Green News Initiatives: Equipment, Education

Oct. 1, 2007
Here’s one material handling supplier’s take on creating greener products inside the building. Plus, more education for the educators.

A warehouse is not a structure generally associated with the terms “green” or “sustainable.” Yet, what once were buzzwords are now key issues in the world of industrial development—including the modern warehousing facility. Following the lead of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), warehouse customers are seeking ways to create more green buildings: redeveloping existing structures, using recycled or environmentally-conscious construction and lighting products, reducing emissions, installing renewable energy systems and exploring more efficient use of space and new technologies. Among the technologies available to the warehouse customer is Westfalia’s (York, Pa.) multipledeep automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS).While many AS/RS providers offer double-deep options, Westfalia offers systems that can store from one to 12 pallets deep.

With a multiple-deep AS/RS, customers can maximize available storage space with smaller building footprints, which results in less environmental impact to the surrounding area as well as construction savings. In terms of energy savings, a taller, more efficient warehouse saves up to 30% in cooling costs for refrigerated warehouses, while an automated warehouse requires less lighting. Patented regenerative braking on the company’s S/R machines pushes energy back to the grid, saving more money and reducing the facility’s carbon footprint.

An AS/RS can increase accuracy while reducing product damage, waste and labor costs, as well.

Educators Learn About Green Buildings The U.S. Green Building Council has launched a program to create healthy, efficient, green schools.

Dozens of architects, PTA presidents, school board members, school superintendents and others from across the country are ready to begin a grassroots effort to further the vision of green schools for every child within a generation.

Some 64 “Green School Advocates” from U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) chapters nationwide were in Washington recently to receive training to go back to their communities and organize green school committees. Local chapter “Green Schools Advocacy Committees” will work with decision makers, parents, teachers and others who are passionate about giving children the healthiest, safest places to learn and grow—all while saving school districts money, contributing toward mitigating climate change and improving the environment.

“The local USGBC chapters are a critical component in the council’s vision of green schools for every child within a generation,” says Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC’s president, CEOand founding chair. “There are now chapter members from across America who are engaging in local outreach and education.”

A 2006 study sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, the American Institute of Architects, the American Lung Association, the Federation of American Scientists and USGBC found that building green would save an average school $100,000 each year in energy costs alone—enough to hire two new additional full-time teachers, purchase 5,000 new textbooks or buy 500 new computers.

Green schools have a superior indoor environment, with clean, fresh air, free of dangerous chemicals from everyday products like carpets, paints and cleaning materials. They make use of as much natural daylight as possible, maximizing students’ ability to concentrate and stay physically and emotionally healthy, while at the same time, dramatically reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. On average, green schools use 33% less energy and 32% less water than conventional schools, which would bring the U.S. closer to reducing reliance on imported energy.

Green schools’ better lighting, temperature control, ventilation and indoor air quality contribute to reduced asthma, colds, flu and absenteeism, helping improve learning, test scores and lifetime student earnings. Greening all school construction would also create more than 2,000 new jobs each year from increased use of energy-efficient technologies. And, green schools improve teacher retention.

The new green-school advocates left Washington equipped with the knowledge and information they need to spread the word about green schools. They are more familiar with the USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Schools green rating system, which provides greenbuilding guidelines and offers third-party verification to ensure school stakeholders that their buildings incorporate the best in science, design and technology to make their schools truly green.

The LEED for Schools rating system was launched by the USGBC in the spring of 2007 and has currently certified 60 schools. Additionally, there are more than 350 school buildings that are in the LEED certification process and plan to certify upon completion of construction.