Going Green for Earth Month

Posted on Apr 21, 2011 by Theresa Lehman

Miron is committed to sustainability and truly believes that sustainable design and construction are not only good for the health and well being of the building occupants and for the environment, but makes economic sense as well.

We are living in a time when undertaking green initiatives is not viewed as an extra expense, but seen as acting on our shared social responsibility. Green building is on the rise and new technologies are being invented to offer more energy efficiency, saving the consumer both energy and money. By reducing the amount of energy we consume through our behaviors and investing in energy-efficient homes and businesses, as well as renewable energy technology, owners save money over the life of the facility, and are seeing the return on their investments in relatively short durations. Additionally, by investing in renewable energy technologies, not only are we able to create a clean economy through job creation, but also decrease our reliance on foreign oil, hence increasing our own security and impact on climate change.

It is true that to get a return you must make an investment, and in today’s tough economic times it is difficult to make investments. However, you can still minimize waste and go green by changing your behaviors. Some not-so-expensive ways to go green include:

• Stocking up. Products that you use every day are good items to buy in bulk as long as they don’t expire. This cuts down on shipping and packaging costs.

• Carpooling. Is more than one employee going to a meeting? Do you always choose the most efficient route or make additional trips that are not necessary?

• Purchase locally. Buying food and products from local vendors will not only help save on transportation costs and reduce carbon emissions, but it will help stimulate your local economy.

• Spring cleaning. Vacuum out dust and wipe refrigerator coils with a damp cloth to help the appliance run as efficiently as possible.

• Powering up. Buy rechargeable batteries instead of traditional ones, and properly recycle the used ones. Stores where you purchase your batteries often have a free recycling program.

• Donate. Give old newspapers to animal shelters. Give your gently used clothing and shoes to second-hand stores.

• Take a walk. Use the stairs instead of the elevator – better for your health and the health of the environment!

• Use the web. Pay your bills online to reduce paper usage and postage costs.

Now is the time to accelerate green initiatives, and there are many from which to choose. Take the initiative to think of ways that your company can stimulate a clean economy by creating green jobs, developing green products, or providing green services.

Start by looking at various green programs, such as Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council’s Green Masters Program or Wisconsin DNR’s Green Tier Program, or environmental certifications, such as USGBC’s LEED green building rating systems, that will help you understand how green your organization and facilities currently are and offer ways that  you can green your business practices and operate your facilities.

Even in a slow economy, understanding how to be green is more important than ever. Large businesses are starting to ask their vendors for their organizations’ Sustainability Report and Environmental Management Program. Tough questions regarding purchasing and supply chain are also coming to the forefront.

As business leaders, we need to act quickly and responsibly at this critical time to help curb climate change. By incorporating the values of social responsibility into our personal lives as well as our business practices, and using environmental tools as part of our commitment to continuous improvement, we can do our part to stimulate the economy and to put the green back into all of our pockets.

 

Theresa Lehman

About Theresa Lehman

Dedicating her entire career to sustainable practice, Theresa has worked on more than 50 projects seeking LEED® certification utilizing the LEED®-NC, LEED®-CI, LEED®-CS, LEED®-EBOM, and LEED® for Schools green building rating systems. She has successfully certified projects that have earned LEED® certification at all four award levels including: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Her portfolio of LEED® projects includes many “Wisconsin firsts” such as the first State of Wisconsin LEED® certified project, the first healthcare facility, the first LEED®-EBOM Schools, the first LEED® for Schools project and the first zero-net energy / carbon neutral project–the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center–the “greenest building on the planet” according to Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council.

Get in touch with Theresa Lehman
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Theresa.Lehman@miron-construction.com

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