Design Management: Communication

Communication is the key to any successful business and work environment, be it a company, store, restaurant or school, if proper communication systems are not in place there will be a decline in productivity and profitability. Communication channels have to be looked at on how the company / organization is branding itself, to it's costumer service and internal communication channels. A lack of communication in one area will cause a breakdown somewhere else and have a negative reaction on the overall company. This lack of connection in these channels will cause animosity and negative behavior from employees to beyond the walls of the company.

One simple example would be: If a manager had information for a few weeks that a delivery of product was to happen on a set date and time but did not inform the staff members responsible for that task about the event until an hour before it happened. The staff now responsible for this had other meetings scheduled and other work that was planned for that day. They would have to cancel meetings with others, reorganize their work load for that day and be behind. This not only effects them but the other people they had interacted with and promised work for. If this happened frequently, their overall behavior and attitude would become very negative. As well as the people they are effecting by having to cancel or change schedules on. It becomes a domino effect and cause negativity on all levels of the organization.

A proper communication system needs to be developed and an understanding of the importance of such a system to an organization is needed. Analyzing the communication systems on all levels on who is interacting with who and how is the information transferred, then designing a better system for that organization is key to improving productivity and the bottom line.

Communication not only stems to interaction with groups but interaction with managers and others within a department. I find it very hard how people don't see the importance of using words like: "thank you", "good job", "well done". These little word will go a long way in productivity and workers moral. Basic understanding of how we communicate with each other to the overall picture of how the company communicates inside and outside it's walls is of high importance.

Analyzing what is done in your surroundings, then redesign and educating the staff would stream line any environment. It would be best to get a third party to do the analysis as staff would be more open to outside people then a coworker. Good Communication means good business.

Thinking Green: Bringing Building Efficiency to Lighting

There are many ways to continually educate ones self, one great way is Webcasts.  You can view these from any location and they can be at any time.  The latest one I was a part of is "Bringing Building Efficiency to Lighting."  This was hosted by and the speakers were Rob Walson (Executive editor, Steven McGuire (Environmental market manager Philips Lighting) and Joel Makower (Executive editor

The webcast was very informative.  They covered information about:

*How lighting upgrade would be beneficial to facility managers
*How to use integrated principles to light buildings & into LEED
*How to apply integrated principles
*Importance of design
*Good interior & task ambient strategies

Talked about 5 myths in Lighting:
1. More is better - False
2. Saving light energy not as important as HVAC - False
3.Waste energy to turn light off - False
4. Incandescents are better then CFLs because they don't have mercury - False
5.LEDs last 5 times longer than florescent - False twice as long but technology is getting better and better

Also information about the new website from Philips for a website that is a bench marking tool for energy cost savings.  It has news, articles and other business info.  As well as a an energy test for personal and home, with recommendations on how to decease the use.  Check it out at

There are a lot of webcasts out there, some you pay for and some are free through manufacturers or other venues. Keep an eye out for those that might interest you.

Here is the link to the webcast:

Thinking Green: Green Codes Taskforce

Change can come in many forms, we just need to see what would be the best way to make these changes happen.  I am proud of what The Urban Green Council (NYC USGBC chapter) is doing to help bring some of these changes to our industry, from helping Local Law 89 happen to changing the city's building codes.

A little history, Urban Green put together a Green Codes Task Force that reviewed all of the cities building codes.  In Feb. of this year the report was presented to the Mayors office.  In late March the NYC Green Task Force, the offices of Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn met to review each proposal of the report.  From the information 10 bills have been proposed and are currently waiting for review on June 22nd by the Committee on Housing & Building.

Here is the link to report and the bills that are proposed: Read the Green Task Force Report    Green Codes Task Force Legislative Update - Description of Laws and how they have been modified from original report.

It is important to support and be involved in local chapters to help bring along change.  Urban Green is only one of these organizations that is making things happen in NYC.  These organizations can not have these changes happen without the proper support and volunteers, Example, the Green Codes Task Force was made up of professionals who volunteered their time from different sectors of our industry.  I am honored to be one of the volunteers receiving the 2010 Service Award from Urban Green at the end of the month Member Meeting.  I hope to continue giving my time and support to an organization that helps make change happen and educates professionals in our community. - check out the website for all the info on their education seminars and more

Green Education: Composting

Through my research about composting in schools I found this book as a great tool to help start a cafeteria composting program.  I have spoken to a lot of experts in the field and have not found any known schools in the NYC area that compost in the cafeteria as well as the class rooms.  So, I will be attempting to add this part to the composting program at PS 151.

This book goes through the hows, whys and what to do step by step to set up a successful program.  The Author Binet Payne created a successful program in her school where she teaches.  The book also has example lesson plans, books for children , audit forms, posters and more.

I have set up a meeting this month with the head of composting from the queens botanical garden, the principle and head of school maintenance to go over the logistics of what needs to be done in September and talk about phasing of the project.

Some other useful sites and books on the subject are: - from Cornell Cooperative extension - from Biocycle, a composting trade magazine -
Lower East Side Ecology Center - Apartment composting video"Worms Eat My Garbage" - Book for home composting
"Worms Eat Our Garbage: Classroom Activities for a Better Environment" - Book that supports classroom instruction.