Spectrum Skanska Sets New Green Standard

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One of the longest debates among those in the resource efficient constrution arena is the definition of green building. Just what does it mean to be green?

March 31, 2000

One of the longest debates among those in the resource efficient constrution arena is the definition of green building. Just what does it mean to be green?

While there are as many definitions as there are green builders, one U.S. home builder, Valhalla, N.Y.-based Spectrum Skansa upped the ante for the entire industry by being the first in the country to receive ISO 14001 certification.

ISO 14001 requires the establishment and maintenance of an environmental management system that includes standards and procedures by which an organization monitors and continually improves its environmental performance on every level.

Spectrum Skanska was recognized for having identified all aspects of its job sites that have a significant impact on the environment and developing wasy to diminish these impacts, including preserving numberous tress, reusing and recycling materials and conserving energy and water. The ISO certification registrar that audited the firm also praised it for ensuring that its employees, trade contractors, vendors and suppliers are required to participate in environmental awareness training.

&quotOur 1999 corporate priority was to become a more environmentally sensitive builder," explains Spectrum Skansa president Mitchell Hochberg. &quotWe went into this effort with a ‘can do’ attitude, believing that protecting the environment was good for our customers, good for our neighbors and good for our family. It was as important as anything else we did."

Working towards certification also was &quotforeign in every way," Hochberg adds. &quotIt meant rethinking everything we did as a company in the office and in the field."

To aid in its efforts to create an environmentally sensitive organization at all levels, Spectrum Skanska brought in a counsulting firm, International Resource Group, to lead the employee teams that were instrumental in creating the new work practices. Hundreds of manhours were devoted to developing the standards and implementing them throughout the organization.

&quotThis effort involved everyone in our organization - project staff, office personnel, project managers, laborers, suppliers and subcontractors," says Hochberg. &quotTheir work helped us acheive certification and they continue to come up with new ways to improve our environmental performance."

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