Weather Channel Launches 'Green at Work' Campaign

The Weather Channel ( Companies recently announced a multi-faceted campaign dubbed "Forecast Earth - Going Green At Work" to further bolster the company's support of environmental and climate matters. As part of the campaign, the all weather network has incorporated such initiatives as designing their new HD Studio according to the guidelines from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) organization, eco-friendly cafeteria serving ware, recycling programs for office supplies and changes to heating and cooling systems for energy conservation, among others.

"The decision by The Weather Channel to take environmental leadership in the workplace has its roots in the stand on the climate and the environment taken by the network several years ago," said Debora Wilson, president of The Weather Channel Companies. "Constructing a new facility in a way that is environmentally responsible sends a strong message about our commitment to helping people learn more about the issues that the public faces in regards to the environment. We are extending our ongoing mission of keeping our viewers informed and safe during severe weather to a similar role in regards to matters of safety and well-being for life on this planet."

Work on the new 12,500-square-foot HD facility will follow a plan developed with LEED consultant and commissioning agent Working Building Inc. that includes:

• Water conservation: All landscape irrigation provided from underground storm water retention pond, also automatic faucets and flush valves in restrooms.
• Prevention of air contamination: Selection of products that are low in volatile organic chemicals (VOC) for projects requiring paint, adhesives, sealants, shellac, and primers.

Reduction of fossil-fuel emissions: A

• a small fleet of hybrid vehicles for TWC production crews plus a special parking area for associates driving fuel-efficient vehicles.
• Energy conservation: Plans for the lighting systems to reduce consumption and for a roof surface that absorbs less heat.
• Recycling of building materials: Over 50 percent of all disposable items (steel, aluminum, etc.) sorted out and hauled to recycling centers.
• Landscape replacement plan: All greenery removed from the construction grounds will be compensated for by the planting of new trees and foliage.

The Weather Channel has also established an internal commission made up of company executives and led by Cindy Jones, vice president of marketing strategy to help implement its green initiatives, which are slated to include the following:

•* Cutting paper waste by substituting CDs and online access for kits and collateral materials; and when paper is necessary, use of purest form of recycled paper known as "post-consumer" material.
• A plan of landscaping known as "Xeriscaping" which recycles plants, shrubs, and foliage and designates 20 percent of the landscaped area for plants that do not require irrigation. This landscaping will also be incorporated into the surrounding ground of the new HD construction. A foliage-replacement plan will go beyond the basic requirements and be carried out in alliance with the Keep Cobb (County) Beautiful organization. The company is also looking at landscaping plans for the networks patio garden to offset emissions and provide a pleasant setting for employees.
• Selective purchasing of "green" materials such as recyclable carpet with backing made from previously-recycled carpeting materials.
• Donating used office furniture to local schools and non-profit organizations, in place of removal that would later end up in landfills.

Additionally, The Weather Channel is empowering its associates to make "living green" a part of their own lives through HR programs such as telecommuting and the encouragement of car pooling through the Clean Air Campaign.

In April, The Weather Channel announced that "Forecast Earth" will be the branded name for all of its extensive environmental-related content, both on-air and online. That name is being extended to "Forecast Earth - Going Green at Work" to refer to the many internal green initiatives the company is committed to carrying out.

In 2003, The Weather Channel brought Dr. Heidi Cullen on board as climate expert to advise the network about current scientific thinking and debate on the topic and to produce programming segments about these issues. Last fall, The Weather Channel launched TV's first weekly program about ecological matters with Dr. Cullen as host. The network launched a broadband Web site also devoted to the environment last year.

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.