HAPPY GREEN OFFICE SPACE

August 12, 2014 on 8:26 pm | In all, Green Workplace, Trends, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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

 

 

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GREEN BUSINESS = WORKING FROM HOME

August 2, 2014 on 7:53 pm | In all, Green Workplace, Solutions, Trends, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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%.

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POLB IS NAMED THE BEST GREEN SEAPORT

July 4, 2014 on 7:46 am | In Act Locally, Global Statistics, Green Workplace, Greenhouse Gas, Snapshot, Solutions, Uncategorized, Water | 2 Comments

by Jodi Summers

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:

  1. Wildlife – Protect, maintain or restore aquatic ecosystems and marine habitats.
  2. Air – Reduce harmful air emissions from Port activities.
  3. Water – Improve the quality of Long Beach Harbor waters.
  4. Soils/Sediments – Remove, treat, or render suitable for beneficial reuse contaminated soils and sediments in the Harbor District.
  5. Community Engagement – Interact with and educate the community regarding Port operations and environmental programs.
  6. 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.

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http://www.polb.com/environment/green_port_policy/default.asp

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GREEN AND OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN LEASING OFFICE SPACE

December 28, 2013 on 8:28 am | In all, Curious, Green Workplace, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Edited by Jodi Summers

The right work environment makes all the difference. Google, regularly voted the best company to work for in America, seeks to create the perfect work environment.

Google’s goal (try saying that 5x fast) is to create the healthiest work environments possible so Google masterminds can thrive and innovate. From concept through design, construction and operations, the search engine’s goal is to create a brick + mortar workplace that optimizing access to nature, clean air and daylight.

To keep the Google brain trust at peak performance, they avoid materials that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other known toxins that may harm human health. Furniture, carpet, flooring, toilets > all green, and augmented by dual stage air filtration systems to eliminate plankton-like particles and remaining VOCs, further augmenting indoor air quality. Or, they could Additionally, the location is so fine, they cay just open the west facing windows and let the ocean breeze come rolling through, as it does from 10:30 a.m. – sunset on all days except for Santa Ana conditions.

For those of us with businesses aspiring to be as successful as Google, choosing the right office space is the challenge of balancing present and future needs.

Savvy entrepreneurs looking for office space will ask….

1. Is there room for my company to grow?

If your business is not in the position to take extra space for future growth, try negotiating a shorter lease term or add language to the lease that gives you the first right of negotiation on any adjacent space that becomes vacant.

2. Is it the right location for my key employees?

Be green in commuting. Consider where your key employees live and whether the location is convenient for them. Make them sit too long in traffic, or pick a site away from mass transit and employees will be more likely to jump ship to a business that’s more convenient for them.

“When considering a move, you might want to let your key staff weigh in so you don’t risk losing them,” offers Peter Riguardi of Jones Lang LaSalle commercial real estate.

3. Is the location convenient for clients?

You also want your office to be accessible to clients. If you’re located in downtown Santa Monica, your clients are going to be sitting in long lines of traffic, and you’re going to be paying a lot of additional parking costs…unless you plan on being walking distance from an Expo line stop.  Be easy to find. Make it too difficult for clients to get there and they will go elsewhere. If you leave an urban location for a cheaper space in the suburbs, consider whether the lower expenses will make up for the possible loss of clients. Even in the age of video conferencing and Skype, it’s important that face-to-face meetings be manageable.

4. Does this office send the right signal?

Think about the message you want to give to your clients when you select your location. Google’s Venice offices –  green, innovative, in an ultra hip location blocks from the beach – très cutting edge. In the new millennium, an office space is far more than a collection of cubicles; it also will be a sign to others of how much money you’re making. “I’ve seen companies spend for a lavish space they’re very proud of. They invite clients to see it, and the clients wonder if they’re paying them too much for their services,” Riguardi says. On the other hand, if you don’t spend enough, people may wonder about the financial health of your company.

5. Do you need to be green?

Progressive companies are concerned about the environment. Having a “green” office rates well with clients. Green doesn’t mean it has to be LEED platinum, green touches can be as simple as putting the lighting and air conditioning on timers so that energy isn’t wasted when offices are vacant. An office with a light-colored roof can cut back utility costs by as much as 30% in SoCal.

6.  What are possible hidden costs? Calculate the full cost of the space–rent, utilities, construction costs, moving expenses, CAM fees, NNN fees, insurance and other costs that may not be obvious. “You have to look at the costs associated with the move, even restoration of the space you’re moving from,” Riguardi recommends.

7. Parking.

We live in L.A.; we know how precious parking can be. Depending upon your location, parking can be a hidden cost. Even new Culver City office spaces are adding in $75+ per month per car. Consider the amount of parking available at your proposed location, as well as the potential cost to employees and customers. If parking is tight, is there a place where employees can park so customers get the most convenient spaces? Negotiating special employee rates and validating customers’ parking tickets are good ideas, but they need to be worked into the budget.

8. Is the office ADA compliant?

In our progressive times, you need to consider how your space works for handicapped individuals. Check to see that the building is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, the law states that doors to office suites should be at least 32 inches wide and require fewer than five pounds of force to open, while carpeting in areas open to the public must be secured to the floor with a pile of less than half an inch. You can learn something new every day.

9. Consider sharing an office.

Sharing space with another company saves money not only on the office rent, but also on the cost of common areas like kitchens and bathrooms. Plus, the fact that you’re being ultra-efficient makes you seem greener. To best benefit the shared space, it’s ideal to divide the space with complementary businesses > an architect with a builder or a PR firm with a Web designer. Draw up a formal agreement between tenants. This agreement can be flexible.

10.  What if I sell my company during the course of the lease?

If you hope to sell your company, make sure the lease is clear about owner responsibility. Some leases are written so that the original company and its owners have liability in the future should the future tenant not perform.

11. Pay attention to the terms of renewal.

The last thing you want is to get established in a space, then find at the end of your lease that your landlord is exercising their option to rent the space to someone else or to drastically raise your rents. Although rental rates are usually negotiated at the time of renewal, you also can try in the original contract to cap any increase at no more than 5%. “Real estate is rebounding in many areas, which means rental rates are rising,” concludes Julie Clark, a founder of SharedBusinessSpace.com, a national online directory. “If you can control how much, it’s a stick in your court.”

We know all about Los Angeles office space, and can assist you in your office needs. Please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – jodi@jodisummers.com or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.

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OUR PRESIDENT MAKES LIFE GREENER

October 4, 2013 on 10:29 pm | In Green Workplace, Greenhouse Gas, Net Zero, Solutions, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

by Jodi Summers

The stringent new mandatory restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions by power plants, factories and other industrial sources is being heralded as the greatest environmental initiative of Barack Obama’s presidency,

“We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury and arsenic and sulfur in our air and water,” declares President Obama. “But power plants can still dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air for free. That’s not right, that’s not safe, and it needs to stop.”

Industrial facilitates currently account for around 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions across the U.S. This latest addendum to the host of green 2020 initiatives is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4% below 1990 levels.

Residential properties benefits by this new initiative as it encourages the Department of Interior to approve enough renewable energy projects on public lands to power 6,000,000 homes by 2020. The Initiative also offers $8 billion in loan guarantees for energy efficiency and advanced fossil fuel projects.

“This is the change Americans have been waiting for on climate,” praises Sierra Club president Michael Brune. “President Obama is finally putting action behind his words.”

Already President Obama has been praised for his first term green triumph > steering automakers to double gas mileage standards for daily driver vehicles. Now, the President is requiring stricter standards for heavy duty truck models introduced in 2018 and after…and he can do it all without congressional approval.

In 2007, U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency-part of the executive branch under the White House-can regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act – just like it does with soot, lead and other types of air pollution. Thus, Obama’s new plan does not need Congressional approval, but expect congressional input in determining just how the emissions cuts are implemented.

“It’s clearly time to act,” Gene Karpinski of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) adds, “and [Obama is] setting out a bold, ambitious, comprehensive plan for what he can do without needing to rely upon Congress.”

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WIND POWER FOR A WATER COMPANY

August 18, 2013 on 9:18 pm | In Green Building, Green Workplace, LEED, Solutions, Trends, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

by Jodi Summers

Nestlé Waters North America is making its first big renewable energy project a good one. The company installed two 1.6-megawatt wind turbines –industrial-size spinners – at its Cabazon, Calif., bottling plant. The cost -> $7.4 million construction with $2.15 million in permanent loans.

NWNA Cabazon’s location in the San Gorgonio Pass (aka, Banning Pass) is a wickedly windy place. Situated in a gap through the San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains that connects the Inland Empire to the desert cities of the Coachella Valley, it’s home to one of the earliest and still biggest wind power developments in the country. Perfect place to make clean electricity from wind.

The two 1.6 megawatt GE wind turbines along the I-10 corridor will produce an average of 12,900,000 kilowatt hours annually, powering the equivalent of 1,100 U.S. homes. The project will also save 7,320 tons of CO2 emissions, offsetting the equivalent emissions from 20,687 oil barrels and saving the equivalent of 1,897 acres of trees.

NWNA partnered with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and Foundation Windpower to site and host and commission the wind turbines. Foundation Windpower installs, operates and owns the wind turbines, and its associated environmental attributes. NWNA purchases the power produced directly and receives renewable energy credits from Foundation Windpower, reducing the company’s power needs from the Southern California power grid.

“We’re pleased to partner with Nestle Waters North America to help advance renewable energy efforts in Cabazon,” said Matt Wilson , chief executive officer of Foundation Windpower. “Nestle Waters’ leadership in sustainability is an important example of how corporations can make a sizable difference in managing natural resources and creating job growth in the green sector.”

The installation of the wind turbines in Cabazon is part of NWNA’s long-term renewable energy plan. NWNA was the first beverage manufacturer in the country to build U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® (LEED) certified plants. In 2004, the Cabazon plant earned a LEED Silver Rating. Today, the company has 10 LEED-certified facilities, covering 3.7 million square feet and diverting 22,000 tons of waste material from landfills.

“Hosting wind turbines at our bottling plants is a critical step for Nestlé Waters to support the increased use of renewable energy,” Michael Washburn, vice president of sustainability for the company. “This latest effort in conjunction with our partnership with Foundation Windpower is consistent with our practices to reduce our environmental footprint.”

Nestlé figures the two GE turbines will meet about 30% of the plant’s power needs, churning out around 12,900 megawatt-hours of power per year.

The developer, Foundation Windpower, is the go-to company in California for commercial enterprises looking to power up with big wind, with 11 projects done and more in the works. Incentives at both the state and federal level allow the company to offer attractive power purchase agreements to clients. There’s the California State Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), pays $1.25 per watt of installed capacity, half up front and the rest over the first five years of operation, assuming a 25% capacity factor is achieved (no problem there). Then there’s the federal production tax credit that pays 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of wind energy produced.

While this is Nestlé’s first wind energy project anywhere in the world, the company does flash other green credentials: The Cabazon plant got a LEED Silver rating in 2004, one of 10 LEED-level facilities for the company. The company also boasts that it “produces 98 percent of its single-serve PET plastic bottles on-site at company bottling facilities, saving 6.6 million gallons of fuel per year through reduced transportation requirements.”

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