Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's not Easy being Green

After 8 years in school and 4 years professionally working, I have finally found the job that makes me light up like a Christmas Tree. I am talking everyday...Everyday- I absolutely love what I do! For me- there is no greater combination of art, science, math, and the outdoors; but it's not easy. Despite 12 years of education and industry, I'm not sure that anything aside from common sense and practical experience could have never prepared me for now.

For those of you who don't know me, I recently went through a grueling 9 month internship to prove that I had the gall and the guff to become the first lady field coordinator that my company has ever had. This title was hard won, but at the same time, it was won through jobs that were far more related to my particular set of skills and background. After a recent promotion, I am now stepping outside of my comfort zone and really learning what this industry is about.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Know Your Subs

Making a List, and Checking it Twice

The Subcontractor Check List:

1. Become Familiar with your Subs and their Sub Tiers

Congrats- You've awarded a portion of your new project to a Subcontractor. Now that you know who is going to be preforming the work, you should ask your project engineer/FOP the following:
  • Do we have their Insurance Information?
  • Do we have their Sub Tiers Insurance Information?

2. Understand your Project Scope

Your Subs have given you their Insurance Information- Whoopie! They are now legally allowed to step foot on the Construction Site.
  • Do you know what work your companies have agreed to?
    • Read the Exhibit 1 for each Sub
    • Know what you have paid them to Do!

3. Have your Subs' Submittals been Approved?

Ummm- It's not good for your team to be building things/building with things that haven't been approved by the owner, architect, and engineer. Let's please stay ahead of this matter!
  • 4 Dates to Know: Required, Submitted, Reviewed, and Approved
    • Most Approvals are Approved as Noted. IE- if there are so many points that it cannot be fully noted in the note section, then the Submital is typically rejected

4. schedule, Schedlue, SCHEDULE!

know it, Know It, KNOW IT! Any Questions?
  • See Above and Below

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Letter to My Future Self

Dear Extra Old Alison-

It seems like just last week you were working your bum off to become the First Lady Field Coordinator...oh wait- you were. Congradulations!

So mile marker one has been checked off, andit's now time to work on being the best Assitant Superintendent that they've ever seen. Oh- I'm not missing a theory/ theme for the year is to aim high out of the starting gate.

Here's the the time I'm the best Field Coordinator that they've ever seen, I'll become the worst Assistant Superintendent that they've ever experienced. Of course there'll be another huge learning curve...but fingers crossed it all works out.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

21-day Cleanse: Pregame

Let's talk strategy people! Rome was not built in a day and overhauling our bad eating habits is not going to happen overnight. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, "Speak Softly, and Carry a Big Stick" or in Sibley speak- this is a covert opp to eliminate fat cells, and we don't want them to know that we're gunning for them [aka. we don't want to throw our bodies into shock]. SO- without further adieu:

We're not just going to shoot from the hip.  First of all, neither of us is coordinated enough or proficient enough with firearms. Secondly, have you ever tried to quit caffeine cold turkey? This mistress is a dirty, devil beast and she's hard to live without. Considering that we have to function, use our brains, go to work, and play nice with others- all without morning coffee and the afternoon pick-me up of choice- this has to be done as slowly and painlessly as possible. I mean LITERALLY- caffeine headaches, while perhaps a first world problem, are an absolute witch. Therefore the plan is to slowly, ween ourselves off of caffeine or at least start substituting for green tea, drink at min. 8 glasses of water a day, say goodbye to Domino's/all other unhealthy, processed foods, and say hello to lots and lots of fresh fruits and veggies for at least a week before officially starting the cleanse. After that, all bets are off, and we're going to get crazy up in here; meaning no sugar, no alcohol, no gluten, and no animal products for 3 weeks. Just seasonally sustainable, preferably organic fruits/ vegetables, lentils, nuts, and seeds for this guy and gal.

Our strategy is one of simplicity, for we are simple people.  More importantly, we ain't got all day to slave in the kitchen, nor do we want too. This inevitably is why we chose to follow Simple Green Smoothies' 21-Day Cleanse Plan.  These girls understand that life needs to happen, they also understand that I don't have time to go to 5 different groceries looking for some ingredient that I can't pronounce and that no associate has ever heard of.  More importantly, they actually happen to know a little something about nutrition and balanced diets- of which, we do not.

In the mean time, tell us about your previous or current cleanse experiences. Did you have a plan of action, or did you just wing it? We'd love to hear all about it.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

21-day Cleanse: Say What?!

The summer was a blast while it lasted, but we're hitting the reset button and starting a 21 day, whole-body detox to start the school year off right.

Like us, you might have a bad habit of putting things off that you are hesitant to do; like eating healthier or exercising regularly. You might also find the idea of a cleanse daunting and perhaps a little flawed. While we do agree that the most common versions of these diets generally involve spartan juice or vegetable based regimes. We're ready to lay our 'chips' on the table and go all in- but on our own terms.

For those of you who know us- we don't believe in starving...obviously.  We do however believe that we need to get our regular caloric intake in check, get some exercise peddles pumping, and bring some healthy back. Or, from a more realistic perspective, STOP ordering Domino's [and all other takeout/processed foods] and drinking Tons of beer. Personally- I don't want to be working off the excess summer bloat in addition to the holiday pounds come January; so over the next few weeks we will be following the Fresh Start 21-Day Cleanse Program.

For all of you who are looking to change your bad routines, join us as we attempt to overhaul our eating habits and turn over a new [hopefully fresh, green, and tasty] leaf.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

eco 101: a new metric

A, B, C is as easy as...

An eco-label is a logo that identifies a product or company that has met an environmentally preferable standard. It is not always obvious what an eco-label means and there are lots of different standards with varying levels of quality control around the world. Having standards makes it easier for governments and companies to build policies around how to buy and sell green.

Typically, a company applies to an eco-labeling organisation for the right to use its label on their products and in order to gain that certification, the company and product must continually conform to the required standards of the organisation. Sometimes companies just decide to award themselves a label - certainly faster, but perhaps less credible.

The International Standards Organization (ISO) ensures that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimizing waste and errors and increasing productivity. They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade. In regards to eco-labeling ISO has classified the existing environmental labels into three typologies – Type I, II and III*- and has specified the preferential principles and procedures for each one of them (ISO 2013).

Type I Eco-label
Provide a 'seal of approval' where a license is given to use the eco-label logo on products which have met the specification, been independently audited and consider life-cycle environmental impacts over the whole life-cycle. Type I eco-labels, such as the Nordic Eco-label, are thus an indicator of overall environmental preference in that product category.

This group is the most useful from the point of view of a procurement practitioner. Eco-labels are based on ambitious criteria of environmental quality, and they guarantee that the awarded products respect the highest environmental standard in that market segment. The criteria are usually developed through the involvement of a large number of stakeholders and awarded after an independent process of verification.

Type II Eco-Label
The labels belonging to this group do not share some of the usual characteristics of environmental labels, the main difference being that they are not awarded by an independent authority. These labels are developed internally by companies, and they can take the form of a declaration, a logo, or a commercial referring to one of the company products (e.g. the 'recyclable/recycled' Mobius loop symbol).

This kind of producer declaration can provide useful information for procurers, but not always are green claims as accurate and true as they should be. If the information conveyed in claims is vague, misleading or inaccurate, the consequence can be loss of trust in claims and labels in general.

Type III Eco-Label 
Type III eco-labels are operated by third parties and involve independent audits which includes information about the environmental impacts associated with a product or service, such as raw material acquisition, energy use and efficiency, content of materials and chemical substances, emissions to air, soil and water and waste generation. It also includes product and company information.

Type III labels do not assess or weight the environmental performance of the products they describe. This type of environmental labels only shows the data, and their evaluation is left to the buyer. Type III labels are found in nine countries only and require exhaustive life-cycle data sheets called “environmental product declarations” (EPD) (UNOPS 2009). The international EPD system is a member of the Global Type III Environmental Product Declarations Network and is a standardized (ISO 14025/TR) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) based tool to communicate the environmental performance of a product or system.


*ISO also recognizes a fourth category that is very similar to Type I eco-labels, and they are called  “Type I-like”.  These labels have a verification and certification process similar to that of eco-labels but focuses on single issues (e.g. energy consumption,sustainable forestry, etc.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

eco 101: greenwashing

The bakers dozen of sustainable sins.

Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practice of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. Here are six patterns in greenwashing that every product savvy consumer should watch out for:
1. Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off:  Suggesting a product is green based on a single attribute, such as the recycled content of paper for example, without attention to other issues such as energy, global warming, water and forestry impacts of paper.
2. Sin of No Proof:  Failing to substantiate a claim by easily accessible supporting information or by a reliable third-party certification, such as a claim that a light bulb is energy efficient, but the product lacks certification. 
3. Sin of Vagueness: Making a claim that is so poorly defined or broad that its real meaning is likely to be misunderstood, such as the terms ‘green’ and ‘environmentally friendly,’ which are meaningless without elaboration. 
4. Sin of Lesser of Two Evils: Claiming that a product, such as cigarettes made with organic tobacco, is green, and obscuring the fact that smoking is damaging. 
5. Sin of Irrelevance: Making a claim that may be truthful, but is unimportant and not helpful for those seeking environmentally referable products. For example, stating that a product is free of chlorofluorocarbons, which deplete the ozone layer. Since CFCs have been banned for 30 years, no products are manufactured with it. 
6. Sin of Fibbing: Making a false claim, for example, that a product is certified when it’s not.
Given that this list of Sins eliminates 98% of products in the market, what should consumers do when choosing products? Which Sins are more forgivable than others? And as designers, what can we do to avoid committing a Sin when we develop a product?