Sustaining Sustainability

Sustaining Sustainability

By:  Amanda Medlen I recently read an article from EDC magazine entitled “The Green Practitioner: Sustainability as the New Safety.”  Tommy (the writer) brought up a good point about green buildings and keeping them green.  The main point that he was trying to present was that it takes participation of all people using or working in the space itself.  It really needs to be a part of the ‘corporate culture.’ He talks about doing everything right during the construction of the building but upon the moment when the building is turned over to the occupants or owners a lot could go right out the window.  He states, “You can install the most efficient lighting system, but if the occupants don’t turn them off, there go the savings. Recycling bins at every desk and compost bins in the cafeteria are worthless if people keep throwing everything in the trash. Low-VOC interiors are great until maintenance comes back with high-VOC paints to repair the scuffs on the wall.” Later in his article he references the Occupational Health and Safety Act created by OSHA in 1970.  This made a direct impact and helped improve safety.  More signs were put up in regards to wearing safety glasses, hard hats, ear protection, etc.  It was a big issue and since it was put into place, there have been more safety meetings and simply more attention drawn to it. The case is, why not do a similar thing for green building.  With signs and reminders to do such things as turn off the lights, shut down your computer, sort out your trash and focus on recycling.  More and more green building are being built then every before and sustainable design and construction is becoming more of a standard.  As things progress, maybe there will be a Sustainable Administration that helps the public focus on sustaining our resources.  Regardless, I believe that it is an education that needs to happen and to help get everyone on board.

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