Making workplaces 'greenspaces'

01/01/2009


Practicing what we preach is more than just a mantra for Syska Hennessy Group —it's our essence.

Joining the ranks of the office buildings we design, Syska recently has adopted a series of significant sustainable initiatives that promise to impact our firm's internal culture and the world we live in on a daily basis. From recycling and producing less waste to cutting energy expenditures and greenhouse gas emissions, Syska has rolled out a two-phase plan to color our 19 domestic offices green by 2010.

Phase I: Visible impact

Phase I initiatives are cost-neutral and will visibly impact the firm on a daily basis. Beginning with an overhaul and reduction of office, kitchen, desk, and janitorial supplies, Syska will produce less waste overall. Printers and copiers will, by default, produce double-sided copies, while documents will be scanned and saved instead of photocopied, and misprints will be re-purposed as scrap paper. The firm will provide each employee with a coffee mug and cup for personal use, while only biodegradable, 100% paper kitchen and packaging materials will be used.

Recycled and recyclable desk supply products, including plastic/vinyl binders, envelopes, and toner cartridges will be available from predetermined vendors that will also supply nontoxic and ozone-safe highlighters, markers, and correction fluid. Offices will employ green janitorial supplies, including plastic trash bags made from recycled materials and bleach- and chlorine-free, post-consumer bathroom tissues and paper towels.

As with any successful environmental initiative, recycling will play a large role in meeting Syska's goals. The first step in achieving this is to educate our staff on the importance of recycling, with a narrative of all relative policies and procedures at meetings and new hire orientations. Individual offices will station recycling receptacles throughout each facility.

The final step in Phase I will upgrade water procedures and reduce water bottle waste, a major source of firm-wide refuse. Nondisposable glasses and cups will be provided for employees, and water tap filters will deliver clean drinking water without the use of disposable, single-use water bottles.

Phase II: Operational impact

Phase II initiatives will impact the firm on an operational level, saving electricity and trimming the bottom line. Employing Energy Star products, setting all computers and monitors to “standby” mode when not in use, and using surge protectors and LCD monitors is just the beginning. Taking advantage of available daylight and the use of fluorescent, instead of incandescent, bulbs and reducing ambient lighting levels by using efficient task sources will aid the efforts. Purchasing and phasing in use of Green Power or renewable energy will be initiated when applicable.

Syska also recognizes that its carbon footprint begins outside of its four walls. Providing transit reimbursement checks or purchasing pretax transit cards directly from the local transportation authority will encourage employee use of public transportation. When possible, Syska will provide shower and storage facilities for employees who choose alternative transportation in accordance with U.S. Green Building Council LEED guidelines. Carbon offsets for calculated business air travel will be purchased, while individual “air cleaning” plants will improve indoor air quality and all new firm offices will be LEED certified.

Creating “greenspaces” out of workplaces needs to be more than just a Syska Hennessy Group initiative. Take the Syska challenge, fellow engineers. Pick up your paintbrushes and start coloring your offices green.


Author Information

Callan is senior vice president, director of sustainable design and high-performance building technology, Syska Hennessy Group. Callan serves as a GSA Design Excellence National Peer and authored GSA's Facilities Standards PBS P100 Mechanical and Electrical Engineering chapters in the most recent (2005) edition.




No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
The true cost of lubrication: Three keys to consider when evaluating oils; Plant Engineering Lubrication Guide; 11 ways to protect bearing assets; Is lubrication part of your KPIs?
Contract maintenance: 5 ways to keep things humming while keeping an eye on costs; Pneumatic systems; Energy monitoring; The sixth 'S' is safety
Transport your data: Supply chain information critical to operational excellence; High-voltage faults; Portable cooling; Safety automation isn't automatic
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Maintaining low data center PUE; Using eco mode in UPS systems; Commissioning electrical and power systems; Exploring dc power distribution alternatives
Synchronizing industrial Ethernet networks; Selecting protocol conversion gateways; Integrating HMIs with PLCs and PACs
Why manufacturers need to see energy in a different light: Current approaches to energy management yield quick savings, but leave plant managers searching for ways of improving on those early gains.

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.