Build an Eco-Friendly Operation from the Ground Up

Posted on April 1, 2008

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As the definition of a green company evolves, the superficial bubble seems to be bursting on the so-called “green dream.” One hybrid in a fleet of 30 vehicles is a stretch if your company claims to be green. The rules are changing, and fortunately, there is more that operators are doing to prove they truly support sustainability.


A green company simply starts from the ground up. There are many simple and cost-saving ways to turn your facility — not just your vehicles — into a real solution for the environment and your pocketbook.


A TIME TO GROW GREEN   “Everything you put into this project will be given back to you and fairly quickly. The energy cost savings alone are enough,” says Mark Munoz, chief operating officer at BostonCoach (Boston). After years of rapid growth, the company expanded to a larger facility about a year ago, just as the green movement began to take hold of the luxury transportation industry.


“There were multiple items that came together at the same time,” says Munoz, so the choice to build a larger, more ecofriendly facility from start to finish was a natural one. “We wanted to do something tangible that had a true impact on the environment,” Munoz adds.


The process began with a simple request — to use an architectural firm that specialized in green building. Once BostonCoach found the right firm, the project to go completely green was taken to new heights. “This process was so organized from start to finish,” Munoz says.


The number of steps involved were detailed and time consuming but the payoff is huge, Munoz says. The BostonCoach facility is up and running and already experiencing the many benefits of a green facility, he says.



BostonCoach contracted with an architectural firm professionally accredited as a green builder through the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) — a non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in building design through education and the development of programs such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The LEED program is a training, education, and certification process that architects complete in order to become accredited green builders.


“The program was developed in order to create a clear consensus on what a green building really is,” says Ashley Katz, a representative from USGBC. She believes that green buildings are the wave of the future for businesses — and homes — worldwide. She points to the alarming amount of impact that buildings have had on the environment and the number of legislative incentives that are on the books requiring conservation.


The USGBC also highlights some statistics on its website. In the United States alone, buildings account for:

65% of electricity consumption,

6% of energy use,

30% of greenhouse gas emissions,

30% of raw materials use,

30% of waste output (136 million tons annually), and

12% of potable water consumption.

Source: www.usgbc.com


“A green building is a profit for everyone — business and home owners, the environment, for health and productivity, and a healthy bottom line,” Katz says. “Green buildings reduce CO2 emissions and the huge impact of buildings on the environment.”



Munoz’s efforts to create a natural environment for BostonCoach from the “inside out” came to fruition through working closely with the LEED accredited architectural firm. “We had a desire to be as environmentally friendly as possible,” he says, “so working with the USGBC and LEED professionals made that a reality.”


Everything from the floors, to the water fixtures and windows in the company’s new 23,652-square-foot office space in Boston’s Seaport District, supports and promotes the green initiatives of BostonCoach and the USGBC. “We want to make sure that whatever we say we’re doing in terms of sustainability is what we’ve actually done,” Munoz says. “You can see it; you can touch it.”



Sustainability from the Ground Up: The floors at BostonCoach’s new headquarters are covered with carpeting that contains 40% recycled materials. The lumber of the floors built from wood is certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council, meaning it’s been from a sustainably-managed forest. For more information visit online at www.fscus.org.


Synthetic Walls Are Real Green: The 1,069 sheets of wallboard in the new office were made from synthetic gypsum, avoiding the need to mine more than 32 tons of sedimentary rock — that’s more than five times the marble in Michelangelo’s David, the company says. The wood studs behind the wallboard also are milled from Forestry Stewardship Council-certified trees.


Recycled and Recyclable Ceiling: The Optima ACT ceiling tiles that architects installed are manufactured from 40% recycled content and are 100% recyclable. The manufacturer, Armstrong, will reclaim the ceiling material when its useful life is over. The ceiling also reflects more illumination than a conventional one, reducing the power required for lighting and the cooling that regular lighting needs.

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