The greening of post offices

Published by rudy Date posted on May 20, 2011

SINGAPORE Post Centre (SPC), which won the Asean Energy Award 2008, employs a total system approach in retrofitting its central chilled plant room. It adopted a 24-hour Web-based monitoring system enabling better visibility and management of the entire system resulting in optimal availability.

ONE HARDLY ever goes to the post office these days. I happen to have mailed some letters in the post office in different cities in the metropolis recently. I cannot resist giving my two cents worth for the greening of post offices.

The post offices I visited, located in first-class municipalities, seemed to be in a time warp. They were obviously constructed decades ago and remain forgotten, based on the overall neglect in maintenance and upkeep.

Some of the most basic facilities like parking are hard to find. One post office had improvised public toilets so that visitors are at a loss when directed to go near the fence outside the building.

In this heat and with the glare outdoors, unfortunately many offices are dependent on artificial lighting in daytime. Putting more window openings and improving circulation routes can save on high energy cost.

Existing post offices can be retrofitted to accommodate skylights and clerestory windows to allow natural light to come in. So much can be done to improve indoor air quality.

The working conditions are far from ideal with the absence of air conditioning especially in this weather. Yet, I have to write that many of the personnel I encountered were efficient and helpful. They are happy to assist visitors in the post office.

The general work areas with piles of unsorted mail and packages are separated from the public by a high counter with glass and wrought iron grilles, reminding me of old Hollywood cowboy movies about bank robbers in the Wild West.

This is in stark contrast to other institutions like banks that openly transact business with customers without grilles and safety glass.

The post office box, often called P.O. Box is usually located in a separate area looking very dingy and unsafe. It is isolated with no personnel around to ensure the safety of customers.

With electronic mail and other modern means of communications, the post office is losing business.

<STRONG>Innovations</STRONG>

Consequently in advanced countries there are innovations and practices in postal administration like Speedpost worldwide courier service for which Singapore has been consistently awarded.

Post offices may also be involved in retail distribution networks. Self-service automated machines are common in post offices abroad.

Agency and financial services are now being offered in post offices. This way the post office can have convenience stores to serve its customers for a wide range of products and services.

We receive ordinary and registered mail, catalogs, promotional materials, journals and packages through the post office which is present in every municipality.

The post office provides us sure service in case of electronic service breakdown, or cyber attack by terrorists.

Hopefully we can expand the local post office services and upgrade postal facilities. That way this neglected government office can become up to date and sustainable.

For comments or inquiries, e-mail amadodejesus@gmail.com.–Amado de Jesus, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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