Ever wonder what it's like to work at a cleaning company? Probably not, I'm guessing, but at the very least it's gotta be clean. 'Clean' for method means a lot of things but healthy and sustainable is definitely high on the list. Oh, spotless. Messy on the other hand, is not.
At our offices, we follow the LEED Green Building Rating System for guidance on how we keep clean and green workspaces. This is a voluntary rating system that evaluates the environmental performance of a building over its life cycle. Like LEEDS we look a five categories:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy & Atmosphere
- Materials & Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
Indoor Environmental Quality: Carpeting
We chose to use Interface Carpeting in our office not only for the design aesthetic but also because Interface is at the forefront of the corporate sustainability movement. Interface, like method, has a goal of leaving no environmental footprint behind. Believe it or not, by choosing Interface Carpeting we are actually helping to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Indoor Environmental Quality: Non-VOC Paint and Sealer
Indoor air is three times more polluted then outdoor air and is considered by the EPA to be one of the top five hazards to human health. Paint and floor sealers release low level toxic emissions into the air for years after application. For this reason we chose to use LifeMaster No-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) paint and a non-VOC floor sealer on our bamboo floors that do not outgas, thus enhancing the quality of air in our office.
Indoor Environmental Quality: Light and Ventilation
We looked for an office with a lot of natural light, to allow us to use fewer lights bulbs. We use florescent lights that are energy efficient and on timers so that they are never accidentally left on. Natural ventilation through windows allow us to reduce our reliance on mechanical ventilation systems.
Sustainable Site: 637 Commercial Street
We chose to locate our business in downtown San Francisco because we love the location. True, there is no parking for employees, but we try to promote alternative transportation. We have a bike rack in the building. We also offer Commuter Checks as a benefit, so employees who use public transportation get to pay for it with pre-tax dollars.
Materials & Resources: Construction
During the construction process we made it a point to recycle as much material as possible. We estimate that more than 90% of the debris that was removed from the old space was recycled and not taken to a landfill. This included the old carpeting, which was sent back to Interface (the manufacturer) and recycled.
Water conservation is top of mind in both our office practices, as well as with the products we make. We encourage our employees to turn off the faucet when washing their hands and only to run the dishwasher when it is entirely full. Many of our products are also designed to work without the use of water, like our non-toxic floor cleaners, or are formulated to work especially well with “High Efficiency” (HE) machines, like our laundry detergent.
Energy & Atmosphere: Energy Star Equipment
In our office we use only Energy Star-rated equipment, when the option is available to us. That means that in 2006, along with other Energy Star users, method helped prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those produced by 23 million vehicles. We also have our lights set on automatic timers, and we are careful about turning off our computers and electrical equipment when we leave work.
While these might not seem like earth-moving practices, every little bit counts. If you ask the our office worms, we're sure they'd agree. We keep a small farm of them in our kitchens to help us compost our organic materials.