It's the Environment, Stupid.

Friday, December 08, 2006

NRDC Green Office Tour

I had the opportunity this week to tour the Natural Resources Defense Council offices in NYC. (Actually, anyone can take a tour, just call ahead to schedule.)

NRDC has been around since the 1970's working on environmental litigation and policy from resource conservation, to energy, to pollution. Their NYC offices have been green before one could certify oneself green, mainly because they saw the benefits of savings on their utility bills.

Having office space in an existing building can pose problems to those wanting to 'green' up their space, as it is often difficult to have control over certain features of the building, such as heating, cooling and ventilation systems or how the building is situated on the site or within surrounding areas.

However there are things that can be done to maximize the efficiency of the space, as NRDC as proven. They occupy the top four floors and created an internal staircase to create additonal light and openness within the office. They also replaced all of the exterior windows with high-performance, floor to ceiling windows to maximize the daylight coming in. Most of the perimeter offices have windows facing in so that daylight gets to the interior spaces and other workareas. All of their lighting systems are either on motion sensor or are separated out for maximum control over usage. Carpet and other insulation is used to help maintain and regulate the temperature and the levels are set for maximum comfort level during the work day.

Aside from the structural features, the NRDC office has centralized some of their internal printing capabilities to minimize on waste and duplicate services. They properly dispose of toner cartridges and computer monitors and other items. They have recycling and composting in their kitchens and paper recycling at each desk.

NRDC recently renovated one of their floors to include many more green features and materials, such as motion sensored faucets with temperature control and low flush toilets with multiple flush options (although without proper signage, as my tour guide noted, it wasn't clear how one could fully take advantage of the features of the technology.)

The NRDC offices across the country are also very green - in fact the San Francisco location scored a LEED Platinum rating.

Check out:
Other green office tours I've taken - Cook + Fox
The green office lens

photo from


  • Bravo to NRDC! It's only right that they're at the forefront of setting a good example in making office spaces green. Not all companies may not be able to afford the renovations they did to maximize energy conservation, but simple measures can still be practices to contribute to the advocacy.

    By Anonymous Clinton Harvin, at 21:49  

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