Earth Day: the interplay of sustainability and wellness

0 CommentsBy

In nearly 195 countries around the globe, Earth Day provides companies with an opportunity to merge corporate strategy, brand and reputation, environmental stewardship, community affairs and employee engagement, all in one activity, on one day – April 22.  Earth Day grew from the idea that if enough people were aware of environmental issues and vocal about their concerns, it would force environmental protection into the political agenda. It’s also a day for people to reflect on the ways the environment impacts us and why sustainability is such a priority.

shutterstock_513233866Sustainability goes well beyond saving trees and recycling. The United Nations Development Programme has identified 17 Sustainable Development Goals that are focused on protecting the planet and its resources in ways that are crucial to our survival as well. We need air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat – and a planet that can provide those things for us in the long term.

Beyond simple survival, humans benefit from being in a natural environment – sure, we need trees and plants for photosynthesis to clean the air and provide oxygen, but it goes even further. Consider Shinrin-Yoku, or Forest Bathing. This involves visiting a forest for relaxation and breathing in the essential oils produced by trees. These oils, called phytoncides, are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds which may provide health benefits to humans as well as trees. In a 2010 study conducted across 24 forests in Japan, the subjects who participated in forest bathing had lower blood pressure, heart rate and concentrations of salivary cortisol — a stress hormone — when compared with those who walked through a city setting.… Read More

Navigating the journey to a carbon-neutral campus

0 CommentsBy

shutterstock_478513852For university leaders, committing to a carbon-neutral campus is easier said than done. While carbon neutrality is an ambitious goal, JLL’s new report reveals that it is achievable for U.S. universities. And environmental sustainability isn’t just on the minds of leaders in higher education; sustainable campuses have emerged as a major factor in student and faculty recruitment.

That being said, achieving carbon neutrality is a journey that requires constant diligence. The good news is that there’s a vast array of solutions and technologies to help. Wherever an institution is on this journey, there are universal practices that can be applied to further its environmental sustainability goals. Here are just a few of the measures university leaders can apply to ensure their commitment to building a sustainable campus:… Read More

Digital marketplace changes the game for solar energy consumers

0 CommentsBy

In an alternative to power plants, Australia is instead looking to widespread rooftop solar panels as a way of generating electricity. It’s part of a new peer-to-peer network model that allows consumers to participate in the distribution of energy.

The system creates an incentive for businesses and home owners to embrace renewable power, said JLL Australia Sustainability Director Simone Concha. “In turn this benefits everyone, not just those profiting from it, due to less taxpayer… Read More

Thinking small for big impact: powering a green future with microgrids

0 CommentsBy

Though still sparsely utilized due to the infancy of the concept, microgrids are seeing a surge in growth as they offer unique opportunities to harness green energy.

Microgrids—a small power system that can operate independently of the macrogrid—use less than 0.2 percent of all U.S. electricity, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. However, that capacity is expected to more than double by 2020, as certain states create funding opportunities and attract developers.

iStock_000074821533_LargeThese self-contained power systems can light up commercial facilities, residential neighborhoods or remote communities. They can operate on a range of sources, including emerging technologies like fuel cells and modular nuclear reactors and are able to harness the power of on-site energy by collecting the heat from a nuclear reactor or the wind or sunlight over surrounding land. Using renewable resources, the microgrid can generate zero-emission electricity. And finally, the microgrid can keep running when storms or blackouts cause the macrogrid to lose power.

Most microgrids are located in seven states—Alaska, California, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. In Brooklyn, a project is moving forward to power a low-income housing community with a lithium-ion-battery microgrid. A public-private development in Denver is using a solar-powered microgrid. And another public-private partnership in Maryland is developing two microgrids to power county facilities.

Because microgrids are a relatively new concept, they face unique financial and legal hurdles. … Read More

Earth Hour: Dimming commercial building lights for a brighter future

1 CommentBy

03_eh-60-logo_stacked-clr_jpegEarth Hour is the largest grassroots movement focused on building awareness of climate change. The movement, which encourages people to limit their use of electricity for one hour, has empowered people around the globe to mobilize – in person and online – in support of fighting climate change. From its humble origins in 2007 as a one-city event in Sydney, the movement organized by the World Wildlife Fund has grown steadily each year, and spread to 178 countries across seven continents by 2016.

This year marks the eleventh annual Earth Hour celebration. On March 25 at 8:30 p.m. your local time, millions of people will turn off their lights for one hour to promote a more sustainable future for our planet. In more dramatic fashion, countries and organizations will show their support by turning off the lights on hundreds of historic landmarks and monuments. Last year the Eiffel Tour, the Sydney Opera House, the Parthenon in Athens, and the Empire State Building all went dark for Earth Hour.

Earth Hour is an important reminder of the impact real estate has on the environment. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, commercial and residential buildings in the U.S. consume 39 percent of the country’s total energy consumption and account for 38 percent of carbon dioxide emissions – one of the primary greenhouse gases that cause global warming. In addition to increasing carbon emissions, the growth of our cities is causing harmful light pollution. A number of companies and cities that have participated in Earth Hour used the event as a launching pad for other energy management and sustainable efforts.… Read More