by Jodi Summers
Office space has changed drastically in the past decade. Gone are cubicles and forced air. What’s hot are bright and breezy multiuse open spaces which use less square footage than their predecessors. Allow us to share with you some cutting edge concepts in office design.
Google’s stimulating new workspace in Tel Aviv. Google creates environments to allow creative ideas to easily flow.
92% of young professionals interviewed said they would be more inclined to work for an environmentally-friendly company.
Office space abundant in light with inspiring design.
Three complementary design firms have joined together to share a loft office space.
Shared office or executive office suites.
The office barns the workspace is completely open, without partitions and without hierarchy. Desks and local storage are mobile and a system of power distribution drops power and network down to the desks from over head. It’s unlike any corporate office space that came before it and in fact has many of the characteristics of smaller businesses.
Open office space circa 1923
by Jodi Summers
Corporations are learning that their employees are happier if they work at home at least one day a week. Going one step beyond, for some careers and small business owners the home office and related tax deductions have become a legitimate tax deduction.
According to data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, in 1997 7% of workers (9.2 million individuals) reported working at home at least one day a week. By 2010, that total had grown to 9.4% (13.4 million), an increase of more than four million or 35%.
The geographic distribution of those workers who primarily work at home (most days) shows interesting geographic clustering. Using data from the 2012 Census Bureau American Community Survey, the map above charts the share of the workforce (age 16 and over) who report working at home. The highest shares are found in the West, the Northwest, the Upper Midwest and New England. The state of Vermont has the highest share (7.1%), followed by Montana (6.5%), Colorado (6.5%), and Oregon (6.3%). Louisiana has the lowest share at 2.3%.
by Jodi Summers
What Home Buyers Really Want: Ethnic Preferences is an actual study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders. We responded as Americans, undeterred by our heritage. More than 80% of people who took part in the study would like to live in “an environmentally friendly home,” but 65% are not willing to pay more for it.
Ethnicity did not factor into any major responses. Where slight difference showed up was in relation to how much buyers are willing to pay for energy efficiency features that translate to lower utility bills. Hispanic buyers indicated that they were willing to pay the most, $9,146, while white buyers indicated that they would pay the least, $6,774.
Bravo! The Port of Long Beach has been recognized as the “Best Green Seaport” in the world at the 28th annual Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards.
The Port of Long Beach is one of the world’s premier seaports, a primary gateway for trans-Pacific trade and a trailblazer in innovative goods movement, safety and environmental stewardship. The Port is served by 140 shipping lines with connections to 217 seaports worldwide. A major economic engine for the region, the Port handles trade valued at more than $180 billion each year and supports hundreds of thousands of Southern California jobs.
In 2005, the Port of Long adopted a “Green Port Policy,” focusing reducing its impact on the community, wildlife and the environment…with unmitigated success. The POLB is proud of the dramatic improvement in air and water quality thanks to an array of environmental initiatives that include the Clean Trucks, Green Flag Vessel Speed Reduction and Technology Advancement programs.
“This is an honor to be named the AFSCA’s Best Green Seaport. The Port of Long Beach has made great strides in reducing air pollution and improving water quality, and we are committed to doing even more,” said Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners President Doug Drummond.
The Port’s growth policy has had tremendous results. The total number of containers handled at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in May increased by 5.6% on a year-over-year basis to 1,288,652 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units). This was the 14th consecutive month of at least 1 million TEUs for the San Pedro Bay ports.
The Port of Long Beach’s Green Port Policy is an aggressive, comprehensive and coordinated approach to reduce the negative impacts of Port operations. The Green Port Policy, adopted in 2005, serves as a guide for decision making and established a framework for environmentally friendly Port operations. The policy’s five guiding principles are:
- Protect the community from harmful environmental impacts of Port operations.
- Distinguish the Port as a leader in environmental stewardship and compliance.
- Promote sustainability.
- Employ best available technology to avoid or reduce environmental impacts.
- Engage and educate the community.
The Green Port Policy includes six basic program elements, each with an overall goal:
- Wildlife – Protect, maintain or restore aquatic ecosystems and marine habitats.
- Air – Reduce harmful air emissions from Port activities.
- Water – Improve the quality of Long Beach Harbor waters.
- Soils/Sediments – Remove, treat, or render suitable for beneficial reuse contaminated soils and sediments in the Harbor District.
- Community Engagement – Interact with and educate the community regarding Port operations and environmental programs.
- Sustainability – Implement sustainable practices in design and construction, operations, and administrative practices throughout the Port.
The “Green Seaport” honor of the Asian Freight & Supply Chain Awards is reserved for ports that have “demonstrated compliance with green freight transport regulations and environmental standards; investment in green initiatives, technology and action plans; incorporation of environmental requirements in strategic planning; use of a policy on reducing fuel emissions from freight handling operations; and ongoing training of staff in green initiatives and in measures to lower carbon footprints.”
The awards are based on an annual poll of thousands of professionals in freight transportation services. Awards also are given in many categories, including best shipping lines, container terminals, air cargo terminals, airports and rail haulers.
Find out more about the Port of Long Beach’s environmental programs at www.polb.com/environment.
You are the green businessman. You’re in solar stocks, net zero options. You’ve got a zero net energy home. You’ve got a zero net energy car. You are on top of the green world. Now, be on top of the next wave of green trends…
* Global spending on smart energy management services is projected to grow from $291M in 2012 to $1.1 billion by 2020. (Source: Pike Research)
* Solar projects established as a solid asset class attracting traditional Wall Street financiers, crowd-funding to fund small- to medium-sized solar projects, and institutionally-led residential solar lease facilities. REITs will emerge as a potential funding source with the prospect of opening the REIT structure to solar projects.
* Micro-hybrid battery technology that stops a vehicles motor during idling, then starts it again with a battery – not gas – when needed, is coming to the U.S. in a big way with more than eight million vehicles, not including hybrids, to be equipped with this stop-start technology in North America by 2017 (Source: Lux Research). An estimated 35 million vehicles to be produced with this stop-start technology worldwide (Source: Johnson Controls).
* Biomimicry – using designs found in nature as the template for creating modern industrial products and processes – begins to make its mark on clean technology, especially in clean technologies that generate energy from natural sources like the sun and the wind, as well as on the energy-efficiency front, such as energy-saving (and more reliable) screen technologies for devices and the creation of new tougher, lighter and stronger materials.
* U.S. Geothermal industry comes of age in the U.S., with installed cumulative capacity growing to 3,187 MW, which represents more than a quarter of the worldwide total of 11,244 MW.
Ok…so you didn’t snap up one of those new model condos with the smart pad in the wall and electronics that respond to voice command. We live in a smart world, so instead of paying that extra 5% for the I-pad in the wall…with a little ingenuity, any old home can be a smart as a new home. Here are six things you can do to make you and your home smarter and more technologically savvy…
1. Signal booster – Smart houses are often dependent on smartphones, which is why a service like SureCall exists. Put a SureCall antenna outside your home and it will grab your cellphone tower’s signal and amplify it so that your cellphone’s signal inside your house is 10 times stronger Price: SureCall costs $538 or $1,160, depending on the kit model you purchase.
2. Home management system – Since smart home devices are not always compatible with each other, home management systems aim to truly integrate all parts of a home. Current home management systems are focused on security features that keep burglars at bay (other features include carbon monoxide detection and smoke alarms). This is an evolving field. Home management systems that aim to capitalize on the future include AT&T’s Digital Life, which lets consumers control parts of their home with their smartphones and tablets. The service, which runs on Apple, Android and Windows phone devices, will eventually support hundreds of devices and applications.
There are many other options. Lowe’s home improvement stores has the Iris, which includes a kit and app with motion and contact sensors and a smart thermostat. The ADT Corporation, known for home security, offers ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions. Time Warner sells Intelligent Home, and the office supply store Staples offers Staples Connect.
Prices vary > AT&T Digital Life: $349.98 equipment fee, then $44.98 a month; Iris: $179 to $299, then free for basic service. Premium service is free for two months, and then runs $9.99 a month.
3. Keyless door locks – perhaps you already have this on your late model car. Punch in a code, and it unlocks. For home you have Kwikset’s Kevo, a state-of-the-art Bluetooth smart-enabled door lock that lets authorized users lock their door by touching the deadbolt with their fingerprint.
Above and beyond, you can send an electronic key – a digital code – via text to friends or contractors you trust to come into your house while you’re at work, and any time the door unlocks, you can receive a smartphone notification. Price: $219.
4. The Nest Learning Thermostat is indeed a smart item…as it learns from your interaction. As you adjust the dial whenever you’re too hot or cold, the thermostat learns what types of temperatures you prefer. It also takes the weather into account and will adjust the temperature inside based on what the weather is doing outside. It even knows if nobody’s home. Price: $249.
5. WallyHome uses sensors in your home’s walls to detect water trouble. If something goes wrong, like a roof leak, its base hub and six wireless sensors will send an alert to your phone. Using a smartphone app, you can receive data on the rooms with water trouble, and you may be able to figure out the problem even if you’re miles away. For instance, a sensor in the bathroom would pick up a change in humidity and would also send you an alert if there was a leak. Price: $299.
6. Do you desire a personal wireless LED lighting system – one you can control from your smartphone or tablet? Phillips Hue, a personal wireless LED lighting system, allows you to set timers so that things that are important to you are under control. You can have the lights in your child’s bedroom go off and on at a certain time, or have the lighting change when you have an important phone call to make or a favorite TV show to watch. If you throw a lot of parties, you can offer mood lighting. Price: The Hue Starter Kit, which includes three bulbs and a bridge that connects the Wi-Fi router to any device with an IP connection, costs $199. Each additional bulb is $59.
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