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Increasing numbers of building owners, tenants going green

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A decade ago, the concept of green buildings was hard to define and difficult to put into practice. However, more and more buildings are registering for certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System from the U.S. Green Building Council.

From reflective roofs and energy-efficient windows to flexible access floors and personal comfort controls, innovative technologies and materials are creating new buildings, or renovated buildings, that are more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly, as well as a smart long-term investment. Combined with energy conservation programs, such as Energy Star, natural landscaping, water-saving equipment, and state-of-the-art HVAC and indoor air quality controls, property owners are making great strides in their efforts to go green.

Additionally, high-performance green enhancements create documented value for tenants while enhancing working environments and productivity.

Tenants are also playing a more active role in the green building movement as an increasing number of businesses make environmentally sound adjustments to their day-to-day operations. Not only do these changes benefit the environment, but they can also save companies hundreds of dollars annually.

Here are a few ways tenants can help make office buildings a little greener:

? Arrange for interoffice memos to be routed from person to person, rather than making numerous copies.

? Use the other side of discarded copies for writing notes, messages and other correspondence. Place a recycling box next to the copy machine to collect unusable copies and encourage employees to reuse on the good side.

? Take discarded office paper home for use as message pads near the phone, or for the kids to use as drawing paper.

? Save paper by photocopying on both sides of a page.

? Use the computer to deliver messages via company e-mail or the Internet, instead of creating paper messages.

? Don't throw away a computer disk containing information that is no longer needed, erase the disk and use it again.

? Use a coffee mug instead of a plastic foam cup.

? Use a permanent or reusable coffee filter, such as one with fine metal mesh.

? Use pens that take refills or new cartridges instead of disposable pens.

? When buying lunch "to go," ask the wait staff not to wrap it in a bag if it isn't necessary.

? Avoid taking unnecessary handfuls of napkins at the lunch counter.

? Turn off the water after washing hands in the restroom or kitchen, and report leaky faucets immediately.

? Turn off the lights when leaving a room.

? If there's a draft coming through closed windows in the winter, let the maintenance staff know, to avoid wasting valuable heating fuel.

? Make arrangements to recycle corrugated cardboard boxes.

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