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Posted by: harrisandyou | July 26, 2012

Cradle to Cradle

I recommend the book “Cradle to Cradle” by William McDonough & Michael Braungart to anyone that is interested in learning about zero waste and reducing our carbon footprint.  The book will make you think about how people, builders, developers need to rethink what materials they use, where they build and how it will affect the environment.

In Chapter 3 the authors mention the building they designed for Herman Miller the office furniture manufacturer.  The building has windows that open, to let the air in and the night air cools the building reducing the need for air conditioning. They added skylights to let natural light in to reduce the need for electric lights. The building was designed to let the outdoors in and give the workers a sense of working outside.  It sounds like a great place to work!

The offices that I have worked in very rarely had windows throughout the whole building and they certainly did not open.  If more buildings were designed like the building mentioned above I think employees would be happier and more productive. The cost was only 10% higher than “the cost to erect a standard prefabricated metal factory building.” The cost is usually what will stop the company from building a more sustainable design.  However if they look at all the benefits: happier employees, increased production, a cleaner and healthier environment and the building would pay for itself.  The business would save money from the reduction in air conditioning and electricity.  When driving around our community it would be nice to see buildings like the Herman Miller building instead of the concrete run of the mill buildings most cities have.

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