Life at Work: The greening of an office


The vegetation on top of the Sandy Spring building has resulted in substancial energy savings for the company. (Courtesy of Transportation Management Services)

Company: Transportation Management Services.

L ocation: Sandy Spring.

Number of employees: About 30.

There are plants growing inside, outside and on top of the Transportation Management Services building in Sandy Spring.

Last year, employees planted petunias and cascading flowers in the building’s main entrance. They also planted vegetable seeds — beets, carrots, peppers, tomatoes — in plastic cups and placed them around the office.

“We basically put them anywhere where there was light,” said Kelly Sherman, a human resources consultant for the company, which manages transportation for trade shows and conventions. “They were all lined up on windowsills in the accounting department, the kitchen and the lunchroom.”

The company’s rooftop is covered with 2,000 square-feet of bushes, evergreens and holly. The green roof, which was planted two years ago, was the first in Montgomery County. Fred Nichols, who manages the three-story building, said the rooftop vegetation has lowered energy costs by 18 percent.

Sherman added that “plants have been a great way to engage employees.”

Carol Betz, a senior account executive at the company, agrees. Betz took several cups of seeds home with her last year.

“I stuck them in a small bed on the side of the house,” she said. “The carrots were a little bit funky, but the beets were great.”

Abha Bhattarai covers local banking, retail and hospitality for The Washington Post’s Capital Business section. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
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