A. Steps we are already taking to increase efficiency and reduce waste:
- Our mission—to promote the preservation and reuse of historic architecture—is rooted, by nature, in environmental friendliness and sustainability. Particularly in the Restoration Services Branch of the HPO, we travel the state encouraging property owners to retain and repair historic building materials and features (e.g., wood sash windows) before considering modern replacements. This keeps construction waste out of the landfills and helps limit the number of single-use, petroleum-based products (e.g., vinyl replacement windows) sold and installed into buildings around the state.
- We recycle all unwanted printer paper generated by our office using big tubs next to the copy machine.
- When traveling in the field we try, when and where possible, to either double- or triple-up among colleagues, combining multiple site visits into one itinerary to prevent the number of car rides that must be taken from Raleigh across the state.
B. Steps we would like to explore to augment the above points:
- Due to stagnant wage growth and rising real estate prices in the Triangle, many state employees (particularly new and/or young hires) are being forced to stray farther from Raleigh in search of affordable housing options. This drives up commute distances, which increases the collective carbon footprint of the agency. The agency could consider instituting a policy which would allow workers to telecommute, or work from home, one day per week. This would get our cars off the road, keeping our emissions out of the air for at least one day.
- If there were shower facilities in the building, some of us would have an easier time commuting to work by bike or by foot during periods of nice weather.
- The state or agency could reinstate free bus passes for employees, further encouraging commutes via mass transit.
- A training to clarify or demystify energy-saving best practices for electronics would be helpful, as many of us are unsure whether or not to turn off our computers at the end of the workday.
- If only the mechanical systems of this building (the State Archives) could be calibrated to suit norms of human comfort. So many colleagues run portable heaters, out of desperation and essentially year-round, due to insufficient heating in the winter and excessive air conditioning in the summer.
- Make a fleet of energy-efficient state automobiles more accessible to our agency and offices. The HPO shares but one state vehicle with the OSA, and it is a Dodge Journey, an oversized and inefficient SUV/van.