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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Showering praise on 'green' designs

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Let's assume that future generations will look back at these times we're currently in and thank us for saving the environment so that they will still have fresh water, clean air and ample ozone to protect them from whatever lurks out there to bring them harm. Or, perhaps, those future generations will scratch their heads in amazement that we somehow believed that changing light bulbs would actually make a difference. Oh well, since none of us will be around, we're left to guessing.

Along that same environmental theme, I note that Staples - the world's largest office products company - is doing more than its fair share to save the environment.

Staples just opened a new store in Miami that is touted as the first "green" retail building registered with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Bet you didn't even know this council existed, now did you?

Well, regardless, Staples wants the new store to be the showcase for "green" design and believe me, they have gone that extra mile.

Among the many features of this new retail store are the collection of rainwater through rooftop gutters and waterless urinals and low-flow toilets. Virtually the entire building is constructed with recycled materials right down to the parking lot. Staples is also planting native plants and shrubs and offering recycling bins for everything under the sun.

But Staples then took a giant leap in our ongoing effort to save the planet. To encourage alternative transportation, the company is installing bike racks and showers. That's right. Showers. So you can hop on your bike, drive on recycled pavement right past native shrubs, park in eco-friendly bike spaces and then take a quick shower before making your purchase.

I honestly applaud Staples and the fine people in Miami for this new environmental design. They most certainly should be commended for taking a major step forward in their "green" efforts.

But showers? I don't get it. Maybe you have to be an avid bicyclist to appreciate the need for showers in a retail store. And just what is the proper protocol? Are you supposed to also take a change of clothing or simply slip back into your sweaty clothes? And just who would shower in a retail store before shopping? And how is Staples to distinguish between homeless folk who wander off the street and use Staples as their personal grooming center? I guess if you've collected that much rainwater perhaps you don't worry about such matters.

I once had a landlord in the early newspaper days who insisted that he install a shower in our office building. Since it was his building, who was I to question his plans. So he installed a shower and it became a perfect location to store odds and ends.

I hope Staples does better than my office shower.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen