In the middle of the summer, Bay Area office buildings keep their air conditioners running full blast to ensure employees are working in a comfortable environment. It's not the most environmentally sound practice, but sometimes executives need to be pragmatic.
Based on a new study, a team of Stanford University researchers appear reluctant to accept this either-or proposition. The cooling structure they've designed uses reflective material to repel sunlight away from buildings and cars, even when the sun is at its hottest.
"People usually see space as a source of heat from the sun, but away from the sun outer space is really a cold, cold place," senior study author Shanhui Fan said in a statement. "We've developed a new type of structure that reflects the vast majority of sunlight, while at the same time it sends heat into that coldness, which cools manmade structures even in the day time."
How close to reality these structures are isn't clear, but fortunately, there are plenty of other opportunities for businesses to create green offices using proven techniques. Metrofax has published a fascinating infographic – "The Green Office: What Are The Real Savings?" – that's worth a look. Some of the best suggestions to come out of the research include:
- The use of private shuttles to transport employees to work
- The reduction of waste through recycling and audits
- The installation of LEDs.
These are all strong improvements to institute, but are they really that innovative? Conspicuously missing from the infographic was any mention of Pre-Owned/Remanufactured furniture in office settings. For affordable green solutions, Bay Area businesses don't need to wait for Stanford researchers to develop their new cooling system – a green recycler of furniture products is a significant step forward that is immediately available.