TREADMILL DESKS REDUCE
With one in ten office workers enduring muscular and skeletal stresses
over the course of their careers, new
research shows that treadmill desks,
which allow users to walk while
completing tasks, could help reduce
work-related injuries and pain.
Scientists from McGill Univer-
sity asked subjects to complete a
90-minute typing task while either
walking or sitting. During comple-
tion of the task, muscle activity in
the neck, shoulders, forearms, wrists
and lower back was measured. The
researchers found that there were
lower levels of neck and shoulder muscle activity when subjects
were walking compared with sitting. This indicates that common
discomfort felt by office workers could be reduced through the
use of walking desks.
REQUIRED TO PLAN FOR
As part of the U.S. govern-
ment’s ongoing goal to lead
by example with regard to
climate change, the Office
of Management and Budget (OMB) has requested that federal
agencies consider climate preparedness and resiliency objectives
as part of future budget requests for facility construction and
maintenance beginning in FY 2017.
While the efforts undertaken by agencies will be highly variable depending on the specific assets and goals, the OMB notes
that the new policy will help to reduce taxpayer exposure to
climate change impacts and help curb future costs by making
smarter investments in the present.
SAFER CHOICE LABEL SIMPLIFIES
In an effort to improve the profile of cleaning
SHARED RENEWABLE ENERGY ACCESS IN NEW YORK
and other products that use safer chemical
ingredients while maintaining high perfor-
mance standards, the EPA has renamed its
“Design for the Environment” label to “Safer
The new label includes the standard Safer
Choice designation and two variations,
with one specifically for products used in
businesses, office buildings, sports venues and schools. There is
also a label that specifies that the designated product is free of
fragrances. The new label can be found on over 2,000 products
that qualify for the program and includes items designed for both
commercial and residential applications.
A new program will allow New York businesses, schools, low-income residents, homeowners and renters the ability to access
clean energy by setting up shared renewable energy projects.
The Shared Renewables initiative, commonly known as community distributed generation, will allow a range of customers to
join together in sharing the benefits of local solar, wind and other
renewable sources, with each member’s production appearing as
a credit on their monthly utility bill.
The first phase of the projects, occurring from Oct. 19, 2015
through April 30, 2016, will focus on siting distributed generation in areas where it provides the biggest benefits to the larger
power grid as well as supporting economically disadvantaged
communities by ensuring at least 20% of participants are low- or
moderate-income customers. Starting May 1, 2016, the second
phase is designed to make community distributed generation
available throughout entire utility service territories.
TIMBER BUILDING CONSTRUCTION IS SUSTAINABLE
While options such as concrete and steel remain popular, timber
may be poised for a comeback as a building material, with a
new study showing that it uses less energy to manufacture and
can be a sustainable option for facility construction if harvested
Researchers from the University of the Basque Country found
that timber’s light weight and durability provide strong performance while the correct procurement practices can ensure that
the sustainability benefits are realized as well.
While many people may initially fear living or working in a
wooden structure because of the risk of fire, the scientists are
quick to note that there are a variety of treatments that can
improve timber’s fire resistance. B