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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an idea that corporations have to consider the interests of customers, employees, shareholders, communities, and ecological considerations in all
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green@work : Magazine : Back Issues : Sep/Oct 2007 : Newslines

Actions and initiatives worth noting

ClearV-Kool 70 Window Product Reduces Solar Heat

V-Kool 70 clear applied window film, a new product designed to reduce solar heat and ultraviolet radiation without significantly reducing visible light or changing the appearance of existing glass, blocks unwanted heat better than many tinted or mirrored films, the company recently said.

V-Kool is installed by professional installers at an installed-per-square-foot cost of between $9 and $12 depending on the size and difficulty of the job. The film has reduced the use of air conditioning and energy in thousands of homes as well as in such landmark buildings as the former headquarters of Montgomery Ward in Chicago, the American Institute of Architects’ building in Washington and on the campus of Stanford University.

V-Kool, Inc., is a sales and marketing distribution company of spectrally selective applied films for architectural, automotive and specialized vehicular applications.

To find out more, call (800) 217-7046 or visit V-Kool Inc. at

United Community Bank Offering Loan Incentive for Green Construction

United Community Bank-Savannah (Ga.) recently announced a special offer to support sustainable development practices. The bank is offering property owners, qualified builders and general contractors a 25-basis-point reduction in construction financing for any commercial or residential project that achieves sustainable Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council or EarthCraft certification from Southface Energy Institute.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. EarthCraft—a partnership between the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, Southface, and government and industry partners—is a green building program that serves as a blueprint for healthy, comfortable homes that reduce utility bills and protect the environment.

“In the spirit of stewardship and sustainability, United Community Bank-Savannah wants to do its small part to promote a greener, healthier approach to development … an approach that fosters better stewardship of our limited natural resources,” said United Community Bank-Savannah President Mike Lee. “The longterm ‘greening’ of our communities must begin one person and one structure at a time.

”House Passes Solis’ Green Jobs Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved the Green Jobs Act of 2007, legislation introduced by Congresswoman Hilda L. Solis (D-California) to help train American workers for jobs in the renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries—industries that are key to U.S. and world efforts to combat global warming. The bill was passed as part of H.R. 3221, the New Direction for Energy Independence, National Security and Consumer Protection Act.

“This legislation is an opportunity to advance not only the energy security of our nation, but also the economic security of our families,” Solis said. “Through targeted job training efforts, we can support both our nation’s innovation and technological leadership, and lift people out of poverty.”

The Green Jobs Act authorizes up to $125 million in funding to establish national and state job-training programs, administered by the U.S. Department of Labor, to help address job shortages that are impairing growth in green industries, such as energy-efficient buildings and construction, renewable electric power, energy-efficient vehicles and biofuels development. It also helps to identify and track the new jobs and skills needed to grow the renewable-energy and energy-efficiency industries. Among other things, this effort would link research and development in the green industry to job standards and training curricula.

WRI Staying on Cutting Edge of Green Building Design

The World Resources Institute (WRI) is one of a small number of projects in the Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia region to receive an elite award for incorporating energy-efficient and environmentally friendly design and construction aspects into its newly expanded office space, the organization announced.

WRI, which conducts original environmental research and analysis, has completed expansion of its office space on the seventh and eighth floors at its building near Washington, D.C.’s Union Station. The seventh-floor expansion has been awarded a Gold status for LEED-Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI). The rating system measures factors such as efficiency of water usage, energy performance of lighting, indoor environmental quality, Forest Stewardship Council-certified millwork and furniture, and comprehensive emissions criteria.

“In the next year, quite a few similar projects will be certified because many architects and builders are quickly becoming more in-tune with and capable of achieving these standards,” said Dave Bloom of Envision Design, the architecture firm for the project. “But WRI is truly cutting-edge when it comes to green design.”

Added Nancy Kiefer, director of facilities and office services at WRI, “We set the bar very high back when our original space was designed, and this project gave us the opportunity to emphasize WRI’s commitment to walk the talk as an environmental organization.”
Visi content_text.cfm?ContentID=2037 for a virtual tour of WRI’s green office.

Google Investing $10 Million to Boost Hybrid Autos

As part of its RechargeIT initiative announced in June, Google’s philanthropic arm is planning to invest $10 million in companies that help speed up widespread use of plug-in hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technologies.

In early September, Google issued a request for investment proposals to for-profit companies for amounts between $500,000 and $2 million. Google encouraged companies such as an early-stage technology venture that wants to develop and commercialize a new type of battery or one that can adapt an existing product to address one of these markets to apply.

Proposals will be judged on potential for mass commercialization of the product or service and team assessment. Other factors include potential impact on industry-wide commercialization of these markets, quality of planning and understanding of market, potential for raising additional funding, and potential of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Proposals were to be received by Oct. 22.

Homestreet Bank to Offer Eco-Program for Small Businesses

Seattle-based HomeStreet Bank will present an educational series to help small- and large-sized businesses, individuals and homeowners soften their environmental footprint, the bank recently announced.

HomeStreet will present the free Living Green Series in three parts. For businesses, the bank will focus on ways they can lower their use of resources without sacrificing profits.

“As we learn more about the impact we have upon our planet’s environment, it is more important than ever that we also educate ourselves about the choices available to us as businesses and as consumers,” said HomeStreet Bank Chairman and CEO Bruce Williams in a statement. “In the Puget Sound region, we are fortunate to have individuals and businesses willing to share their expertise on ways in which we can reduce our environmental impact. The Living Green Series provides us with an opportunity to learn from these experts.”

The business-oriented program, called Working Green, is co-sponsored by the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and HomeStreet Bank, which is the largest privately owned bank in Western Washington. The series also will include “Buying Green – The Consumer’s Response to Global Warming and Toxics” and “Green Home Remodeling.”

Staples, Fedex Kinko’s Top Green Scorecard

Office supply retailers have taken strides to increase recycled-paper use, and commit to sustainable logging management and other environmental issues, a recent report found.

Of the top five U.S. office retailers, Staples and FedEx Kinko’s received the highest marks, with each scoring a “B” in the corresponding scorecard released by the environmental groups ForestEthics and Dogwood Alliance. Office Depot, Corporate Express and OfficeMax rounded out the top five companies examined. The groups have tracked the environmental practices of the office supply sector since 2000.

“The office supply sector has finally begun to make its paper supply more environmentally friendly,” said Andrew Goldberg, Dogwood Alliance’s director of corporate engagement, in a statement. “Where just a few years ago you could not find paper with recycled content, now it’s readily available. That’s a good first step, but these companies must sharpen their pencils and use their purchasing power to reform business-as-usual industrial logging and bring about improved management practices on the ground in the Endangered Forests of the U.S. South, North America’s Great Boreal Forest and other parts of the world.”

The report card reflects the progress the companies have made following ongoing discussions with the two environmental groups. It is broken into five categories: post-consumer recycled content use, protection of endangered forests, commitment to sustainable forest management, chain-of-custody system, and discouragement of converting native forests into tree farms or non-forest land uses.

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