When Americans are making buying decisions, 80% say they consider a company’s sustainability track record, according to a Harris Interactive survey. Many businesses look to high-profile programs – green-fuel fleets or waste recycling – to improve their green rating. A less obvious way to boost your sustainability quotient: green workstations and desks from MAS-certified manufacturers.
One such manufacturer, Swiftspace, has been working steadily to reduce VOC emissions from its furniture products. (VOCs – volatile organic compounds – are commonly found in paint and wood products, and the gases can cause health problems in enclosed spaces.) In April 2015 Swiftspace received its MAS certification for healthier indoor environments. CEO Rob Way also pointed out Swiftspace’s green-conscious policies of low-waste design and shipping materials, as well as the furniture’s simple, no-tools setup which eliminates the fuel footprint of on-site installation travel.
And the benefit of sourcing green furnishings for your office? In addition to LEED tax incentives and rebate programs in some locales, the positive publicity can attract the attention – and the dollars – of the 80% of the buying public that prefer to do business with an environmentally conscious company.
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College football fans would be surprised to find The University of Texas and Texas A&M University trading anything other than insults regarding each others’ poor athletic skills, scanty intelligence, and questionable family history. Nevertheless, the two institutions have set aside their rivalry in order to cooperate on something far more important: Saving money.
In 2013, the libraries of UT and A&M inaugurated the Joint Library Facility, an 18,000 square foot facility built to store print books and journals for the use of both schools. The storage facility freed up space in their libraries for high-circulation books, as well as allowing them to eliminate multiple copies of print materials and duplicate journal subscriptions.
In true Texas style, the building site has enough land for two additional buildings. And the cost savings realized through the newly efficient shared storage? Per-volume costs went from $4.26 per year to 86¢ per year. After nearly two years of operation, that kind of money adds up to the sort of oversized savings are always welcome deep in the heart of Texas, or anywhere else.
The space shuttle program came to an end in 2011, but science historians around the country are creating displays of retired shuttles with the help of storage detectives like Dennis Jenkins. A 30-year-plus NASA employee who spent his entire career sending shuttles into space, Jenkins was recruited by the California Science Center to oversee the preparation of the museum’s shuttle exhibit. The mothballed shuttle was missing quite a few pieces when it arrived in Los Angeles, and Jenkins began tracking down parts to complete the exhibit.
He was faced with a daunting task. Budget cuts had forced NASA to reduce its storage, and shuttle parts – 1 million parts, ranging from nuts and bolts to complete engines – had been stashed in government facilities and scrap yards across the country. Jenkins had to rely on the memories of a network of former NASA workers to help locate missing pieces scattered from Utah to Washington D.C. Writing in the L.A.Times, Kate Mathers reveals the outcome of Jenkins’ search.
We can only imagine how much easier his job would have been if well-organized high density storage systems had been part of the shuttle program.
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Location, location, location still counts, but in the new era of the digital office, change is a constant. The race goes to the most nimble, and businesses that can adapt their office environments on the fly have the advantage when it comes to keeping overhead in check. Inc. Magazine’s review of office design trends highlights the moves toward flexibility that forward-thinking businesses are making.
These three trends in particular can have a positive effect on your bottom line, providing efficiencies in space utilization that save on real estate, furnishings, and build-out. Inc. Magazine also listed a few trends that tie directly to the employee experience:
- staff lounges that are truly lounge-able
- bringing the outdoors indoors
- turning visible vents and conduits into a design feature
Collectively, all these design trends make for a office space that functions well on every level: physically, visually, psychologically, and financially – and those are rules we can all live with!
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