“It’s not easy bein’ green.” - Kermit the Frog
Heating, cooling and power generated for the workplace cause nearly 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States and are responsible for more than 70 percent of total electricity usage. Commuters add 1.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere every year.
It comes as no surprise that most workers prefer employers that lean toward being environmentally friendly, or “green.” So what exactly is a green workplace? It usually begins with the buildings themselves.
|New solar panels shimmer on the roof of the Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center (Photo by p.cunningham)|
If they meet standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council (covering issues including water and energy efficiency, materials and site selection, alternative transportation for occupants), they can be certified as LEED, which stands for leadership in energy and environmental design.
City of Hope expects to receive Silver LEED certification ratings on two buildings under construction on campus. Thanks to funding by The Home Depot Foundation, solar panels installed on the roof of the Michael Amini Transfusion Medicine Center will provide 10 to 15 percent of the electricity needs of the building.
The building expansion of the Leslie & Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Diabetes & Genetic Research Center also was designed to accommodate a solar energy system on its roof.
A few years ago, City of Hope’s Central Utility Plant constructed a 2.1-million-gallon thermal storage tank to store the cold water used to operate air conditioning systems on campus. As electricity demands, and costs, are the highest during the warmest times of the day, the campus runs its electric water chillers in the evening, and then draws the 39-degree water down from the tank throughout the heat of the day to cool the campus.
Cooling capacities of the plant are rapidly approaching their capacity, however, as the campus expands. Currently, a new steam-run chiller is being installed that can be run from the excess steam generated by the plant’s existing gas-fired boilers that provide heat, hot water and sterilization systems to the campus.
Other than filling up that blue recycle bin next to the office copy machine, how can workers at City of Hope carry the charge for the environment?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, traffic congestion caused by commuters costs American business 3.7 billion hours in lost productivity every year, equaling $63.1 billion in wasted time and fuel annually.
“With increasing fuel costs and the continuing pressures for parking at City of Hope, there has been renewed interest in providing alternative ways for employees to get to the campus,” said Dick Thompson, vice president of facilities management.
To that end, City of Hope bought a 25-passenger bus last year, establishing free regular service between the campus and the Metrolink train station four miles south in Baldwin Park.
City of Hope also offers groups of employees a vanpool program through a relationship with Enterprise. Program subsidies drastically reduce the costs of commuting.
The institution currently offers two vanpools, one from Rancho Cucamonga and one from Upland. For more information on how to sign up for the program or to start a vanpool, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 62228.