Thursday, July 26, 2007

Recycling Options Abound in SF Bay Area

The San Francisco bay area offers a wealth of options for disposing of waste.
Marisa Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, July 20, 2007

From San Francisco to Oakland to San Jose, recycling options in the region are some of the most eco-friendly available, experts say. Most cities and counties offer single-stream recycling -- you can throw all your recyclables in one bin -- and many are beginning to provide each home with a composting bin. Also, nearly all of the jurisdictions in the region have exceeded the state's mandate of a 50 percent diversion rate...

Read this complete story at

...and many others in the Chronicle's Green section:

Monday, July 16, 2007

What is our VISION?

What will Northgate be in the future?

We want to embody the principles of sustainability, but what is our vision for getting there?

At a recent Green Team meeting we asked ourselves what it will feel like when our vision becomes reality, from the perspective of our staff (people), our organizational structure/culture, our practices, our clients, our community, and the environment. From these perspectives we will shape the purpose of our sustainability strategy, define our vision, and learn how to get from our current to our future reality.

people - have the flexibility and energy to be creative and innovative, feel connected as a group/team/family, feel pride in "doing good"

organizational structure/culture - has 3 prongs: internal, external now (current clients/markets), external future (new clients/markets), is flexible and adaptive, understands what impacts our actions have, reaches out to the community, works toward a common goal, solves problems using a combined administrative, technological, and strategic approach

practices - external: forward-thinking and holistic, analyze resource use and environmental costs, consider long-term restoration and potential uses in all development/redevelopment projects, incorporate sustainable design whenever possible; internal: inclusive, opportunity-increasing, lead by example, "green" office practices (reduce, reuse, recycle, reclaim, refuse), move toward paperless project documentation, LEED APs

clients - fulfill regulatory and legal requirements, realize internal desire to "do what is right", increase profitability, increase marketability, improve their reputation, reduce long-term costs, reduce long-term liabilities

community - trusts us, feels inspired, knows that we value their interests, is healthy and knows that we act to protect their health, knows that we care

environment - is protected for the future, sees a real net benefit, is less competitive, sees more infilling and less sprawl, is restored

purpose - eliminate prioritizing and trade offs from the environmental impact of our actions on our receptors so that each receptor sees a benefit or a "win", have a healthy and happy work environment, be leaders, increase capital (natural, financial, intellectual, human, social, cultural) internally and externally, return blight to beauty

what would YOU add to this list?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustain what??? For what or for whom? And, for how long?

There are many definitions of sustainability:
- meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
- ensuring an equitable and healthy future for all people and the planet
- using natural capital at a rate that does not exceed the rate of resource regeneration

...but what does sustainability mean to you?

Monday, July 9, 2007 Magazine

Cover Story, July 9 2007
Walking the Walk, Firms Lighten Up Their Environmental Loads
Construction industry companies of all sizes are turning shades of green, implementing internal sustainability practices that range from recycling paper to building LEED-platinum headquarters buildings. They are driven by an assortment of ethical, economic and marketing factors, but whatever their reasons, the shift is resulting in a change in construction's workplace environment and attitudes. Read the full story at