Greening Relevance

Some of you may already know, but I was not a CS major in college. In fact, I doubled in English and, a new major at the time, Environmental Science and Policy. Now, as the founder of a software company, I'm just as interested in my academic areas as I was then, but I'm trying to apply them through the filter of how I spend my days (and evenings, and late nights, and …).

I'm pretty sure you can spot the English major trying to poke its way out of my chest, but that ES/P stuff? What about it? That turns out to be a hard nut to crack. What does a software company do to try to go (or stay) green? We don't have fleet vehicles to turn into hybrids or hydrogen guzzlers. We only have a small amount of office space to heat and cool, and we don't control the HVAC settings most of the time. We don't have factories, our emissions are mostly of the code and pomposity varieties, and the last thing I remember polluting the environment with was the simple_services plugin.

So, we went out and got ourselves some new digs. We partnered up with a company called Greenfire, who has been working with the city of Durham to renovate some of the historical districts of downtown, but with an environmentally conscious bent. Our new office space is being renovated with LEED certified techniques and materials. They drilled three monstrous geothermal wells to provide the temperature regulation for the space. They are reusing materials from the interiors of other buildings being demolished. Our windows ACTUALLY OPEN. To the OUTSIDE.

In addition to the nature of the builder and their procedures, we get one extra benefit. Not only are we getting a kick-ass office, we are also renting the two apartments upstairs and two of our team are going to move in, thus chopping a whole lot of commute out of our team's day. Another team member is going to bike to work (since the building has an indoor bike rack and some showers) cutting another commute out, and preventing the early onset of heart disease.

I believe strongly that those of us in the business sector have a responsibility to use our energies in ways that don’t just prevent negative consequences, but actually foster positive ones. Moving into the new offices is just one is just one small step that we can take. I've also seen other groups take some strong steps, and I’m hoping to hear from more folks in our neck of the economy as well. I feel that there's still more we can do. Those of you working in software, what other changes have you been able to make (or been wanting to make) to go green?

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