A greener building 
From reducing paper use to purchasing green office furniture, there are plenty of ways to make the interior of your office green. But have you thought about the exterior of your building and the actual physical structure and location of your office? Here are a couple of interesting ideas to make the outside just as green as the inside.

A proponent of reducing energy consumption in buildings, Peter Chee is using thermal imaging to help reduce his carbon footprint. The CEO of Thinkspace in Redmond, Wash., has a neat blog post about this technique and a photo of his building indicating where heat is leaking out – mostly around windows and doors.

Photo courtesy/gabofr/Flickr

We all love a window-filled office space – not to mention how the natural light can reduce the use of electricity – but it’s easy for warm or cool air to slip out around those windows.

You might want to consider taking a thermal image of your building, particularly if it’s older. Or think about having an energy audit. Some organizations offer these for free. For example, non-residential customers interested in California Solar Initiative incentives will receive a free energy audit from the California Center for Sustainable Energy to determine if they qualify for the program.

If you’re considering purchasing or leasing new office space, make a stop at Optimal Home Location. Geared toward individuals, we think businesses could make good use of this green tool too. You enter addresses of places you visit frequently – work, school, daycare, the gym – and the Web site offers up an “optimal home location.” This is best place for you to live based on commuting and green living.

This is a great tool to share with your green employees who might be considering a move. Figure out the best and shortest commute, which saves gas and your sanity because you’re not spending hours in traffic. Find neighborhood amenities and determine how you could walk to restaurants, entertainment venues and the local Starbucks. This is great for businesses whose employees would like to walk to lunch spots, the dry cleaners or just get some fresh air and take a stroll.

Here’s an interesting commuting tidbit from the Web site: “10 extra miles per day means around 100 additional hours and $700 more in gas price per year.” Wow. That extra $700 would come in handy for other green initiatives, such as weatherizing leaky windows and doors.

Today’s Green Thumbs Up goes to MassMutual, which has started the application process to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings certification for its headquarters in Springfield, Mass. The company will replace more than 500 plumbing fixtures and create more efficient lighting, making its 1.4 million square-foot facility super green. In addition to green water chillers and a more energy-efficient data center, MassMutual plans to purchase eco-friendly office furniture. Seeing how that’s our business, we give a Green Thumbs Up to MassMutual!

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