All posts by Lynn Kraft

How Much Are You Willing to Pay?

We are considering building a LEED certified office/training/storage facility onto an existing garage. Seems like a good idea to be part of something that contributes to the well-being of the environment.

A friend who manages at a local lumber yard just attended a seminar on the LEED program and informs me that using LEED certified construction materials may cost 4 or 5 times what the everyday product does. Same grove of trees, but one is tree is LEED approved by being processed at a certified mill and one is just cut down and sawn into lumber for the masses. The LEED tree is much more expensive to use than the other one and raises the cost of construction. So, too, with other materials.

I’m not sure what the reason is for this added expense. Both trees were living and now are dead. Both trees were dropped with gas fueled chain saws and hauled away with big diesel powered skidders to diesel run trucks that took them over asphalt-paved roads to the petroleum fired saw mill. If you can’t see a whole lot of ecological advantage of one tree treatment as opposed to the other, you are not alone.

The paper work involved must be the cause of the extra cost, but what on earth do you have to do to certify that a dead tree was mercifully treated when its life was cut short, (no pun intended)? Was one mill using thinner blades than another to save sawdust? Was the bark mulched rather than tossed into a pile? What exactly raises the product cost so dramatically?

Whatever it is, it will curtail seriously the appearance of LEED- NC projects around the country. There are currently none in my area, and it doesn’t look good for my plans to build one either. With fuel prices what they are, my last concern is that a dead tree has been humanely treated at the lumber yard.

I guess this all proves that any good initiative can be screwed up if one works at it.

High Tech Isn’t Always the Answer

Here’s the high tech solution to a problem, as mentioned in Housekeeping Solutions:

“In recent years, hotels and cruise ships have been plagued by health outbreaks and have turned to advanced cleaning technology as a way to combat it. In addition to preventing illness created by virus and cross contamination, these facilities can use microfiber to effectively address standard cleaning tasks, such as marble or textured tile floors.”

In this case, high tech is called upon to solve something simple. Norovirus, the culprit causing the greatest concern, is found only in the human intestine and so is easily stopped at the wash basin after the toilet is used. Wiping things with microfiber to pick up what a handwashing could have prevented from being deposited is so stupid as to defy the imagination. It is comparable to picking birdshot out of your walls instead of taking the shell out of the shotgun or avoiding firing it in the house in the first place!

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”! Darn, I wish I had thought that up.

The High Cost of High Praise

I’m sure a lot of folks have seen the recent headlines on the unwillingness of some universities to spend extra money on getting the LEED certification for new buildings even though they built them according to the specifications and recommendations of the LEED-NC program. The reason, of course, is that the extra cash is not an inconsiderable amount when you are looking at a multi-million dollar project nor is the paperwork minor.

This appears to be the concern with many, if not most, certification programs. The cost of formal recognition for the accomplishment is too costly and therefore the program may be avoided by those most in need of its help. When this applies to technical or business training it can be serious, making the progeram and its concepts less used than is good for the industry.

CIMS is a case in point. The value of the program is undeniable, but the cost is a deterent to widespread use and application. Small outfits-and there are many- cannot afford several thousands of dollars every few years to get and remain certified. The result is that most will remain aloof and never benefit from the guidelines for running a competent cleaning business.

Is a make-it-available-without-certification initiative the answer? In my belief, yes. Call it an awareness program or maybe something else that shows the participants are CIMS cooperative. The result will be low cost recognition and the value to the industry will be far greater.