• When building, minimize the variety of materials and products you use to push costs down. The more common and ordinary the materials are, the better it is.
Focus, instead, on new ways to feature or assemble them. It is far better to have a great building with ordinary materials than an ordinary building with great materials.
• Plant more trees on the building site. They help create distance between buildings, even those that are next to each other. It also makes the place look larger than it is.
• Never seek people’s advice on the design. Architecture is a private affair. It isn’t art that everyone can have an opinion on it. The more people meddle with it, the more it dilutes the idea. So design quietly, build quietly, then when it’s complete, lock up the place.
Gautam Bhatia is a New Delhi-based architect
Bottom Line: no-pain profits
“Greening” your office can boost your bottom line too.
• Change printer settings for double-sided pages or reuse paper printed on one side.
• Use smaller font sizes in documents and use your word processor’s “fast draft” option to print with less ink (so fewer cartridges).
• Taking work home? Don’t print; send it to your Web-based email account instead!
• Auto-pay bills online. Request e-statements from banks: It involves less waste than traditional correspondence and you won’t misplace bills or miss due dates.
• Use your camera phone for a quick snapshot of street maps, movie schedules or takeaway menus instead of printing them.
• Use paper clips (which are reusable) instead of staples (which aren’t).
• Reuse scrap paper, not new pads, for jotting down notes.
• Reuse large envelopes as folders for filing. Reuse folders too: Stick a new label over the old one, or refold inside out.
• Dispense with tape dispensers. Choose glue over adhesive tape.
• Use rewriteable CDs to store data, a pen drive for transfers.
Scraps = savings
For children’s clothing and area rugs, pick up cut pieces or remnants of fabric or carpeting. These are usually priced down, and you still get a selection of the most popular patterns.
Plants to boost productivity
Need to work harder, faster, better? Get yourself a leafy cubicle mate.
Researchers have found that women who worked in a room decorated with plants and flowers generated more creative ideas than those who had abstract art for company. Men, responded to the flora by generating 15% more ideas overall.
Studies show plants are a mood booster, and good moods are associated with higher levels of dopamine, a hormone that controls information flow in the brain. Which is why flowers also counter depression and memory problems in the elderly. At the workplace, they also boost cooperation and enthusiasm, while reducing anxiety. It’s been suggested that they work better than air purifiers.
Some minute- and money-savers that offer more green for less care are spider plants, bamboo, sansevieria, or money plant.