Tools For Your Super That Could Save You Money

The April edition of The Cooperator listed some tips on common tools and fixes your building staff should be aware of. These tools and tips could save you from unnecessary expenses. How many of these does your building super do/have?

  • Use a moisture reader (to detect leaks before opening a wall)
  • Portable floodlights with chains (illuminate exterior work areas such as new concrete to prevent vandalism)
  • Wire mesh that can be cut to size for drain covers in parking areas (clean weekly to prevent buildup)
  • Sandbags for low-lying areas that are prone to flooding (put them out before a big rainfall)

The entire article with some additional tips can be found here.

Up in (no) Smoke?

Public Housing Agencies were presented with a proposal in November to end smoking in public housing facilities. Currently, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is reviewing comments and requests for additional resources and time to enforce the proposed ban before finalizing the law.

Will this be a trend? Do you want your building to go smoke free? A recent article in the cooperator examines the topic in depth. What do you think?

Click here to read the article in The Cooperator.

Taking Down the trash!

flickr|David Woo

flickr|David Woo

No one will argue, NYC contributes a large amount of garbage to our landfills.

But things are changing.

A recent article in The Cooperator outlines what some building owners and residents are doing to reduce the amount of trash from their buildings. And it works! However, from composting to recycling, these programs rely on building owners and managers to provide residents with the necessary access and tools to be effective.

How much trash does your building generate? Do you think any of these programs would work in your building?

For more ideas, read the full article at the Cooperator.

Architects Challenged to Look at the Bigger Picture

The annual conference of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) was held this year in Chicago June 26‒28.  Shaunacy Ferro, writer for fastcodesign.com, wrote an article about what was discussed on the second day of the conference during a panel discussion moderated by KCRW producer Frances Anderton. Panelists included Majora Carter, an urban revitalization strategist; Ellen Dunham-Jones, chair of the Congress for New Urbanism; Robin Guenther, principal at Perkins+Will; and Rachel Minnery, a disaster resiliency activist.  Frances Anderton initiated the panel discussion asking: “What do we mean by resilience, and how do we actually explain this notion to the public?”

Shaunacy highlighted in her article what the panelists thought were some of the greatest challenges facing today’s cities and suburbs:

Majora Carter, who founded an organization called Sustainable South Bronx in 2001, had an important message for architects: “It’s not just about the building. It is about the context that building is in… How is this going to fit in the larger picture of how a city lives and breathes and loves and works? Those are the things we need you to be saying.”  

Rachel Minnery’s words were directed to our society and necessary cultural and behavioral shift, “Inherently in the U.S., we have our boxes–We have our property lines, we’re individual property owners. We need to shift that from a culture of ‘I’ to a culture of ‘we.'”

Read More.

How to tell sustainability stories on social media

Continuing on the theme of behavioural change from yesterday, a recent article in the Guardian analyzes how companies currently try to sell sustainability through multimedia.  There findings summed up in one sentence, “If companies are going to become truly sustainable they will need not just to change their systems, supplies and products; they will also need to change the expectations and behaviour of their consumers.” @sustainly

Highlights of the analysis by Matthew Yeomans: 

  • Nearly half of the 475 companies studied have social media channels or campaigns dedicated to discussing their sustainability or corporate social responsibility efforts.
  • Investigated how the “big 10” FMCG multinationals use their brands’ social media channels to talk sustainability.
  • The 35 brands that do discuss sustainability or CSR causes reach only 162 million Facebook “fans” and 78 million of those are “fans” of one brand

Read More.

 

Three Key Constituencies to tap into for Energy Management

“Each summer, EDF Climate Corps fellows evaluate organizations for energy savings opportunities with many of them uncovering stakeholder engagement as a key savings opportunity. After 400 EDF Climate Corps engagements, the program has found that there are three key constituencies to tap into for energy management:”

  • Executive Leadership– “Ambitious goal setting is one way executive leaders can advance green initiatives.
  • Employees– Engaging and Empowering
  • Local communities and utilities– incentives, programs, standards, certifications

– Ellen Bell, EDF Read More.

It seems that the industry needs to start to integrate psychology and behavioral change in order to successfully reduce energy use of a building or process.  An article written by Emily Lawson and Colin Price’s “The psychology of change management,” has identified:

“four basic conditions are necessary before employees will change their behavior: a) a compelling story, because employees must see the point of the change and agree with it; b) role modeling, because they must also see the CEO and colleagues they admire behaving in the new way; c) reinforcing mechanisms, because systems, processes, and incentives must be in line with the new behavior; and d) capability building, because employees must have the skills required to make the desired changes.”

McKinsey also “identified nine insights into how human nature gets in the way of successfully applying the four conditions required for behavioral change. ” Four of the Nine are listed below.

1. What motivates you doesn’t motivate most of your employees. 

4. Leaders believe mistakenly that they already “are the change.”

6. Money is the most expensive way to motivate people. 

9. Good intentions aren’t enough. 

McKinsey Quarterly.