Smart Lighting

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Eco-Friendly Firms (Part 1)

Successful eco-friendly actions and policies initiated by Patagonia include the use of organically grown cotton to make its products. Beyond Meat's eco-friendly actions include the use of 100% plant-based ingredients to make its products and help address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions attributed to livestock rearing. One of TOMS's eco-friendly policies is to manufacture all the shoes it donates in the regions where they are distributed. Detailed information is below.


Switch to Organically Grown Cotton

  • In 1994, Patagonia decided to switch from using cotton grown using chemicals to organically grown cotton in its line. The goal of the company was to start selling a new organic line of products. Patagonia made changes in its supply chain and changed from purchasing cotton fabrics from just any mill to buying from textile mills that could produce fabrics that met the organic cotton standards.
  • To achieve the goal, the company strengthened its relationship with the full supply chain, including farmers growing cotton, spinners, knitters, weavers, dyers, factories that make the finished garments, and textile mills that make the fabric. It introduced a "fully converted line" in 1996. The change to the use of organic cotton in its products first led to a reduction in the number of styles by around 30% as Patagonia could not find a fabric that met its quality standards.
  • Patagonia developed a private cotton supply chain to enable it to create new and unique fabrics and yarns that it previously could not find in its supply chain. This enabled the company to recover from the 30% reduction in cotton styles, and the new fabric led to good sales. It has successfully used only organic cotton to make its products for more than 20 years.
  • The other goal when the company switched to organic cotton was to influence people in society to adopt sustainable agriculture. The company educated people on the issue by making relevant information available in its catalogs and retail stores. The initiative has been a success as "organic has become a household word in many parts of the world."

The Worn Wear Initiative

  • The worn wear initiative by Patagonia aims to promote recycling and "keep gear in play" by extending its life. This eco-friendly initiative reduces consumption and promotes recycling of what is already there, to benefit the planet. It also reduces water, carbon, and waste footprints.
  • The company makes high-quality items that last long. This prevents people from buying more too soon. The company sells already-worn attire in special events.

Environmental Grants and Support

  • Patagonia provides grants and support to environmental organizations around the world. The company has the policy to give 1% of its sales to environmental organizations at the grassroots level all over the world, where it has representatives on the ground. Grants range between $2,500 — $15,000 and are intended to make a difference to the environment.
  • The company acknowledges that its activities have an impact on the environment as it uses resources and produces waste. It feels that it is its responsibility to give back what it calls its "Earth Tax." By 2017, $89 million was donated by the company for environmental work. Patagonia has also invested $75 million in "environmentally and socially-minded companies through its venture capital fund called Tin Shed Ventures.

Beyond Meat

Use of Plant-Based Ingredients

  • Beyond Meat's initiative has been to shift from offering animal to plant-based beef, burgers, and sausage. All the products offered by the company are 100% plant-based. This initiative helps address climate change, human health, pressure on natural resources, and animal welfare.
  • Beyond Meat received the "2018 Champions of the Earth" award from the United Nations for producing sustainable alternatives to beef. Rearing livestock accounts for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and the positive climate action of Beyond Meat helps counter this.

Use of Non-GMO Ingredients

  • According to a University of Michigan analysis which compared "the environmental impact of the Beyond Burger to a ¼ lb. U.S. beef burger," a Beyond Burger uses 99% less water, 93% less land, 46% less energy, and generates 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a beef burger.


Producing Donated Shoes Where They are Distributed

  • TOMS donates shoes to under-served communities. To date, the company has donated more than 93 million new pairs of shoes. In 2013, TOMS initiated a policy where it committed to making one-third of its donated shoes in the regions where they are distributed. This was to build sustainability, reduce carbon footprint, and create jobs.
  • The eco-friendly initiative has been successful as the company now manufactures all its donated shoes in regions where they are distributed.

Building Sustainable Water Systems

  • TOMS currently provides grants to communities to help care for the environment. For example, the company helps to "build sustainable water systems that will support under-served communities for generations to come." To date, TOMS has helped give over 730,000 weeks of safe water and committed over $6.5 million in impact grants.
  • The TOMS Roasting Company has also helped to give "335,000 weeks of safe water in 6 countries." The company initiated a policy to donate 140 liters or a week's supply of safe water to people in need, for every purchase of TOMS Roasting coffee.

Auditing of the Supply Chain for Environmental Violations

  • Another eco-friendly policy initiated by the company is that the supply chain, including factories that produce finished products for TOMS, are audited 100% for environmental concerns. The company also monitors suppliers of its raw-materials to ensure they comply with the set guidelines. Before a factory can start doing business with TOMS, it receives an unannounced factory visit and audit for environmental issues.
  • The audits are carried out on a yearly basis. They help to ensure credibility and bring accountability to the supply chain.

Research Strategy

To find successful eco-friendly actions and policies initiated by each firm, we searched their websites and industry publications for relevant information. There were regional restrictions on accessing the TOMS website and so we used to view the firm's website.
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Eco-Friendly Firms (Part 2)

Amazon and Lush Cosmetics are developing a solid, continuous and positive image regarding sustainability. The main objective of Amazon is to reduce their carbon footprint to net zero levels by the year 2040. To achieve this goal some approaches are being taken; such as improving eco-packaging and the use of renewable energy. Lush Cosmetics is in the process of using 100% biodegradable packaging materials as well as using clean energy in its processes and activities.

Amazon's Carbon Footprint Reduction

  • Amazon is quantifying the total carbon footprint produced by the company. This means the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions attributed to the direct and indirect operational activities of the company.
  • Knowing this carbon footprint is important in order for the company to take action to drastically reduce the production of GHG. The final objective is to reduce and reach net-zero carbon footprint by 2040.
  • The pollution-reduction measures will be taken in the following areas: emissions by transportation, the electricity consumed by Amazon's offices, data centers and warehouses; GHG emissions by packaging and use/manufacturing of Amazon's devices.
  • The goal of the project is to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by reducing the processes and activities which produce the most carbon emissions. Amazon will use the necessary technology and an innovative culture to achieve their goal.

Amazon's Packaging

  • The Amazon project: "Frustration-Free Packaging" began in 2008. It was called that way because this simpler packaging, made of 100% recyclable materials, drastically reduced the client frustration when they open the package.
  • Another approach of this project is to verify if the product could be shipped in its own package. This significantly reduces the use of boxes. From 2008 to 2017, these measures have reduced 215,000 tons of packaging material as well as 360 million shipping boxes.

Amazon's Renewable Energy

  • This project began in 2014 and it is generating more than 2,900,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy each year. Building wind and solar farms increases the amount of clean electric energy that Amazon uses for its processes and activities.
  • In April 2015 Amazon joined The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and just in August 2019 Amazon announced two renewable energy projects in Europe and the US. Amazon expects the production of 168,000 megawatts-hours of clean energy on these farms each year.

Amazon's Sustainability Partnerships

  • Amazon makes partnerships with organizations committed to the environment. An example of this is the $10 million dollar funding given to the Closed Loop Fund; an organization dedicated to increasing the recycling rate of products and packaging in communities all across the U.S.

Lush Cosmetics' Eco-friendly Actions and Policies

  • Lush Cosmetics is approaching the sustainability theme in the next ways: reducing the use of packaging, looking carefully at where they source their raw materials, reducing carbon emissions in transportation and improving solutions to avoid energy and water waste.
  • Lush Cosmetics adopts the product concept "naked". It means no packaging at all. Their pots and bottles are BPA-free and are "100% post-consumer recycled (PCR)". The paper bags used by Lush are PRC and compostable as well. The gifts are wrapped using 100% biodegradable paper and filler.
  • The raw materials that Lush Cosmetics uses in their products are carefully selected. Their suppliers are exclusively those who are dedicated to reducing environmental impact. Lush also prefers to use ground shipping over air whenever possible in order to bring raw materials to their factories.
  • Lush Cosmetics uses wind energy and low-impact hydro energy put into the grid by Bullfrog Power. When it comes to water use, Lush and their providers help to recycle this precious liquid onsite and try to avoid the use of fresh water in their processes. This saves 450,000 liters of fresh water each year.

Lush Spring Prize

  • Lush Cosmetics helps startups which have an environmental focus. Since its creation in 2017, it has provided them with £600,000. With this prize, Lush Cosmetics indirectly helps nature by helping new companies with environmental values to achieve success.
  • In 2018 Lush Cosmetics delivered £200,000 to 11 projects focused on environmental regeneration. An example of the winning projects is "Quilombola project". This project is focused on recovering the forest of Igarape Simauma in Brazil through the planting of native trees.

Lush Economics' Eco-Partnerships

  • Lush Cosmetics makes partnerships with different organizations committed to environmental causes. An example is the partnership with The Ocean Legacy Foundation which works in the waters of the Pacific Northwest collecting plastic trash from the sea waters.
  • The funding that Lush Cosmetics gives through its "Charity Pot" program helped The Ocean Legacy Foundation to support its educational program to clean the ocean of plastics.

Research Strategy

Your research team began with the official websites of the companies requested, Amazon and Lush Cosmetics. In the Sustainability and About sections of Amazon's website it was possible to find the required information about the approaches taken by the company regarding sustainability issues. For information about Lush Cosmetics, it was necessary to visit some articles published in the Stories section on the website. As well as the official website of the Lush Spring Prize. It is important to mention that some sources don't have a specific year of publication, the reason is that they are the official website of the companies and the information contained is updated when needed.

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Innovative Smart Home Companies (Part 1)

According to Fast Company, Vivint Smart Home, Ring, and Sensory are some of the most innovative companies in the US. These companies are pioneers in the US smart home industry.


  • In 2018, Ring was ranked by Fast Company as one of the world's most innovative companies for "securing homes intelligently, from floodlights to doorbells."
  • Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Ring offers several devices that can link together for home automation that is versatile and easy to use. Some of its devices include video doorbells, security cameras, camera lighting, and security systems among others. Its video cameras allow users to conduct video calls with people at their doorstep even when the user is not home.
  • Ring is innovative because its solutions can be integrated with top brands like voice connectivity with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It recently built a do-it-yourself security platform that includes cameras with their own floodlights and spotlights.
  • Ring offers a smartphone app that allows owners to "share video of suspicious activity captured by their cams with other folks in the surrounding vicinity, so questionable characters can’t roam a neighborhood at will."


  • Fast Company named Sensory one of the world's most innovative companies in 2019. According to Fast Company, Sensory is a "pioneer in voice wake-word technology and the leader in voice assistant artificial intelligence, embedded into more than one billion smart assistant devices around the world."
  • Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, Sensory specializes in improving user experience via embedded machine learning technologies like vision, voice, and natural language processing.
  • It recently introduced a new voice assistant made specifically for smart home appliances. Its TrulyHandsfree product "became the first and only technology to enable "Alexa," "Hey Siri," and "Okay Google," among others, within speakers, thermostats, smartphones, home robots, and automobiles."
  • Sensory's voice assistant makes use of its TrulyNatural software development kit so it can work without necessarily needing to send data to the cloud, similar to the way Alexa, Google Assistant, and other voice assistants operate.

Vivint Smart Home

  • Vivint Smart Home was ranked by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies worldwide in 2017. The company was also named by Strategy Analytics as the number one smart home service provider in the US.
  • Headquartered in Provo, Utah, the company provides connected home technology solutions for ease-of-use and automation. It was established in 1999 as APX Alarm Security Solutions. At the time, it installed third-party security systems but the company rebranded in 2011 to focus on smart home solutions.
  • As described by Fast Company, Vivint Smart Home is one of the most innovative companies worldwide because it opens the door to the connected. Vivint Smart Home also leverages a cross-platform approach to smart homes and is the "preferred smart home provider for Airbnb."
  • Vivint Smart Home offers a wide range of home automation products and services, including doorbell cameras, outdoor cameras, ping cameras, playback DVRs, smart locks, water sensors, burglary detection products, garage door controls, smoke alarms, and CO detectors.
  • The company also partnered with Amazon Echo to offer "the most comprehensive voice-controlled smart home." The fact that Vivint Smart Home approaches smart home technology as a subscription-based service is another reason it was named one of the most innovative smart home companies in the US.


We relied on Fast Company's list of the most innovative companies worldwide to gather these companies. US-based smart home companies on this list were selected. To rank the most innovative companies globally, Fast Company seeks out "groundbreaking businesses across 35 industries and every region." It specifically chooses businesses that are making the most profound impact in different ways.
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Innovative Smart Home Companies (Part 2)

Based on Fast Company's lists of the world's most innovative companies, Belkin and Eight are some companies in the US smart home industry that are considered to be the most innovative in the last decade.


  • Fast Company ranked Eight as one of the world's most innovative companies in 2018. Eight was also named one of the world's best inventions by TIME.
  • Based in New York, NY, Eight offers several wearable devices that monitor people's sleep. It has a sleep tracker that operates with any mattress and monitors heart rate, noise, deep sleep, and room temperature, among others.
  • Eight provides smart mattresses that can adjust their temperature throughout the night based on the user's sleep habits. The mattress has a thermal alarm that people can use as an alarm clock, by "having it cool down [their] side of the bed to wake [they] up."
  • The mattress comes with a "Wi-Fi-connected, sensor-filled cover that tracks what happens when [users] sleep, from tosses and turns to their heart rate."
  • Eight integrates with other smart home devices like Alexa and Nest. According to Fast Company, Eight has utilized more than "10 million hours of its data to help it design its own Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter mattresses; this is an asset in the crowded bed-in-a-box market."


  • In 2014, Fast Company ranked Belkin as one of the world's most innovative companies. More recently, Digital Conqurer mentioned that it is one of the most innovative home automation companies.
  • As described by Digital Conqurer, Belkin believes that "anything and everything in [people's] homes can, and should be automated; from crock pots that can be controlled by remotes to light switches to video surveillance to outlets that minimize energy consumption, Belkin has gone the distance."
  • The company has a unique position in both the home networking and home automation markets. Its most popular smart home technologies are WeMo and Linksys,
  • WeMo develops customizable smart home experiences. Some of its home automation products include smart light, smart plugs, and WiFi smart dimmer. On the other hand, Linksys helps make wireless connectivity mainstream.


We relied on Fast Company's list of the most innovative companies worldwide to gather these companies. US-based smart home companies on this list were selected. To rank the most innovative companies globally, Fast Company seeks out "groundbreaking businesses across 35 industries and every region." It specifically chooses businesses that are making the most profound impact in different ways.
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Lighting - Mood and Wellness

The temperature of color, heightened emotions, and the alleviation of depression are all ways in which lighting impacts mood and wellness.

Color Temperature

  • Color temperature refers to the tone or color of light rather than the physical heat of an object.
  • Warm colors make an environment feel more inviting or relaxing, while cooler colors make an environment more stimulating.
  • Blue light, which is a cool color, is thought to reduce sleep-related hormones and cause a feeling of alertness.
  • Yellow light, which is a warm color, mimics dusk and dawn, which are times when a body is more relaxed.
  • Red light, another warm color, is least likely to impact a body's internal clock, as it causes relaxation.

Light Heightens Emotions

  • Under strong lighting, both positive and negative emotions are heightened.
  • In bright light, studies have shown that "people rated others as more attractive, chose spicier foods, and thought some words were more positive than others."
  • This is also seen when a sunny day causes people to be happier than a cloudy day that is darker.

Light Alleviates Depression

  • Natural sunlight, which contains copious amounts of vitamin D, helps people suffering from depression to improve their sense of well-being.
  • When days grow shorter and people are exposed to less natural light throughout the day, they can be impacted by seasonal affective disorder or SAD.
  • Although the exact cause of SAD is not known, research indicates that lack of natural light is a main contributor.
  • SAD is characterized by depressive symptoms like feeling hopeless, having sleep issues, losing interest in activities, feeling agitated or lethargic, and experiencing changes in appetite that occur during the fall or winter months, but are alleviated in the spring and summer when days are longer.
  • Light therapy can help combat the depressive symptoms of SAD.
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Trends - Industrial Design

Six major trends in commercial/industrial design include biophilic design, sustainability, dynamic/flexible spaces, home-like spaces, smart office features and community-focused spaces. The details of each are outlined below.

Biophilic Design


  • Sustainable design incorporates sustainably-sourced and/or green materials into the design and construction of a space.
  • The use of recycled materials, low-carbon materials, durable furniture, sustainable/animal-friendly fabrics, and energy-efficient features are some examples of sustainable design that are trending in the commercial/industrial design space.
  • The main goal of sustainable design is to create more harmony in the relationship between buildings and nature.
  • There are many certifications that can be obtained to prove a building's sustainability, including LEED, FitWell and WELL Building Standard certifications and the desire to obtain these certifications and be seen as a sustainable company is a driver of this trend.
  • One company leading this trend is Skanska, whose Bank of America tower in Houston, TX is the largest LEED v4 Platinum project in the world.

Dynamic Spaces/Flexibility

Domesticated/Home-like Workspaces

  • The use of furnishings and design features that are more commonly associated with home environments in the workplace is currently trending.
  • Some examples of this trend include the use of sofas and rocking chairs within the workspace and home-like kitchen spaces within office buildings.
  • The desire to create comfortable workspaces that encourage employees to work later as well as to attract remote employees to come into the office more are some drivers of this trend.
  • An example of a company implementing this trend is Slack.

Smart Offices

  • Smart office spaces use technology to enhance the work environment and increase employee engagement and connection. They also increase efficiency.

Community-Focused Spaces

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Office Space - Priorities

The top five priorities or requirements of companies when looking for an office space are amenities, flexible workspaces, public transportation, the indoor environment quality, and connectivity.


  • Based on the 2017 Occupier Survey, amenities are the top consideration of companies when selecting office space, with 64% of respondents indicating this is their foremost requirement.

Flexible Workspace

  • In the 2017 Occupier Survey, 47% of respondents indicated that when selecting office space, they are looking for flexible workspace solutions.
  • In fact, 50% of respondents indicated they will have implemented a shared workspace model as part of their offerings by 2020.

Public Transportation

  • The 2017 Occupier Survey found that 41% of respondents say that public transportation is an important consideration for an office location.
  • Easy transit access is critical for companies that are looking to retain top talent.

Indoor Environment Quality

  • A healthy indoor environment is a critical consideration for 37% of companies looking for office space.
  • Air, water, and light are all important to ensuring the quality of an indoor office space environment and 47% of respondents indicated they are looking for WELL-certified office buildings.


  • A quarter of the 2017 Occupier Survey respondents indicated that connectivity is an important requirement when selecting office space.
  • As the digital economy continues to evolve and technology continues to improve, "fast and reliable connectivity is the lifeblood of modern business."
  • In another survey conducted by WiredScore, 97% of respondents stated that the "quality of internet and mobile connection was important when choosing an office space."