San Diego Loves Green 

Check out this awesome website we found called San Diego Loves Green! The site was designed to promote eco-conscious lifestyles within the San Diego area, and is packed with useful information for both citizens and business owners alike. It includes the following features for users to browse:

*Business Directory
*Expert Advice and Information
*Event Calendar
*Message Boards
*Classified Ads
*Bi-monthly Newsletter
*Community Outreach and Development

The web portal was designed by Dawn Parker-Waites and Tawnia King, two "eco-preneurs" committed to transforming the business industry to become more environmentally friendly. Dawn Parker-Waites formed the group in an effort to make information more easily accessible. As it says on the website,

"After conducting a thorough search and realizing it was a lot of work just to locate specific details on local issues like proper recycling, disposing of hazardous household wastes such as batteries and CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps/light bulbs), simple ways to conserve water, energy incentives and programs, advice on greening a home not to mention local green businesses and what they were doing for the environment, Parker-Waites committed then and there to create a comprehensive place for the San Diego community to easily find all things Green."

Here at Green Office Projects, we’re excited about the chance to utilize such a valuable resource. It is networking projects like these that help to advance the causes of the green movement, and make a difference in our home and office practices today.

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News of the Green 
We’d venture to say that Wal Mart possibly is one of the largest “consumers” of plastic bags on the planet. Not that Wal Mart itself uses the bags, or course, but gives them to customers at checkout.

Well, on September 25, Wal-Mart announced that the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) will serve as the retail giant’s “environmental partner in the Global Plastic Shopping Bag Waste Reduction Commitment.... “EDF will help Wal-Mart develop reduction, reuse and recycling strategies as well as monitor efforts to reduce plastic shopping bag waste by an average of one-third per store from 2008 levels by 2013.”

What that means, should Wal-Mart and EDF succeed, is that 9 billion plastic shopping bags will be eliminated. Gone. Disappeared. Never again to waft across highways, litter beaches and fill up landfills.

As good as this news is – and don’t get us wrong, it is good news – it’s estimated that humans use four trillion plastic shopping bags worldwide each year.

(To get an idea of the massiveness of that number, here are some fun facts: One billion is the equivalent of 1,000 millions. One thousand millions. And one trillion is equal to 1,000 billion. To put it in some human perspective, a million days have yet to pass since Jesus Christ was born more than 2000 years ago: 2008 times 365 equals 732,920 days.

We’re a little late on this, but a big shout out to the U.S. Green Building Council’s 2008 Green Building grant competition for awarding $2 million in grants to 13 companies on September 11. The winners will share a $2 million pool of grant monies, with individual grants ranging from $90K-$250K.

Grant winners included competitors whose projects included “a green roof energy calculator [and] and improved porous pavement system for stormwater management.”

To see the complete list of grant winners and their projects, check out this list.

Lastly, we just know you’ve got a hankering to know which American city Fast Company believes the “greenest” in the nation. Are you ready to the news?

Grand Rapids, Michigan gets top green honors!

According to an article on the USGBC’s website, the magazine says Grand Rapids

leads the nation in the number of LEED-certified buildings per capita. In 2005, Mayor George Hartwell pledged that more
than 20% of the city’s power would come from renewable sources by 2008; it hit that target a year early, and Heartwell
upped the target to 100% by 2020.

The municipal government's energy use has been cut by more than 10%. The public-transit fleet features hybrid buses. And
here, in the heart of the Rust Belt, manufacturers are leading the greenification charge. Office-furniture heavyweights
Herman Miller and Steelcase both have LEED-certified buildings in the area, as do industrial firms such as Cascade

Well, then, a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Grand Rapids! Not that we’ll be moving there anytime soon. After all, today, October the high was 70 degrees. Grand Rapids? 69. But by January, we expect highs around 68 degrees. Grand Rapids? The average January temperature is 29 degrees.

Still, big congratulations are in order for Grand Rapids. Cities can cut down their carbon footprint!

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New Store Joins San Diego's Green Office Team 

A press release published on Saturday announced the opening of a new green office store in the San Diego area. Shore Total sells office products and furniture that are made of over 90% recycled material, and are 100% eco-friendly. Vice President Alan Lopez is currently expecting to obtain his certification for "green building consulting" in early 2009, and works to provide consultations for business people interested in reducing waste and pollution while at work.

"We are starting our own little ‘Green-Volution’ here at our store in San Diego," says Lopez, V.P. of Business Operations. "If we set an example by providing refurbished office furniture that is high in quality and keeps its durability for years to come, we have kept our commitment to making green offices available to everyone."

Shore Total is just one of the many new green office stores to open in San Diego, and the company looks forward to joining the ranks among the city's most established and prestigious businesses. As the green market continues to grow, San Diego is likely to see hordes of new office stores popping up. Shore Total is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, which Green Office Projects wrote about in this recent blog.

It looks like now, it's easier than ever to green your office space and contribute to eco-friendly practices. We look forward to seeing what other projects will pop up in the coming years. Stay tuned for more developments within San Diego's green office sector!

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San Diego Green Building Council 

Interested in learning more about the newest green office buildings being constructed in and around San Diego? Check out the San Diego Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. The group was formed in order to influence the design of new buildings in order to make them LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified, and has completed over 19 projects thus far.

The group currently consists of over 335 members dedicated to improving the quality of life for office workers and residents living in the San Diego area. It regularly holds workshops, seminars, and meetings for professionals interested in getting involved with the project. Its annual San Diego Green conference is a leader in green fundraising, and collected a total of over $41,000 dollars at its 2007 event.

According to the group's website, properly built LEED certified buildings can reduce waste by up to 50%. The improved air and water quality of the buildings generally saves companies around $58 billion in sick pay, and have also been shown to increase worker productivity by $180 billion.

Major events coming up in 2008 include the 1 Year After the Fires GreenMeet on October 15th, as well as the GreenBuild 2008 event taking place on November 19th in Boston, MA. December 1st will round out the year with a Winter Gala. New members can choose from a number of different committees to join, including Finance, Advocacy, and Marketing. Interested individuals can follow this link to learn more about membership options.

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News of the Green 
Would you recycle more if you could actually see the results of placing your paper and plastic products in the blue recycling receptacles that seem to be ubiquitous around the office today?

If you live in Britain, seems you would be. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP – and why couldn’t we Americans have come such a lovely and clever acronym for a recycling effort?) surveyed more than 1,500 households across the Pond and found there were "four main barriers to recycling."

Respondents told surveyors they don’t recycle because it’s inconvenient, they’re too busy and they don’t know what can be recycled or not. Another reason cited was respondents’ “attitudes and perceptions towards the act of recycling.”

But most – 86 percent – said they would “be encouraged” to recycle if they “saw the practical impact of their efforts in the local area.”

Makes sense. After all, I’ll continue to cut back on my food intake if I see that the numbers on my bathroom scale are declining. I’ll keep going to the gym for some weight resistance training if I can easily heft the eight-pound box of detergent instead of huffing and puffing up my porch lugging the three-pounder. I’ll keep practicing my free throws if I see the ball swish through the hoop more often than not. In other words, if I see results I'll keep on doing what what I'm doing.

And I’ll bundle up my paper products and trundle the big blue recycling container to the curb more often if my local collector continues to let me know how many trees I saved by doing so.

However, over here in the States, it appears our enthusiasm for buying green ebbs and flows depending on how flush we feel budget-wise (thank you

Going Green, an annual report examining how much consumers actually care about green issues,
indicates that Echo Boomers (ages 16-29) and GenXers (ages 30-43) are more concerned about
the environment compared to a year ago. But while interest in green issues continues to grow,
consumers' willingness to pay more for green alternatives has decreased, according to the

Much as we “don’t” want to admit it, this makes sense: When things are tight, smart folks do think of cutting back and purchasing just the essentials. But that doesn’t mean green products are more expensive than other products – that just isn’t automatically so.

(Illustration by Holly Linden and courtesy

But, switching gears to a more upbeat note, it appears that Realtors may now take a course that will help them understand green building, why building sustainable homes and office complexes is important, and that will allow them the opportunity to list and market green homes and buildings. The course is named the Green Designation Core Course.

To quote a line from the story: “This program is yet another indication that real estate investors see value in building – and buying – greener properties.”

Taking such a course could only serve to help a Realtor market and sell more properties. In this hyper-competitive real estate market, we certainly tip our hats to any enterprising Realtor who takes the initiative to study for that “green designation.”

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