Tag Archives: sustainability

Washington D.C. Seeks the Lead in Energy Efficiency

 

The nation’s capital city has some bold plans to be the greenest city in the U.S. The city’s Energy and Sustainability Office recently launched Build Smart D.C., a new website and tracking system that details and shares energy consumption information for every District-owned facility.

 

As part of the Sustainable D.C. initiative, the city has a goal of reducing the energy use in more than half of the 30 million-plus square feet of municipal facilities by 20 percent in twenty months.

 

“We’re trying to embrace truly transparent data to create tremendous savings,” said Sam Brooks, the associate director of the city’s Energy and Sustainability office. “The goal here is to eliminate energy waste and create effective cash flows back to the city.”

 

Source: GreenTechMedia

Buildings Move Towards Net Zero Quicker

High performance buildings are showing they can attain net zero energy in just a year. Net zero buildings typically generate most of the power they use from renewables onsite.

The International Living Future Institute (ILFI) created a Net Zero Energy Building Certification in 2011 to recognize the green buildings. Each certification requires performance monitoring for a full year after occupancy.

Net Zero certified projects must meet some of the non-energy requirements of the Living Building Challenge, including site, beauty, and equity. Read more about these beautiful and sustainable buildings at Greenbiz.com.

 

By Gaylen Davenport

National Sustainability Using a Regional Approach

regional sustainability midwest Kansas City

The regional approach to sustainability focuses on activating the public, private, and civil sectors to collaborate on long-term region investment strategies for smart growth.

Can national sustainability be obtained with a regional approach? According to Mark Mykleby, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, believes we can.

A retired colonel from the Marine Corp, Mykleby is working on a grand strategy that focuses on activating the public, private, and civil sectors to collaborate on long-term region investment strategies for smart growth, and regenerative agriculture and resource productivity.

“The next great global challenge is the fact that there will be 9 billion people. Their arrival brings about a 300 percent increase in resource consumption,” said Mykleby. “We just don’t have the stuff in the world to do that. And so we really looked at it from that scale of grand strategy.”

The project focuses on four regions within in the U.S.: upper Midwest, Lake Erie area, Southeast, and California. The strategy fundamentally reframes out large organizational constructs from policies around agriculture and energy, to things like mortgage policy and transportation policy.

The strategy for regional clusters was to promote engaged citizenry for a “full-spectrum sustainability” of integrating all components of a community towards a common goal.

“The idea is that you can bring in all these multiple functional sectors and different organization sectors… to start creating new types of designs and contracts to match our 21st century reality of a resource-constrained environment.

Read the complete interview with Mykleby at Greenbiz.com.

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Sustainability Apps Galore

encelium lighting management software

Apps, such as the Encelium lighting management software, are a proactive approach to monitor energy savings.

As data increases and businesses are taking a proactive approach to energy savings, there’s a growing opportunity to capture it with application software.

Apps are a great way to monitor and make use of this data for consumers and professionals. The growth of apps in sustainability is all about data.

“Energy, water, waste, toxics, carbon – the future of all of these things is linked in large part to how, and how well, we can measure, track, monitor, and optimize their flows. And that’s all about data, and the apps that make it useful.”

There are a number of sustainability-related apps such as JouleBug, iREcycle, and Goodguide. A number of the apps utilize the Green Button program. Launched in 2012 by California utilities, the Green Button standardizes the delivery of energy data from utilities to enable energy users to analyze and optimize their energy use.

Read more about sustainability apps at Greenbiz.

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Sustainability Innovation in Three Parts

The easiest way to spur innovation in your organization is to set some challenging sustainable business goals.

If you’re looking to add sustainability innovation to your company, GreenBiz has an informative blog series on how to do it. The articles, from the Network for Business Sustainability (NBS), is a great guide for companies who know that innovation and sustainability to be the key to their company’s success.

But how do you implement it? Innovation and sustainability aren’t mutually exclusive, and reinforce each other. “The easiest way to spur innovation in your organization is to set some challenging sustainable business goals.”

According to the NBS, there are three types of sustainable companies or stages. The first is operational optimization – doing the same things better; organizational transformation – doing good by doing new things; and systems building – doing good by doing new things with others.

There are also three steps for sustainable innovation for business:

“Innovation involves reaching out beyond the walls of your own organization. Done right, it can push your company to the pinnacle of sustainable business practice.”

The series is a great read for any business looking at implementing sustainable and innovative practices to guide their sustainability policies.

Google and Wind Energy

Google is looking to power their Oklahoma data center with renewable wind energy.

Google’s data center in Mayes County, Oklahoma will be running more efficiently soon.

The search engine giant announced last week that it would buy wind energy from the Grand River Dam Authority to purchase energy. This will be the first time Google has partnered with a utility to buy renewable energy.

The GRDA will provide 48 megawatts of wind power to the Google data center later this year. Google will pay more for the clean energy rather than power the data center by coal because of the company’s commitment to the environment.

“Google has hinted for some time that its ultimate goal would be to source clean energy from utilities to power its data centers. Google is working with other utilities to find ways to source renewables directly,” said Gary Demasi, Google’s global infrastructure director.

Environmental organizations have urged companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple to use more clean energy to power their data centers.

Source: Smart Planet

Managers Plan for Sustainability

80% of surveyed property managers have sustainability strategies in place, and dedicated resources to implement them.

A recent survey found that 80 percent of real estate investors and managers have sustainability strategies and dedicated resources to implement it. What’s more is that 60 percent have been collecting and reporting energy consumption data this year.

The 2012 Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) Report  included data from 450 property companies that provides information for 36,000 properties. A significant portion reported that their companies have dedicated resources for sustainability management, carry out comprehensive external reporting, and have developed plans to implement sustainability measures.

Other trends found in the report included the rising prevalence of green building certification. About 51 percent included green building certificates in their portfolio, including LEED certifications.

Many property managers are seeing the benefits of long-term sustainability including energy efficient lighting, HVAC, window film, and even renewable energy.

Source: Environmental Leader

Going Green is Good for Branding

Sustainable and energy-efficient practices provide great benefits to any company.

Becoming green is not just something nice to do for the environment; it’s fast becoming a responsible business activity. Sustainability is important from a business growth perspective, costs and margins perspective, and brand perspective, wrote Mark Bernstein of MMW, a public relations firm.

Bernstein, who is the Senior VP of MWW’s Energy, Clean Tech and Sustainability Practice, discussed a recent poll in which about 90 percent of respondents felt a responsibility to better the planet, and 37 percent would choose a company based on their environmental practices.

So adopting sustainable practices not only reduces energy and waste, but can also reduce costs, risks, and adds to profits. And that’s before the marketing and sales appeal takes effect.

Two key take-aways from this article is that “companies who aren’t thinking about their environmental impact should be” and those businesses that are becoming energy efficient should provide that information to consumers to help them make more informed decisions.

“Not only will this be good for the environment, it can be good for business. It can fuel sales growth, foster brand loyalty, and when done correctly, reduce operating costs. Green companies are seen as citizens of the world, rather than consumers of the environment. And that’s the kind of reputation any business should strive to build.”

Source: MWW Return on Investment

Corporate Sustainability in Ten Steps

Corporate sustainability is not for the weak of heart. In fact, making the switch to energy efficiency does take a certain amount of commitment to the project and its future benefits. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible.

Here is a simple, straightforward and effective approach, developed by Yudelson Associates, to create corporate sustainability in your business.

1. Setting the Vision: where do you want sustainability to take your company?

2. The Task Force: develop a group that will work to make that vision happen.

3. Examining Green Options: what should your company do?

4. Adopting Sustainability Initiatives: make choices and move forward.

5. Staffing the Green Initiative: who’s going to do the work? Often, someone needs to be hired.

6. Internal Education and Training: a commitment to educating and training the staff is key.

7. Green Building: long-term sustainability can be dependent on your building, and should be reworked so that green becomes the norm.

8. Green Operations: the property management side can include negotiating recycling contracts, investments on property, and conducting a host of other activities.

9. Communications: effective communication is key in telling the story of your green initiatives.

10. Continuous Improvement: “ongoing corporate sustainability is about continuous improvement, using environmental and energy metrics.”

Corporate sustainability is a long-term commitment. And while there is plenty of work involved, with the right vision, projects, and partners any company can appreciate the rewards and benefits.

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