Green Business Bureau Blog
GBB member, FlexJobs, is the organizer of the 1 Million For Work Flexibility campaign, which touts the social, economic and environmental benefits of telecommuting and teleconferencing. In addition to promoting employee morale, GBB supports the 1MFWF campaign as a way to cut down our collective carbon footprint by reducing transport emissions. A recent post from the 1MFWF blog also highlights some of the hidden health costs of working in a traditional office, including indoor sickness and lack of exposure to sunlight. To learn more check out the full article on the 1MFWF blog.
If you are looking to go green at work and have started by placing recycling bins around your office or even providing an incentive to commute to work, there’s still more you can do. Another way to go green in your office is by updating your light fixtures. There are many benefits for doing so, including a reduction in your energy bill. Save the environment by switching to energy efficient lighting and by improving the lighting you may increase productivity.
Types of Light Bulbs
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs): CFLs are spiral bulbs that use a combination of argon and mercury vapor to create light. These light bulbs use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, which will be illegal as of December 31, 2014. There are some downsides to the CFL as they contain mercury and therefore have to be disposed of properly to avoid harming the environment. An interesting study at Stony Brook University also found that CFLs might increase cancer risks as they give off harmful UV radiation.
Light Emitting Diode (LEDs): The better choice when upgrading your lighting are LEDs. They last two to four times longer than CFLs. Unlike CFLs that give off heat, LEDs do not and thus have less energy loss. The added heat loss from CFLs may lead to larger utility bills for your office. LEDs are far more efficient; a 16.5 watt LED will give off as much light as a 20-watt CFL.
Save the Environment and Utility Expenses By Using LEDs
The United States Department of Energy estimates that by switching to much more efficient LED technology, we could see $265 billion in energy savings in 20 years. This will also cut down on our fossil fuel use as more efficient lighting requires less energy.
Wal-Mart has recognized the power of LEDs, reports Forbes. One of its Ohio stores is lit completely by LEDs. In their grocery section alone the company estimates a savings of 59,000 kilowatt-hours per year, enough energy to power five single-family homes. If a larger retailer like Wal-Mart can switch their lighting to LED, why can’t you?
Increase Productivity with Better Lighting
Improving the lighting in you office goes beyond environmental friendliness and energy savings. You can also increase the productivity of your employees by upgrading the lighting in your office. Natural lighting not only cuts down on energy savings but also keeps your employees happier. Just as important as letting the light in, though, is limiting light with shades and blinds to keep the office from getting too hot.
Have you ever considered the power of zero?
It may look like nothing, but zero is definitely something. After all, what’s the difference between one and one million? A few zeros.
The power of zero is the power to multiply. For example, if you take an ordinary hotel and add zero to it, then you’ve got something much more powerful than a simple hotel. Suddenly, you have a hotel that gives back to the environment, rather than just burning through resources. You’ve got a hotel that’s an active member of its local community, partnering with local businesses and participating in charities that impact local families.
Suddenly, with a few zeros, you’ve got more than just a place to stay while you’re on a business trip. It’s a place to stay that’s as unique as you are, and that shares your commitment to environmental consciousness and giving back.
At Hotel Zero Degrees, we’ve added a few “zeros” to the conventional hotel model.
Regular hotels produce a lot of waste. At Hotel Zero Degrees, we’re dedicated to bringing that waste down as much as possible. To accomplish this, we use utensils made from composted materials, and we make sure to only use energy efficient lighting fixtures throughout the hotel. We recycle as much as possible, and we provide our guest with recycling options, instead of just the obligatory trash bucket.
Zero unnecessary trips
Convenience is combined with environmental consciousness through our complimentary shuttle service. Now you have the freedom to visit the local sights, and we help do our part to reduce carbon emissions.
Other hotels outsource their furniture, décor, and cuisine from all over the globe. The results are typically predictable, bland, and conventional. That’s not what Hotel Zero Degrees is about.
We make sure to source local whenever possible. That means we get our produce from local farmers and farmers markets, we buy our furniture from local businesses, and we hang art on our walls created by local artists. The result: a unique experience that is anything but bland and predictable.
Our employees are an important part of the Hotel Zero Degrees family, and we treat them well so that they can treat our guests well.
Friendly service is central to our philosophy. When you stay at Hotel Zero Degrees, we strive to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Without an outstanding guest experience, everything else is meaningless.
Zero holding back
A hotel shouldn’t be an island unto itself. It should be an active participant in the local community.
At Hotel Zero Degrees, we give back as much as possible. We partner with several local non-profit organizations, including the Fairfield County Cultural Alliance and the Silvermine Arts Center Artist Guild. We actively donate to and assist with charities that benefit the people who live in our community.
We don’t find success by playing it safe. Our goal is to stand above the rest and set ourselves apart from the ordinary.
This month we’re showcasing team pics from our wonderful members. Email your team pic to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can feature you in our next newsletter!
Have you ever stopped to ponder about what happens to your soda can after you’ve tossed it into a recycling bin? It’s the start of a long recycling journey for the disposed soda can! The can, along with other metal waste, is carted away to a recycling center where it is put into the non-ferrous metal category. It is then squashed flat and transported to a place where they will melt the metal so that it can be a recycled into a can again or is infused into another metal product. That’s the recycling process in a nutshell.
101 of Metal Recycling: Benefits and Process
The good news is that metal doesn’t lose its durability even after being shredded or melted. Not just soda cans, but unused electrical appliances, old wires, metal bottle caps and other metal items are sorted, melted and converted into raw materials. These are then used to manufacture a number of metal products. The parts of bigger products like automobiles, airplanes, construction materials and locomotives are also recovered and recycled. Large metal surfaces are broken down, crushed or shredded into smaller parts.
The process of melting virgin metals generally consumes huge amounts of fuel, but recycling metal helps save fuel. Recycling steel saves 75 percent of the energy required for using virgin steel, says the Bureau of International Recycling. It helps reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by 58 percent. Recycling metals keeps metal waste away from landfills and incinerators where they get converted into toxic waste and pollute the air, water and soil.
If you’re an avid recycler or just someone who wants to know the behind-the-scenes story of metal recycling, here’s an info-graphic that illustrates the step-by-step process.
The proper processing of metals is important so that the quality of the recycled products can be maintained. For this reason, the metals have to be carefully sorted and sent either to the ferrous or non-ferrous category. At some stages, manual sorting is done to ensure that no piece slips through the cracks. This guarantees that every piece of metal that’s sent to be recycled is properly used.
Metal waste makes up a significant percentage of the total waste stream. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data reveals that aluminum and steel made up almost 8 percent of the total waste generation in 2012. That’s a considerable number if you think about the millions of tons of metal waste that’s generated year after year. Recycling metal items can be a big step towards reducing waste.
How can you be a part of the recycling process? Make a difference by dropping off unwanted metal items lying around your home or office in a recycling bin or at a center rather than in a trash can and encourage your family and friends to do the same. Recycling companies like Sims Metal Management have made recycling easier by opening recycling units all over the country. What’s more, you can even sell scrap metal at one of these centers. The scrap metal is shipped to recycling industries to be processed and converted into items that are useful.
It’s you who can help contribute towards a greener planet. After all, the action you take can help make the metal recycling process a successful one.
By Anne Staley
Not that long ago, “going green” in the workplace meant having a box next to the copy machine for paper recycling and reminding co-workers to turn the lights off at night. These days, business owners are embracing the “green” philosophy in a much bigger way. From windows and furnishings to computers and more, there are a plethora of approaches to make an office more eco-friendly. The following ideas can help the work place be as green as possible:
Switch to energy saving computers
As Home Guides notes, when it’s time to switch out the company computers, look for those that have an Energy Star label. Then, adjust them to run as efficiently as possible. For example, desktop computers can be programmed to go into a sleep mode at the end of a workday and monitors can be set to turn off after they sit idle for a certain amount of time. The Energy Star site offers helpful advice to make computers more eco-friendly and also answers common questions about changing the settings.
Consider a floor makeover
As a CBS reports, making an office more earth-friendly starts on the floor. Eco-friendly carpets that are at least partially made up of post-consumer recycled materials are both attractive and good for the planet. To help make sure you don’t have to replace the entire carpet if one small section wears out, think about having new square carpet tiles installed; this way, if damage occurs only one small area will need to be replaced. This will also help save space in landfills.
Shop for environmentally friendly furniture and office supplies
To help make an office greener, consider redecorating with environmentally friendly furniture. Desks made from natural wood and office supplies that use recycled products are good examples. In general, products that are “Greenguard” certified are tested to be sure that any particle and chemical emissions fall under acceptable standards, notes National Business Furniture. You can also outfit your office with supplies that are good for the environment. Many retailers like Wayfair carry an impressive lineup of office-related items that would work well in an eco-conscious office — just type in “eco friendly” in the search bar on the home page and it will take you to a page with products like the high-gloss simulated leather alternative desk pad and mouse pad, cube-shaped storage units, and much more.
See the light
To make the lighting system in an office more earth-friendly, consider installing automated systems including photosensors, timers and more. These will help to turn the lights on during the day as they are needed and keep them off and saving energy when no one is using the room. In general, fluorescent lights tend to use less energy that incandescent, and LED bulbs and fixtures are also good eco-friendly choices. If possible, use the sun as a source of light as much as you can; if your office has a lot of windows, use natural light whenever possible.