Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Building a Better World

By Sam Marquit, Independent ‘green’ contractor

Being on the lookout for new and innovative ideas is part of every good contractor’s job description. Even still, the recent trend toward eco-friendly materials and processes has reinvented the field for a generation of contractors. Green initiatives are all the rage and the new focus is opening up doors for smart contractors across the globe.

A major part of this trend is the work of initiatives like Green America, an organization dedicated to creating a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. Utilizing the strength of consumers, businesses, and investors, Green America promotes both green and fair- trade principles and a market that will support them. In addition to building sustainable communities, Green America looks to create communities that are healthy and safe.  To these ends, the initiative looks to harness collective action to empower individuals while pressuring corporations to act responsibly toward both humanity and the environment.

A changing world that rewards positive environmental behavior must be seen as a part of the reason for the upswing in corporate eco-friendliness. For example, The Marriott chain of hotels has recently implemented a purchasing program that will affect the amount of waste it creates each year. By switching from traditional plastic room keys to green keys that are made from corn-by-products, the 10,000 keycards annually used per hotel will be replaced with a recyclable, biodegradable alternative. In turn, the Marriot will cut the amount of plastic waste it is depositing in landfills by 66 tons every year.

Taking green initiatives a step further, the Palazzo Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas was recently named the “Most Eco Friendly Hotel in America.” Building on a history of eco-friendly projects, the Palazzo boasts a wide range of green initiatives and amenities. In addition to a water recycling system, the Palazzo features solar panels for heating and the ability to reuse its own waste.

The principles of construction and contract work are always changing, and that’s a good thing. If they didn’t, most of us would be out of a job, and the rest of us would probably still be living in mud huts. As contractors, the new focus on green-initiatives means we have a chance to be excited by more than just being able to put bread on the table. With this trend continuing to gain momentum, especially in places like Nevada where green Las Vegas hotels continue to go up, it provides a great “green blueprint” for others to follow. When more and more businesses go green, it will result in a better, cleaner planet for future generations to enjoy.