to post a picture of his model of an archology based on tetrahedron pods.
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Old 06-18-2009   #7
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 2,239
it's arcology google it or ARCOSANTI THEORY or Paolo Solieri
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Old 06-24-2009   #8
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
I work at home, in a house built in 1984, and we've reduced our energy consumption by 60%. Major elements: demand water heater, radiant workspace heat, double windows, compact fluorescent bulbs, and constant attention to detail.

None of this is difficult or even a serious challenge. If you've set up camps on river trips, you have the skills.
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Old 06-24-2009   #9
Swank's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 251
I work for Denver Area School district that uses hundreds of thousands of foam lunch trays a week. Oh wait you were looking for green practices. Sorry I'm not much help but the lunch tray thing drives me up the wall thinking about it.
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Old 06-25-2009   #10
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 296
I think we all want to save $$. Sometimes just the little things help out, turn appliances off when not in use, home up grades, water heaters, AC units ect, ect.

I have also tried the wind application, a wind turbine, windmill. Not too sure about the cost ratio, per KWH at this point. (this is new to me).
When I am not at the cabin, I am giving back to the supplier, that's nice. Really, I think it will be 5-7 yrs. to pay for the system. (Skystream.) but it dose feel like I am doing something.
Thet do make 500-800-1,000w/ units that require batteries and an inverter, this can supply lights at night around the home, workspace or whatever.
Everone know the wind farm market is ramping up, just at this point the expense is high compared to our carbon friend, that has been tested over the years.
If anyone else is using this method, smaller/larger scale, let me know, I would welcome the advise!...

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