Finding Green Spaces in the Big Apple

In Southern California, there is ample open space where parks and other recreational areas are located. The urban space is reasonably horizontal and spread out with open areas for parking lots, big box retailers, parks, and other recreational areas such as soccer and baseball fields. There is a distinctive lack of tall buildings and dense development where I live, compared to other areas in the United States. When I visited New York for the first time, I was in awe of the height of buildings and the vertical density of development, which I was not accustomed to. This article takes a brief look at some open spaces located in New York— The High Line Park, Central Park, and Gotham Greens (a rooftop greenhouse)—that highlight the creative ways in which open space and nature are incorporated into an urban environment.

How the Retail Industry is Adapting to the Sustainability Agenda

Sustainability in the retail industry has evolved in recent years. As consumers become more conscious of their environmental impact, companies are also starting to adapt to sustainability trends. A company that adapts sustainability practices shows that it exists not only to gain profit and drive revenue growth; but also that they recognize their responsibility to be accountable to the community and the environment.

Sustainability in Action: Going Green in the Food Sector

Greening is good! As sustainability and population growth continue to shape the global corporate realm, businesses coming from various industries are also expected to adjust with the trend. In particular, the food sector can make significant contributions in reducing resource consumption, wastage and carbon footprint.

How a Growing Asia Can Become a “Greener” Asia

Over the past two decades, Asia has become a “source of strength” for the global economy; with many Asian countries growing at an unstoppable accelerated pace, driven by and benefiting businesses from every sector in the region. This growth is obviously seen in the increased productivity, trade and investments across Asian economies, and a growing middle class.

Historic Buildings and Environmental Sustainability

The prevalent idea among building owners is that old buildings are less energy-efficient and more costly — both financially and environmentally — to maintain. Destroying old buildings and constructing new ones therefore, seem more practical than repairing and maintaining old buildings. In the United States, an estimated one billion square feet of buildings are demolished and replaced annually. According to a projection by the Brookings Institution, 82 billion square feet of existing space will be demolished and replaced between 2005 and 2030 – representing about 25% of today’s existing building stock.

Energy Management Systems: Using Technology to Save on Costs

Recently, many businesses have come up with several significant trends of energy efficiency. These trends involve cost reduction, the tendency to opt for renewable energy, a steady rise in the number of companies who would rather generate their own energy, instilling green technology into their buildings’ infrastructure, and choosing more sustainable sources of energy (like natural gas). Managers and owners alike are challenged to apply these trends and other similar energy ideas into their business objectives, corporate strategies, and functional areas.

Sustainability Initiatives: Sleeping Tight in Eco-Hotels

Business travelers are keen to reduce their impacts on the environment by making the smart choice to stay at green-certified hotels. According to a recent survey by Timetric’s Global Business Traveler, “47 percent of survey respondents state that it is important to stay in a green certified hotel during a business trip, while 7 percent consider it to be extremely important”. Implementing sustainable practices is one way for hotels to cut down on operating costs, add more to their bottom line, and appeal to environmentally cognizant travelers. By building a new structure, or retrofitting an existing edifice to meet the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) or the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), hotel owners can lower their operating costs, attract these environmentally conscious business travelers and improve their relationship with the community and local government. Some hotels help preserve the environment by keeping linens on the beds for more than one day, saving hundreds of gallons of water used to launder them; or by simply hanging signs reminding patrons to shut off any electronic equipment when not in use. However, some hotels are taking it a step further. Take, for example, the four-star Hotel Landgut Borsig outside of Berlin. Their guests enjoy the same amenities offered by other hotels in the same league: comfortable yet luxurious mattresses, locally sourced gourmet meals, saunas or bread-making classes. The main difference between Landgut Borsig and other four-star hotels, is that they do not have a mini-bar. This is because the hotel is an almost zero-carbon hotel. It has taken steps towards producing its own energy by purchasing the surrounding forests as a means of neutralizing its carbon footprint. Another example is Vienna’s Hotel Stadthalle – touted to be the world’s first carbon-neutral city hotel. Here, the standard sustainable offerings include organic bed sheets and towels; food items whose ingredients you can trace back to the field they were planted in simply by reading the attached label; and in addition to this, the hotel’s toilets use collected rain water. Even stateside properties such as The Cove at Yarmouth Resort in Massachusetts have implemented changes for more efficient and effective energy management. The resort reduces its water and energy costs with the installation of new efficient hybrid water heaters that have led to a 12 percent savings. LED lights and variable speed air regulators have also helped lower energy usage. Larger, more established hotel chains such as the Hyatt, Marriott and InterContinental have also developed serious sustainability programs. Some hotels have even begun to use sustainable “green” room key cards. The Green-Key is an environmentally friendly alternative to the typical plastic keycard. Unlike plastic keycards, Green-Key is recyclable, biodegradable and produced from a renewable resource called paperboard. The paperboard resource makes the Green-Key an economical choice versus other high priced eco-friendly products. While there are skeptics who may believe that the sustainable efforts of these hotels are nothing more than “flowery” or “granola” nonsense, many within the hotel industry are recognizing that implementing these measures is good for business, not to mention it makes absolutely good business sense due to rising energy costs – which is generally a hotel’s largest expense. A hotel can become sustainable through a number of ways, including but not limited to: Sustainable supply chains for linens and other hotel supplies Locally sourced food items Efficient HVAC (Heating, Ventilation (architecture), and Air conditioning and Water Heating Systems Low flow water fixtures LED Lighting The hospitality industry has begun to recognize the social and economic benefit of creating a sustainable future and your business or organization can reap similar rewards by improving efficiency and productivity. Let FirstCarbon Solutions show you how advantageous it can be to move towards a sustainable future today. Our sustainability solutions enable you to monitor, manage, and report pertinent data quickly and cost-effectively, so you can enhance your operational efficiency. Our vast experience in working with various companies, organizations and government institutions ensures you have the right strategies and practices in place. We fully integrate consulting and software with superior capability in back-office data processing to give you well-rounded and the most effective solutions for sustainable profitability.

Bonds and Climate Change Services: Financing Green Infrastructures

Do bonds and climate change mix? In this blog, they do. Let me explain why. In a world where “sustainability” is the latest battle cry, anything that is green, organic, net-zero, sustainable, energy efficient and the like, are typically well received by the market at large. Now, for businesses, cities and national governments to make […]

Reduce Your Company’s Carbon Footprint with Green Technologies

Green technologies serve green purposes for the long term, especially when they involve clean energy.The most common example for green technology in this category is the solar cell. From its humble beginning when inventor Horace-Benedict de Saussure harnessed the power of the sun to create a solar oven, up to the present day where solar power is harvested by photovoltaic cells and converted into electricity; the idea of using sustainable and renewable energy sources as opposed to burning finite fossil fuels is what drives green technology.

Sustainability Matters: Brewing Sustainability

Since its inception in 2008, FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) has been dedicated to sustainability by assisting companies, governments, institutions and non-profit organizations manage their greenhouse gas emissions, monitor their energy consumption, and manage their supply chain. As a steward of the environment, FCS takes great pleasure in highlighting those who are equally passionate about ensuring a more sustainable future. To help spread the word about companies, organizations, and other entities that foster a sustainable mindset, FCS would like to introduce the Sustainability Matters series. The following article is the first in this ongoing series, which will focus on those who share a commitment to sustainability, the environment and our planet. Sometimes, the series will concentrate on those companies and organizations that conduct routine, everyday business in a unique, sustainable manner. Other times, the focus will be on those offering unique products and services in a sustainable fashion. Either way, FCS hopes that the Sustainability Matters series can open eyes to those striving to make a difference.

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