Saturday, July 26, 2008

Alternative "How to Get Here" Directions

Most businesses have a page on their website with basic directions on how to get to their location. This is obviously beneficial for any business that wants to ensure customers can find their business easily. Of course people can just use Google maps or Mapquest or the like to find the location, but often times they are not detailed enough. So the extra bit of local knowledge on the businesses' website can help ensure customers don't get lost, give up, get frustrated and/or go somewhere else.

Of course one problem with these maps is that they are geared towards driving. So what is a customer or an employee that wants to walk, bike or take the bus supposed to do? An article I read this morning talked about some map websites working to add these options. The difficulty is that it takes local knowledge to develop them - road maps don't usually detail sidewalks, bike trails, bus routes, etc. This means that it's going to take time to develop. With Charleston being a smaller city it will likely be low on the list of cities to be bike/bus mapped. So it would be worthwhile for local businesses to provide this information on their websites. Even if they don't know the best bike or walking routes themselves, there are plenty of resources to help figure it out. CARTA provides good details on their website for figuring out bus routes. Figuring out walking routes might involve taking a walk and/or being observant of the sidewalks, paths and trails nearby. And there are cycling clubs that would probably help with figuring out bike routes. And of course if there are customers or employees already walking, biking or taking the bus it is rather simple to just ask them how they get there.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Traditional Green Roofs in Norway

While visiting the Norsk Folkemuseum, where there are collections of traditional buildings dating back hundreds of years, we saw many instances of the traditional green roof. And of course we have pictures, like the house to the below. You can take a look at several of the roofs here. You'll see some close ups (as close as I could get) to see that they use birch bark as a lining material.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Green Ideas from Norway

So we're back now from a conference in Stockholm and visiting family and touring in Norway. I have to say I was a bit surprised at the lack of ease of recycling in both countries. I expected to see recycling bins everywhere, but just like here, there were more trash than recycling bins. Of course there were for more recycling bins than you find on the streets here in Charleston (has anyone found a single one?) One thing that I did find pretty cool was parking spaces in Bergen (behind a public administration building) specifically for plug-in vehicles. Upon close inspection it appears that plugging in is also free. While this might be more likely to be done as a public service, I wouldn't hold out hope for that here. However, local businesses could probably set up something like this pretty easily. Particularly useful for shops with their own parking - it would encourage longer browsing (and thus hopefully more purchases). And it would be even more cool if that electricity came for the store's own renewable energy. On the other hand, if and when plug-ins come to Charleston it might be possible to make a business out of this if it were possible to lease a parking space or two.