What is Sustainability?

“Green” or “Sustainable” is a hot topic recently, but it’s been part of our way of life here for decades. Going green and creating sustainable environments is more than a fad. It’s the return to a way of life where function drives form, simplicity reigns, and the details don’t get lost in the process.

Surprisingly, buildings in the United States consume 72% of the nation’s electricity and 40% of our raw materials while producing 38% of CO2 emissions and 136 million tons (annually) of waste products. Those numbers need to drop dramatically and swiftly. We can help you do that with your new building projects, renovations, upgrades, and planning efforts.

Even before the US Green Building Council (USGBC www.usgbc.org) and LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Rating System was invented, we were environmental leaders on the Monterey Peninsula, creating sustainable facilities at Monterey Regional Waste Management District (MRWMD http://www.mrwmd.org/) including a state-of-the-art Materials Recovery Center, Landfill Gas Power Plant, Household Hazardous Waste disposal, a retail outlet for used/recycled materials and administration building, all which were completed 1991-1996. Green features include lots of day-lit spaces, many recycled content materials and the construction produced much less waste than typical projects of that time.

Over the past 10 years, LEED has gone mainstream, green buildings are in the forefront, and manufacturers have responded with more materials that are easier on our environment. If we could do green back when it wasn’t “in”, easy, or available, think what we can do for you now!

Does GREEN fit your project?

We’re passionate about green. We believe in saving our Clients money, helping them realize their visions, and preserving precious resources. We’ve learned from nature that efficiencies must be inherent in the design in order for something to perform successfully.

We work to ensure your project is as green as possible and everything you’ve envisioned. We do our best for the project by taking advantage of the indigenous assets and “freebies” first, melding your project with its natural surroundings and finding the green benefits that give you the most bang for your buck. We design with materials and systems that are natural, have a long life-cycle, provide great return on your investment, and have less impact on the environment.

We can help your project meet local green requirements; apply for state or federal incentives, grants, or rebates; and achieve third-party certification (like LEED or Green Globes) so you have verification and recognition that your project is truly green, from design to construction.

By working with nature instead of against it, we can preserve the environment around us, serving this generation and generations to come. What could be more important than making sure we have enough clean water to drink, fresh air to breathe, and healthy land to provide safe food supplies?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the future of green in your world and have the opportunity to help make it reality. Ask us about our green projects and let us know how we can help you!

Where can I learn more about sustainability?

USGBC (United States Green Building Council; LEED Rating System) at www.usgbc.org

GBI (Green Building Initiative; Green Globes
Rating System) at www.thegbi.org

Green @ Work (green news and headlines)
at www.greenatworkmag.com

Treehugger (news and products)
at www.treehugger.com

David Suzuki Foundation (research, home, and lifestyle green/ balancing with nature)
at www.davidsuzuki.org


What you can do right now to “go green!”

- install aerators on your faucets (super low cost, instant returns!)
- catch your rainwater (and/or fog!) (low cost, annual returns)
- install a low-flow (1.28 gpf or less) or dual-flush toilet (moderate cost, quick return, rebates!)

- install weather-stripping at doors and windows (low cost, annual returns)
- clean or replace HVAC filters regularly (best bet: washable filters which can be reused over and over) (low cost, annual returns)
- install compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) everywhere you can (very low cost, monthly returns)
- turn down the heat (or air) when your space is not occupied – easiest with a programmable thermostat (in homes these times are generally when at work or school, during sleep times, and when on vacation) (no cost, instant returns!)

- buy items with less packaging (no cost, significant environmental benefit!)
- reuse first; recycle or compost second; don’t trash at all! (no cost, potential savings)
- use products that were made with recycled content and are recyclable at the end
of their useful lives (no to super low cost, big environmental benefit)

- limit the amount of chemicals brought into your home and business (no cost, big savings, potential health benefits)
- use environmentally-sourced and –friendly cleaning supplies (no to negligible cost, health benefits)
- use only low- or no-VOC paints, stains, adhesives, and sealants (no to negligible cost, instant positive impact)