In today’s economy, organizations are looking for sustainable best practices that do not require a large capital investment. There are countless things organizations can do to reduce operational and maintenance costs. Below is a list of some of the steps Miron Construction has taken that not only make sustainable sense, but make economic sense as well:
1. HVAC Temperatures: we’ve adjusted our heating/cooling temperatures by 2 degrees F (down in the heating season and up in the cooling season).
2. HVAC and Lighting Schedules: we reviewed our occupancy schedule and adjusted the heating/cooling and lighting schedules to more closely align with occupancy. We’ve also eliminated the ability to “override” the system.
3. Dishwashing Schedule: we used to run dishwashers in the building every day, now they are only run when they are full (typically on Wednesdays and Saturdays).
4. Coffee Machines: we unplugged the coffee machines located in areas that are seldom used. Plug loads take up a great deal of energy, even in the “powered-down” mode.
5. Computer Equipment: Miron’s IT Department pushed down “sleep modes” onto all computer equipment.
6. Smart Power Strips: we’ve been purchasing smart power strips to ensure office equipment (such as calculators, overhead cubicle lights, etc.) is shut off at the end of every day.
7. Cleaning Service: our cleaning service is now on site on Wednesdays and Saturdays instead of every day of the week.
8. Direct-Deposit Payroll: utilizing this system in lieu of printing and mailing checks saves the company nearly $50,000 per year.
9. “Cool Choices” Program: as part of our employee sustainability program, we’ve partnered with a non-profit organization to educate our employees on sustainable choices and inspire them to make better, more energy-conscious decisions at home. As a result of sharing with employees how they can be more sustainable in their personal lives (to realize the benefits of the triple bottom line for themselves), their behaviors at work in regards to sustainability have also greatly improved.
10. Bottled Water: We have eliminated the purchase of bottled water within our organization. We’ve purchased ION water purification systems/coolers and installed them throughout the office and have purchased reusable “glass” glasses. If we had continued to purchase bottled water to the same degree we did in 2008, we would have spent $20,900 from 2009 through June 2011.
What are some of the changes your company has made to become more sustainable?