Even with all of the increased discussions about the environment and stupidity from politicians, the reality is that we all need to be responsible caretakers for our environment and start taking action immediately. There is a crisis regardless of what the con man says. Large numbers of people being smart and taking progressive steps will outweigh the inaction of others.
What you can actually do:
Reduce your electricity use by taking advantage of programs and incentives offered by your local utility. It will cost very little $$$ and be a positive step toward making significant progress. It sounds simple, but by changing your lighting from incandescents, flourescents, halogens, and other old technologies to LED’s will save energy and money. In a commercial building – there is significant electricity use and great opportunity. CI Works made a lighting change to LED’s throughout 11 Chestnut St., added motion detectors, and reduced our energy use year over year – by 38%. That is a significant number, but does not tell the entire story. Our lighting is now brighter and also higher quality that makes products look more attractive. We have also improved the safety factor within the building and in the parking lots and have improved the work environment for employees. Lights now turn on when employees enter an area and are immediately bright – no longer a delayed warm up period, and then shut off when there are no people around needing lighting. And we eliminate the ‘I just forgot’ behavior pattern.
What is next – you can follow our lead -
We are upgrading thermostats within the building to be ‘smarter’. We’ll save on electricity during the summer (A/C) and heating costs during the winter. Again, we are coordinating with the utility through an intermediary – Energy Source – vs. having to deal with Nat’l Grid ourselves, whew. We will be able to monitor remotely, control abusive manipulation, and rely on a smart technology to incorporate ambient temperatures as well as peak load costs avoidance.
Working on powering the building from the roof by using solar PV generation. This will further reduce our electric bill, provide tax advantages, and assist us in moving our 100 year old building toward net zero energy use.
We encourage all tenant businesses to recycle waste materials. Also, numerous businesses focus on materials reuse like wood products – old barn wood, used wine and whiskey barrels; eliminate the use of toxic materials – like paints and stains containing VOC’s and alternatively use waxes and other natural materials. Some food products do not include chemicals and preservatives, and still others recycle waste as a food stock for animals.
Other businesses have invented and patented products that can help consumers either save energy or offer products that generate electricity through the use of renewable sources.
Look around you and see what you and your business can do to improve and be more environmentally friendly or just have less negative impacts. We truly can work together to have a positive impact on our environment, reduce carbon emissions, and be stewards to save the environment for our kids and their kids.
More to come about how we will transform the roof of our building from flat to a power plant in the near future and almost meet the load needs of this building.