MEET JOYCE & KAREN – THE WOMEN BEHIND THE SUCCESS OF 40WEST CO-WORKING

Learn about this unique green coworking space and how it is promoting a culture of adopting “sustainability is a mindset.”

Joyce Ferris (left) Founder and Managing Partner of Blue Hill Partners, and Karen Naughton (right), Blue Hill Partners’ Business Manager.

Joyce Ferris (left) Founder and Managing Partner of Blue Hill Partners, and Karen Naughton (right), Blue Hill Partners’ Business Manager.

Tucked away in the city’s Chestnut Hill garden district thrives a unique space, 40West CoWorking. To many, this well-kept space may come across as any other conventional office. Yet what sets 40West CoWorking apart is a strong sustainability narrative that is embedded in its DNA.

Managed by Blue Hill Partners, 40West CoWorking, leases furnished cubicles and private offices in northwest Philadelphia. With a focus on “green” practices, many of its tenants are sustainability-oriented businesses. Companies that currently operate there are EDF Renewable Energy, Aircuity, and Performance Systems Development.

40 West Evergreen’s natural light and open space create a friendly work atmosphere.

40 West Evergreen’s natural light and open space create a friendly work atmosphere.

Joyce Ferris, Founder and Managing Partner of Blue Hill Partners, and Karen Naughton, Blue Hill Partners’ Business Manager, are the key ingredients to this successful sustainability story. What makes their business model unique is that their choices are sustainably driven. “Sustainability is a mindset,” notes Karen, “It’s a light beam on everything we do.

In 2007, Blue Hill acquired the building. “Joyce was an early pioneer in the shared working space,” reflects Karen. “Our mission – to create a community of businesses working together in a sustainability space that nurtures cooperation and learning.”

An example of one of the interior offices of 40 West Evergreen.

An example of one of the interior offices of 40 West Evergreen.

Over the years, Blue Hill Partners incorporated energy efficient and sustainable building features. “We installed one of the first adjustable lighting control technologies,” said Joyce. “When fixtures break down, we replace them with energy efficient equipment such as our Energy Star rated dishwasher which saves energy and water.” Old incandescent lights are replaced by energy efficient T-8 lighting fixtures which help reduce energy costs by 25-30%.

Other green features include: composting by Bennett Compost, integrated pest management, low emission paints and carpets, and street trees which help cool the building. The interior space’s natural light and open feeling is a result of glass walls which fosters a friendly work atmosphere.

The Blue Hill team takes a personalized approach by involving and educating its tenants. New tenants are encouraged to adopt sustainable practices such as double-sided printing. Karen recently organized a coffee tasting event which featured Fair Trade coffee sourced from local businesses. The tenants voted on their favorite blends they while sipping from reusable mugs. And to support people to bike to work, Blue Hill added covered bike racks and a shower.

Conference room space.

Conference room space.

“We are very proud of the way that sustainability is embedded into our culture,” said Joyce. “ It is the way we operate.” Karen further added, “Clean energy and sustainability — it’s the choice we need to make.”

by Mahvish Ilyas, a recent graduate of University of Pennsylvania with a Master of Environmental Studies in Environmental Policy, Management & Business and intern at Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.