Monday, July 21, 2008

When "Green" Equals Annoying

KXAN's 6:00 news highlighted Office Depot's new location at 2620 W. Anderson Ln. for what seems to be a rather annoying way to be environmentally friendly. There wasn't a printed story I could find on the station's website, but the video is at, where you can see that this new location, in an effort to be more green, reserved several spaces near the entrance for low-emission or fuel-efficient vehicles.

Look, I'm all for more low-emission or fuel-efficient vehicles for those who want them (I'm driving my paid-for beater into the ground, thanks), but this is ridiculous. It's also a misinterpretation of the LEED standard (which, conveniently, is online). LEED, as you may or may not care, stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. On the whole, it's a great idea. Unfortunately, its implementation is not always smooth, often due to points of compliance which are vague and difficult to understand.

For example: it was stated in the news story that setting aside parking in this manner was to obtain LEED certification. That's all well and good; there is, in fact, an optional credit (4.3) in the standard that mentions providing preferred parking spaces for alternative fuel vehicles. Unfortunately, this credit also requires that the facility provide alternative fuel vehicles for 3% of the building occupants. I sincerely doubt whether Office Depot went out and bought a hybrid vehicle for anyone.

In its story, KXAN spotlighted a mother driving several children in a van who was none too happy to have to walk further because she was driving a minivan. And, really, she shouldn't have to be penalized in this way...a van with four occupants gets more passenger miles per gallon than one person driving in a hybrid. And, guess 4.4, which Office Depot apparently did not pursue, involves providing preferred parking for carpools or vanpools, into which category the miffed mom in question would have fallen. (To be fair, the credit also requires that no more than the minimum number of parking spaces be provided, and I don't know if Office Depot had total control of that, given that they are, if I'm not mistaken, sharing that parking lot with a lot of other facilities.) As it was, the mom stated that she felt unwanted at that particular location.

Of course, there is always another option for those who don't qualify for the golden parking spots near the door: the OfficeMax at Gateway Plaza is less than 2½ miles away.

And by the way, KXAN...if I'm watching online news video at your website, is it really necessary to force me to sit through a 15-second ad for the site I'm already visiting?


aaron said...

There's also a credit for using a product that is produced under 500 miles away. Therefore, if you were to buy aesbestos that was from a factory that was 499 miles away from your construction site, you would get an LEED credit for using aesbestos.

M1EK said...

The mother with the kids is one customer - you should really be counting "customer-miles". The kids are along for the trip but weren't going to buy anything - and weren't going to drive themselves without the preferred parking.

I still think it's stupid, but you oughtn't give carpool "credit" for mothers schlepping around kids.

pylorns said...

Wow, I love it when the local management of a store like that says "gee lets do this" and then doesn't read the fine print.

Kent said...

I need to go park my mini-van in those spots.