Volume 9, Issue 2 - February 2008

from the publisher

Green—Back to Basics
by Tara Taffera

This issue of DWM has two articles in contrast to one another—this column and the article regarding LEED for Homes found on page 22. That 7-page article talks about a numerous considerations that go into building a green home, including the choice of windows. 

With this column, it’s back to the basics—like recycling. If you want to go green, that’s probably the best, and easiest, place to start. For some, that’s easier said than done. When I wrote the article on LEED for Homes and found that a builder can earn points for employing strategies on the jobsite such as recycling, I immediately thought of the home we built last year. When we came to see the progress each week we were amazed at the cans and bottles strewn along the foundation. Not to mention that the dumpster was literally right in front of the house. Now let’s think of this in terms of the pay-it-forward principle. An environmentally friendly builder who teaches his employees to recycle is passing that principle on to his employees who may then practice these at home and who may then pass them on to others.

Before you say, “I already recycle,” and turn the page, stop for a second to think if that’s really the answer. Do you do it at home, at work?

We’ve recycled for years at home, but I realized we weren’t doing as much as we could at work. While our office recycles items like old magazines (thanks to our receptionist who took it upon herself to ensure this) we don’t do the same for the paper used (and a lot of it). It’s an easy fix—just put a few boxes around the office for employees to recycle their paper. Some people want to recycle but aren’t sure how. 

Last year, following an article published in DWM on green building, I received the following e-mail from Brent Thompson of Quality Screen and Glass Inc. in Fresno, Calif. 

“For a long time now we have been trying to find someone who will recycle our residential glass or even our ‘clean glass’ cutoffs.  Nobody wants the ‘used’ stuff or the new. We throw away dumpsters full of glass on a weekly basis, without any hope of finding someone to recycle it. It is sad.

We have started to sell the windows that we remove from homes, like the older wood sash windows. Our customers take them and paint scenery on them or will do a nice stained glass piece and in some cases have used them as poster frames or replaced the glass with mirror and hung it on their walls.

We have always recycled our aluminum screening products and always will.”

I e-mailed him again this past month to see if he had been able to find someone to recycle the glass. His response, “Not much has changed. We have been more vigilant in our efforts to see that the entire staff recycles their soda cans. Nobody is taking in used glass.”

So as your company talks to consumers about energy-efficient windows, take a good look and make sure you’re doing the “easy stuff” around the office.

P.S. If you have any ideas for Mr. Thompson please e-mail me. 


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