Green Buildings Start with Education, Vision and Materials Selection
Green Building Design/BuildGreen building starts with vision. Design is the stage of construction in which cost is managed. Building and construction materials offer a variety of opportunities to green a business.
Not only can minimalist design with open spaces be incorporated. But recycled and reclaimed materials can be specified. Material choices can be selected from renewable resources, and maintenance can be planned to minimize wear and tear -- thus extending the life of the facilities.
Green Building Facilities Management and ConstructionGreen OPPORTUNITIES abound in the facilities management and construction segment of your business. RESULTS are equally impactful: cost savings over the lifetime of the facility, healthier workspaces, lower cost to the environment...and the feeling of satisfaction that excellence in stewardship gives your team.
"Carpet doesn't wear out so much as it uglies out! People get sick of it," John Blue explains.
The focus at California's state level is to reduce dependence on disposal of waste materials. By requiring all new construction to be "green", the state is both reducing energy consumption and reducing landfill impact both today and in the future. When John Blue, sustainable building analyst for the CIWMB (California Interated Waste Management Board), was asked about carpet, he reported that carpet is 2% of landfill volume by weight.
Green Building Carpet Options
"Designers can meet any spec they want if they buy materials right. Some companies even take used carpet tile and trim it up, redie it -- and reuse it." John relayed that some of the green strategies for carpeting includes the "modular approach" -- which the state is also applying to their furniture design strategy. "Carpet tile is preferable to roll goods. It's slightly more expensive, but when accomodating modular office furniture, it's easier to work with. Damaged spots can be pulled up and replaced, vs. replacing the whole carpet. The trend is to use carpet tiles in offices and all office spaces except large meeting rooms and hallways."
SOURCE: California Statewide Waste Characteriaztion Study 2004
Sustainable Building with Green Materials
"Cost for green materials is still a hurdle, especially for consumers," says Shayna Prunier, home owner/remodeler by night and a SoCal building materials educator by day, "but increasing the volume of business applications can make green construction costs equal to conventional costs." Low volume of specialty items and lack of visibility of the options make it difficult to market high performance materials to consumers. But corporate environmental professionals, building managers and design professionals have access to consultants and field reps such as Shayna to educate them about green options.
More knowledge + more volume equals lower cost.
Developers Are Key to Green Building Vision for SocietyDevelopers are the key to "developing more than buildings -- they develop the vision" of a society. People accept what's available and they don't have easy access to alternative materials. Developers do. "And many of our California developers are a little slow to the green movement," she acknowledged. "They will make a real difference when they improve their green strategies!"
Implementing the vision requires practical knowledge...and the level of green knowledge varies by industry sector. Continuing education and professional guidelines make a difference in how informed building professionals are. If 10 represents "KNOWLEDGABLE ABOUT GREEN BUILDING", the following chart roughly represents levels of practical green knowledge a very limited survey of industry professionals found. (We'll work toward better survey results in the future.)
What's needed to get our building community up to a "TEN"?
KNOWLEDGE ABOUT GREEN OPTIONS"I'd love to see people educate themselves about real green options so they can sort out their options. I spend most of my time providing information about recycling, materials selection and certification systems," she explains.
Green materials are about high performance, health, and low impact on the environment. A wide range of factors fit in the equation that measures sustainability. A few include:
Coming on the heels of the failed attempt to locate the "GreenBuild 2007" in Los Angeles, there are rumblings about their fast growth and expansion. The LEED rating system is broadly acknowledged as the "gold standard" in the construction industry and has accomplished much in moving the construction industry forward with comprehensive standards and guidelines for materials and techniques that reduce energy consumption and minimize impact on the environment.
California Recycling Incentive Strategies for Building MaterialsBuilding Materials
Tipping fees are charged at landfills to provide revenue for recycling programs. $1.40 / ton of materials disposed goes into CIWMB's General Account to promote markets for recycled materials and cleanups of illegal dump sites. Grant programs use the fees to assist local community programs.
The government's role in greening communities is both one of setting standards and purchasing. With billions of dollars in green building slated for the Los Angeles area for the coming year, these libraries, schools, airport and administration buildings provide prototypes and case studies for the local (and even international) building communities. Whether the green technologies demonstrated are open design, photovoltaic solar installations, or use of recycled materials -- these examples of cutting edge green design spread the word about results, options and techniques.
But government leads by more than purchases. They also mandate buying standards and preferred environmental materials lists that affect the private sector's green playing field. When government departments have the opportunity to set standards of performance, but limit their impact to supporting current business relationships -- the result is that the wider field of manufacturers have little initiative to improve their product performance standards. Setting standards that any company can reach for is highly motivational and extends the market far beyond government projects.
The private sector provides both need and vision when we look at how some companies identify business processes and address them. DuPont was widely known as a chemical conglomerate with a history of pollution problems. This multi-national corporation provides a working case study in how even some of the worst polluters can change their philosophy of business and put determination and dollars behind efforts to change. According to a speech by Chad Holliday, Chairman and CEO, "DuPont is one of the few industrial companies in the world that defines its long term business objective in terms of sustainability… in the Financial Times annual CEO poll of 'Companies that best manage and effect environmental resources', we placed 11th." DuPont's first step, like most companies' was to address environmental waste and emissions. DuPont flatly declared that "The Goal Is '0' for all injuries, illnesses, incidents, waste and emissions.
"Today, many companies are beginning to report in the area of corporate social responsibility. However, our view is that openness and transparency are necessary but not sufficient. We believe the transformation of our businesses to ones that create significantly more value while using substantially less depletable resources will be critical to achieving a future world that is sustainable." (Read his speech at: Dupont.com
"However, our view is that openness and transparency are necessary but not sufficient." Chad Holliday, Chairman and CEO, DuPont
THE HEALTH FACTORS FOR CARPETINGIn recent years, consumers and facility managers have associated a variety of health symptoms with the installation of new carpet and other building materials. Definitive studies have not been idetified to determine whether the chemicals emitted by new carpets are responsible, but if you are installing new carpet, you may wish to take the following steps:
SOURCING MATERIALS WITH THIRD-PARTY CERTIFICATIONIt's a wild and wooly world out there for both green-conscious consumers and commercial buyers. With nearly 18 million people in Southern California, the sheer volume of construction management options is overwhelming. That's where third party certifications come in. But even certifications aren't simple. There are dozens of certification standards that affect product groups, construction techniques, and compliance mandates.
Building material certifications are generally done by specific product -- not by company. So each product needs to be researched for its unique properties that can include chemical content, use of limited or endangered species of natural resources, manufacturing processes, and recycling options at the end of the product's useful life. Certifications can make that selection process faster and less frustrating.
RECYCLING CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS"If you don't buy recycled materials, you aren't recycling!" is a growing mantra in pollution prevention circles. Companies are finding that people are willing to turn in recyclable materials -- but the market for products made out of those materials aren't keeping pace. That's where vision comes in. And design. And purchasing behaviors.
Lifespan economics analysis is replacing strictly-financial economics that don't take into account acquisition of raw materials, the manufacturing footprint or the end of product life.
Lifespan economics analysis is replacing strictly-financial economics that don't take into account acquisition of raw materials, the manufacturing footprint or the end of product life. By seeing products as part of a closed system, we can better design products and processes for cyclical utility. For instance, when new carpeting is make from recycled carpeting and plastics, it reduces the use of virgin petroleum, reduces volume in landfills, and reclaims plastic materials for multiple generations of usable products. The overall ecological footprint for that "pound of material" is thus reduced several times, not just once, as is commonly assumed in traditional economics.
Los Angeles Fiber recycles residential carpet by reprocessing it for use in padding fiber and injection molding products.
California Carpet Reclamation ProgramsThe carpet industry was one of the first to recognize the need to reduce landfill volume. There are recycling and reclamation options available in the Southern California area that either specialize in either commercial OR residential carpet...that take ALL carpet for processing. Yes, finding the right vendor to partner with your recycling program takes a bit of research.
Bentley Prince Street's ReEntry ProgramBentley Prince Street, a Los Angeles County carpet company, has met the ISO 9001 Quality Standard and the ISO 14001 Environmental Standard. They have also joined the INVISTA Reclamation Program to dispose of carpet and reduce the burden on landfills. By using the ReEntry program to dispose of used carpet products, companies can avoid costly landfill disposal fees and stringent government restrictions while also helping protect the environment.
Since its creation in 1994, the ReEntry program has diverted more than 100 million pounds of material from landfills (Interface Inc. companies worldwide). Through the program's partnership with INVISTA, Bentley Prince Street will take back any broadloom or modular carpet product from any commercial manufacturer after its useful life and find the most environmentally responsible solution for reclamation. The program also takes into account the cost of energy and fuel needed to reclaim the carpet to ensure the most environmentally conscious solution.
Los Angeles Fiber's Consumer Carpet Reclamation ProgramWhen a company is built on recycling and reclamation, it is able to tailor programs for related materials. Los Angeles Fiber has done just that. Their carpet and textile recycling plant can design a program to collect consumer waste from carpet installers and garment manufacturers and reduce operating costs from waste disposal.
At the other end of the plant's processing, the business community has access to nylon, wool and polypropylene fibers, sorted textiles and larger pieces that can be sourced for a wide variety of products such as automotive insulation, injection molded products like pipes, chairs, and engine components, even umbrellas and sewer pipes! The most direct product is probably the 100% postconsumer recycled carpet cushion -- from carpet to carpet padding! A direct savings to the landfill, and to the companies specifying green products.
"Our biggest problem," says Ron Greitzer, president, is "communicating the availability of this solution to our waste problems." As more companies specify recycled content in their facilities management purchasing projects, the market can expand to make recycling and reclamation a natural sourcing solution.
The choices are many, and sustainable options start with the vision of how much new material to use, which kinds, how to maintain it, how long to keep it, and how to recycle the previous generation of materials. All these decision points give you the opportunity to refine your green strategy and save more than money!
RECLAMATION CONTACTS:Bentley Prince Street Carpets
14641 E. Don Julian Road
City Industry, California 91746
1-800 423 4709
Ron Greitzer, President
Los Angeles Fiber Company
5190 Santa Fe Avenue
Vernon, CA 90058
Ketty Chamlian, President, CEO
Chamlian Enterprises, Inc.
2360 South Orange Ave.
Fresno, California 93725
Phone: (559) 233-1765
California Green Solutions Newsletter -- Mar. 2007
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