SFTool Blog

Welcome to the SFTool Blog. The Sustainable Facilities Tool (sftool.gov) helps you do more than learn about high-performance buildings and purchasing. SFTool helps you put this knowledge into practice, and assemble the people you need to help you get stuff done.

We’ve decided to share some of our experiences while developing SFTool. We’ll talk about interactions with the building community, challenges we’ve overcome designing the site, and other stories about putting high-performance ideas into practice.

Note: The SFTool blog may contain links to websites of public and private organizations, as well as references to specific products used in development. A link or mention anywhere on SFTool is not an endorsement of the views, products, or services provided by the mentioned resource or product.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bike to Work Day 2016!

Bust out the air pumps and oil up those chains, because Friday is Bike to Work Day! Bike to Work Day is a day where anyone can try biking to work. Often, people associate a decision about whether to bike to work based on distance alone – but there is much more to it than that.

First and foremost, where your building is located is paramount to encouraging biking or walking to work, not just this Friday, but every day. Choosing a sustainable site can have as large an effect on the greenhouse gas emissions of your building as any other consideration. Commuting often makes up a significant portion of emissions, and biking and walking are zero-emission methods! In addition to access to public transportation, any location should be evaluated for its walkability and rideability. GSA and EPA recently released their Smart Location Calculator, which rates buildings for several location efficiency factors – enter your address to find your Walk Score and more!

Second, providing the infrastructure for employees to easily bike is crucial to increasing adoption. Bike racks are a must, as are showers and changing facilities. You probably don’t want your employees spending their day in sweaty gym clothes, so make sure they’ve got access to a place to clean-up and change. It may be worth seeking an agreement with a nearby office or gym with the appropriate facilities to accommodate cyclists if your building doesn’t have them.

Third, incentivize! Bicycling is not only good for the earth, it’s great for building occupants’ health and happiness. All over the country on Bike to Work Day, cities and towns set up events, offer breakfast, and even sponsor convoys between major employment centers around town to encourage newbies to come out. Haven’t pulled your bike out of the shed in a while? Many events offer free tune-ups, and more experienced riders should be carrying the tools and tricks you need to have a successful ride to and from work. Make sure you’ve got an extra inner tube, just in case.

Also, it may have been awhile (or it may be your first time) riding on public streets alongside traffic, so safety is paramount! Wear reflective clothing, especially if you leave before the sun is fully up. Don’t forget a lock either, if your workplace does not have indoor bicycle storage. Perhaps most important is your helmet; wear it and make sure it fits properly. Check your brakes too – we know you’re in a hurry to get to work, but you’ll have to slow down and stop at some point! On top of all this, make sure to have fun this Friday while you make the Earth a better place with a little less traffic!