We just started our free trial of the LEED Dynamic Plaque. It all came about because there is an inexpensive VOC monitor now available, Foobot. It's also a CO2 and particulate monitor. CO2 and VOC reporting are required for the LEED Dynamic Plaque. We're a Beta tester for Foobot because we are a NEST Dealer. So far it has been working well and we look forward to learning more about the indoor air quality over time in our office. Our visitors are amazed the technology exists and the Foobot has a prominent place in the breathing zone of our conference room. Its rythmic blue pulse, like breathing, indicates the air is good, it will glow orange if there are particulates, too much CO2 or VOCs in the environment. The device is managed from your smart phone.
We're not doing very well with the Energy category. We're worse that even the local average and the office was built in 2004. I'm afraid we like our airconditioning too much besides the fact that we turn the HVAC off after hours and on the weekend. The plants don't like that and we're in the process of finding ones that can tolerate wide temperature swings. Of course, there may be a problem with our office envelop and then we will be encouraged to do something about it. We already made sure the windows were closed tightly.
Here we do very well. We have one of the few integrated gray water hand washing basins over our water closet. It's an inexpensive fixture and it got us another 10% in water savings. My figures are just a guestimate for now because our water doesn't have a separate meter. We're looking for an inexpensive meter for that. If you know of one, please let us know.
What fun it is to now measure our waste stream, just like EBOM has to do. Doing it every month will provide an incentive to reduce waste. Since we write many articles for technical trade journals, we have a lot of magazines delivered every day. We're in the process of cancelling duplicates and moving to getting the issues digitally.
Every month we survey our employees about their tranportation methods to the office. We will be able to see the difference when one of us rides a bike, purchases an energy efficient vehical or moves closer to the office in downtown Cincinnati.
What's Human Experience our vistors ask. A very compelling name for the category. It's new to LEED to have day to day measurement. It's only with low cost sensors like Foobot that the general public would be able to have a LEED Dynamic Plaque. We jumped right on it. In our small conference room the CO2 levels can easliy get above 1000 parts per million. Then we have to unfortunately open a window. We'd rather have a small window air-to-air heat exchange ventilator. None exist. We noticed that when we were spraying our Shaklee Basic-H2 Degreaser diluted solution on the glass conference table the Foobot glowed orange. It went quickly away but you get the idea. It's measuring particluate matter in the indoor air. We haven't had a Volatile Organic Compound event. If you want to learn more about Shakley Basic-H2 Degreaser go to the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition's non-profit Shaklee distributor site. Any purchase will benefit Greater Cincinnati Earth Day.
Is it worth it?
You can't change what you don't measure. Sustainability is about measurable environmental benefit. A lot of small changes will add up to big effects. Right now we are only ranking LEED Gold but that's perfectly alright. The conversation and the education that goes on around the LEED Dynamic Plaque is worth more that the stack of documenation we have in the closet from our LEED Platinum Certification. What good does that do anyone? Get in touch and we'll show you.