The Moseley Richmond office is collecting used three-ring binders for donation to Chesterfield County, Virginia’s “Crayons to Computers” program. The program provides donated office supplies to schools, to be used by teachers and students. Donated items are taken to a store where teachers can “shop” for them free of charge. We find that we generate a lot of binders, from vendors particularly, that can’t be reused in the office. Richmond employees, you can find the collection box under the counter in the library. A special thanks to Tony Bell for suggesting the idea and for volunteering to take the donated items to Chesterfield as needed.
My name is Jay Yeman, and I am a mechanical engineer in the Richmond office. I am a parent volunteer for the Woolridge Elementary School Green Club. Our club participates in a fundraising program with a company called MilkMuny. MilkMuny is an upstart company similar to TerraCycle in that they take a product (in this case milk and juice cartons) that is normally thrown into the garbage and make them into a useful and unique product
More than 510,000 tons of milk and juice cartons are generated every year in the United States, but sadly, less than .05% ever get recycled according to an EPA report of Municipal Solid Waste. Paper cartons ARE recyclable, however, “because of the wax lining, are not universally recycled. Each locality is different, depending on their recycling process capability”, says the National Recycling Coalition.
MilkMuny will pay 50 cents for every carton sent to them and even pay for the shipping costs! MilkMuny will accept up to 1,000 cartons over the course of the school year. Click HERE to see which brands we are collecting (note: the 25 cents/carton noted in the flyer is incorrect). The Woolridge Elementary School Green Club is collecting all of the brands listed on the flyer. I am asking Richmond office employees who are interested in helping out to please save your milk and juice cartons, thoroughly rinse them out, and drop them off at my desk. If you are really ambitious, you can save me some work and break down the cartons per the following instructions:
- Thoroughly rinse the cartons with water.
- Use a utility knife to cut the top and bottom off of the carton. The sharpness of the knife makes a huge difference in the accuracy and cleanliness of the cut. These cuts need to be as close to the top/bottom as possible with no more than a quarter inch of loss on the walls of the carton. This leaves the four vertical panels of the carton, all connected.
- Clean and wipe the panels clean.
- Bring the broken down cartons to work and drop them off at my desk.
If anyone else out there in Moseley Nation is interested in participating in a similar fundraising program for their school, simply send me an e-mail and I will send you additional information.
While I know most of us are working hard at making our buildings kinder to the environment, my husband works hard to take care of another big piece of the environmental picture.
He works for Brooks Auto Sales which is a small business in Oilville, Va. As you drive by, you may quickly think.. oh boy.. he works at a car junkyard. What most people don’t know is that he is an automotive recycler. All those unwanted, broken, wrecked, no longer nice looking vehicles come to him. When you take a vehicle to be disposed, you need to look for a CAR certified facility. CAR is a Certified Automotive Recycler.
When a vehicle comes in it is carefully cataloged and given a number. It is dismantled with all useable parts reserved for refurbishment and resale. They accept all vehicles regardless of condition as long as you have a clear title to surrender with the vehicle. The unique number is marked on every part for resale and serves as a tracking system. (Helps police distinguish them from stolen parts!) His yard is networked with other recyclers and they trade/sell parts all over the state to places that need them. Many parts are collected for core buyers that will refurbish parts no longer working. Batteries are recharged and resold or sent to a recycler that will refurbish them. All fluids are drained and captured. Anti-freeze and Freon is gathered to be recycled and resold. Oil, transmission fluids, brake fluids are poured into a holding tank on site. They are then reused in a clean burning heating system that heats my husband’s shop during the winter months. All metals are dismantled and sorted to sell to those companies that will melt it down for reuse. Mercury switches are also sent to a company that handles the proper disposal of these items. Tires are sent to a recycler that will chop them up and create new items for our use.
Before rushing to the car parts store… think if you could use something recycled. It is usually cheaper and once again, we are working on helping this environment we live in!!
Have you ever gone to a store and selected a product only to discover that the product was not what you thought it would be? Throughout the environmental community there is a growing concern about the authenticity of products labeled as “organic” and “all natural.” Within the architecture profession it is our responsibility to challenge manufacturers’ products because a manufacturer is only as good as the products it stands behind. In a sense this is a contract of trust and faith between the company and its consumers (the public). This is a sacred bond which should not be muddled or broken.
The industrial age altered every aspect of our daily living creating mass production, new technologies, and a need for more resource consumption. Unfortunately, this revolution brought with it the burden of increased pollution which has been passed on to future generations. Due to these challenges, which we must face today we are encouraged to take an environmentally conscious role in the world in which we produce, consume, and live. A facet which had garnered more attention is to examine the manufacturing process of recycled products. In some cases more toxins, dyes, and chemicals are being used for “recycled” products thus having an adverse effect on the environment.
There are many resources available which can help our community embrace the role of a well-versed member of a “green” world. Daniel Goleman’s recently released book, Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything is one such resource. Goleman takes his readers on a journey into the world of consumerism and the life-cycle assessment (LCA) of products. Goleman’s book offers a detailed look at industrial ecology; which examines the impact of our every decision on the world and encompasses both businesses and “green” activists. A good product awareness resource can be found on Goodguide.com which is a growing website that provides information on consumer products, up to date news articles, and the latest recall items. The website Buildinggreen.com and Moseley’s Green Team and Craig Crawford are also reputable sources with up-to-date information on manufacturers.
There are many questions which will continue to be raised, such as, how “green” is “green”? So how can we challenge companies to stand by their “organic” or “all natural” or recycled product and encourage the branching out of all parties involved in producing a product? It is the consumers’ responsibility to learn from the past, question and challenge, and to share this knowledge with others.
On the anniversary of Earth Day we continue to remember the commitment our company shows towards Green technologies and energy conscious design. Stemming from that mission we have entered into a new phase of being good stewards of our finite resources.
Recently, the second largest school district in Virginia, Prince William County Schools, committed to retrofitting existing properties through a combined process of energy education and Performance Contracting with Moseley Architects leading the charge. Through the auditing of energy usage in existing schools we will be identifying energy conservation measures associated with system improvement and equipment replacement. Engineering data will help us quantify lower levels of fuel(electric, natural gas etc) consumption through equipment replacement or operational streamlining. In turn this will reduce annual utility costs. Those savings provide a source of available funds for the improvement costs themselves.
In addition to Performance Contracting, a curriculum will be introduced throughout the county to begin enabling the end users; teachers, students and school personnel to contribute additional reductions in consumption through conservation.
Many clients are looking for unique ways to address ongoing maintainability and sustainability issues. Please contact Brian Gorham if you feel you may have a customer interested in Performance Contracting, maintainability and energy conscious facility operation.
Sometimes when my kids make a mistake, they will say, “I didn’t mean to.” And I say, “I believe you, but did you mean not to?” And that question always gets them thinking a little bit harder about what they can do to avoid making the same mistake again. I think that’s how I “eco”, as well. It’s not good enough to say we didn’t mean to pollute the Earth. What we need to ask is…did we mean not to? And if we “mean not to” then we can be purposeful, thoughtful and determined in each decision we make.
Jill Buck – Founder of the Go Green Initiative
In the Charlotte office, we are trying to be purposeful and deliberate with our own Green Initiatives. We have continued the many practices started upon our early induction of our Green Team, but have placed an additional spin on our efforts in 2009. This year we are focusing on our clients, colleagues, and communities through the opportunities of education.
Some of these opportunities include helping to bring awareness and integration of the Go Green Initiative to our K-12 School Clients. The Go Green Initiative is a comprehensive environmental education program for schools which has been widely adopted in the western portion of United States but has remained undetected by a good portion of our clients in the South East. We are working with the GGI to find out how we, as architects, can best serve our clients and help them to tap into the many resources and programs available through the GGI.
Also, we are working on both an elementary school and middle/high school program helping to introduce sustainable practices to children in their daily lives at school as well as to start them thinking about how their actions now will affect their lives tomorrow. Indian Land Schools, part of the Lancaster County School District in South Carolina, is already on board with the importance of bringing sustainable awareness to their schools through their self started ECO program. Indian Land Elementary and High School will be our pilot schools for these programs.
Lastly, Our Green Team also hopes to one day be able to bring a LEED exam prep class to UNC Charlotte School of Architecture. We are still working with school administrators and our Richmond team of environmental analysts to find the best media and format in which to present such a class and hope that this can become a reality when the new testing format is established.
Highlights on how the Virginia Beach Office is going green:
We have recycling at our office.
A couple people carpool to work a couple times a week.
We have a member in the Hampton Roads Green Building Council.
We usually try to leave green features in our specifications even when a building is not going for LEED certification.
Company-wide policy: 2 sided printing, turning off monitors, pursuing LEED accreditation, working on LEED projects.
Good going Virginia Beach Office!!