Greener Office: Cleaner Air

Graymatter’s Guide To Greener Business Practices

Part Two

The Air You Breathe

NASA scientists prove that house plants can remove air pollution from indoor environments.

When I first heard about NASA sending plants into space, I imagined ivy growing long tendrils in all directions like weightless spiders.  Since then, research in the pollution fighting properties of plants has been carried out by several scientists including Dr. Bill Wolverton, formerly a senior research scientist at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Miss.

While more research is needed, studies show that houseplants help eliminate certain toxins, counteract out-gassing and contribute to balanced internal humidity.   They even may provide a natural way of helping combat “Sick Building Syndrome”. Continue reading “Greener Office: Cleaner Air”

Internet in the Election Year

The use of the Internet has changed the landscape of the American election process.  Candidates are using free resources like http://ustream.tv and http://youtube.com to get their message out with great success.  Web sites are used collect campaign money and put out calls to action.  Social networking sites have helped reach voters young and old.

These green methods are replacing the old wasteful election mailers.  We suggest these cadidates make a committment to greener business practices by using green web hosting such as Graymatter Green Web Hosting.

Telecommuting as an Employee Benefit

When we offer employees the chance to work from home, they usually love it.  It’s become a perk for working with us – and it’s easy to set up.  There are a variety of ways to work with telecommuting employees, but I like videoconferencing the best.  It’s great to be able to see someone when you’re working with them.  There are two videoconferencing tools we use, iChat and Skype.  Some people feel iChat has better quality video but I prefer Skype.  The audio quality is so far superior it out weighs any minimal difference in video.  Bob O’Haver, my partner/husband here in the Berkshires has spent hours on end working virtually side by side with an associate in the LA area via Skype.  I admit it can take time to get used to being on camera, but after a while you forget it’s even on.  Be careful though…  forgetting you’re on camera can be embarrassing!  If you prefer, you can always make the video one way – so you can see them but they can’t see you.  I’ve also found the mute button to be a saving grace. 🙂 Continue reading “Telecommuting as an Employee Benefit”

Solar Power: From Simple to Sophisticated

My neighbor just put up one of those old fashioned clothes lines.  It seemed a bit of an eye sore when I first saw it there, the metal pole holding up a spiderweb-like array in the middle of her lawn.  "The dryer uses a lot of electricity," she explained.  Her simple use of the sun made a lot of sense.  I briefly considered getting one myself – but I knew I’d have trouble actually using it.   Her sheets waving like flags were a salute to the ‘good old days’ when technology was simpler… and perhaps in some ways smarter.  I just read an interesting article on Dailytech.com about the potential use of the sun’s energy (besides solar powered web hosting, of course!).  A group of MIT students have created a solar array that can melt steel! Check it out:

MIT Students Develop Revolutionary Solar Dish That is Hot Enough to Melt Steel

 The solar industry is booming.  With waves of investment and grants, the solar power industry is for the first time becoming a serious business.  New power plants will soon be pumping power out to consumers, while other firms market to sell panels directly to the consumer, providing them with a more direct means of experiencing solar energy.

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There are many forms of solar power technology.  Today the most dominant is photo-voltaics, which comprise the traditional solar panels that come to mind when one thinks of solar power.  However, there are other promising ways of capturing the sun’s energy that are merely less developed. Continue reading “Solar Power: From Simple to Sophisticated”

Tools for Telecommuting

Telecommunting is on the rise for various reasons.  Gas prices, environmental issues, and the affordability of virtual office tools to name a few. I’m constantly on Skype or iChat (two video conferencing tools).  Last week I spent four days in California… virtually.  I literally had Skype on 8 – 10 hours each day, working closely with my employees in Los Angeles.  It took them an hour or so to get comfortable having my ‘Max Headroom’ like presence on the computer screen in the room, but after the initial transition period, it worked surprisingly well.   We could talk in real time, with no annoying delays, and work virtually side by side.  Continue reading “Tools for Telecommuting”