Bottom Line “Green” Strategies for Businesses

19 Sep

Everyday business owners and managers are meeting to discuss operating expenses and profits. But how often do you see “Green Strategies” as a line item on the agenda? Not often enough but more often now than in the past for a good reason; green business strategies increase profitability.

When a business implements green strategies they reduce waste, increase efficiency and lower their operating costs. Not only do you help improve the environment, you profit by doing so. Where do you start?

There are a significant amount of resources available from organizations, companies and government agencies.

Industrial Technologies Program (ITP): Leads national efforts to improve industrial energy efficiency and environmental performance. ITP is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and contributes to its efforts by partnering with U.S. industry in a coordinated program of research and development, validation, and dissemination of energy efficiency technologies and operating practices. There is a wealth of information available on their website including additional details concerning the Industrial Assessment Centers (more info below).

Industrial Assessment Centers: The Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), sponsored by EERE’s Industrial Technologies Program, provide eligible small- and medium-sized manufacturers with no-cost energy assessments. Additionally, the IACs serve as a training ground for the next-generation of energy savvy engineers. Manufacturers can request an energy audit from IACS. A team of energy specialists will visit your facility, perform an energy audit and help you identify projects that conserve energy and reduce waste.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE): DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have conducted dozens of environmental audits in North Carolina. The state does a fabulous job providing information to businesses, consultants and the public. If you can’t find what you need on their website, give them a call – they are very helpful.

Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program: Partnership of environmental agencies, utilities and nonprofit organizations that assist, recognize and promote businesses and government agencies that volunteer to operate in a more environmentally responsible way. To be certified “green,” participants must be in compliance with all regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste; all of which result in lowering costs and increasing profits. The program was initially developed by local governments in the San Francisco Bay Area in collaboration with US EPA, Cal EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control and the business community. Although the program is focused on the Northern California area, they offer a variety of business resources you can use to reduce waste including “Green Business Checklists” such as the following for:

Buying Green Power in Your State – Green Power Network: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and related activities. This site provides state-by-state information on Green Power Marketing in Competitive Electricity Markets and Utility Green Pricing Programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) (also known as green tags or tradable renewable certificates), which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from a renewable energy project. Whether or not consumers have access to green power through their local utility or a competitive electricity marketer, consumers can purchase RECs without having to switch electricity suppliers.

Wind Powering America: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state wind project information, including validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, legislative briefings, wind working groups, and state-specific news.

Profitable Green Solutions: More and more focus is being placed on total carbon emissions; your carbon “footprint” so to speak. First, you must accurately measure your carbon emissions using global standards. There are numerous ways to measure and subsequently reduce carbon emissions that result in cost-savings. Profitable Green Solutions, a private consulting firm, solicites new business by offering free carbon audits.

Environmental and Waste Management Industry Global Outlook Report

16 Sep

The environment and waste management industry is subject to various laws and regulations governing the environment across the world; known as “cradle to grave” laws here in the United States that regulate the treatment, handling and disposal of hazardous substances and the discharge of pollutants. Editors at Global Industry Analysts recently published a report on the global outlook for the industry. The following is their press release concerning the report. Read more

Greenspot Program Needed in All 50 States

10 Sep

GREENspot needed in all 50 states

What do you do with unwanted computers, monitors, TVs, cell phones, audio-video components and other electronic waste? Landfill? Do you have any other option? Southern California residents do. They can now recycle unwanted electronics at dozens of convenient “e-waste” drop-off locations known as GREENspots.

California has established 126 GREENspots statewide making it easier for California residents and businesses to find free, convenient and environmentally responsible electronic waste recycling drop-off locations. All states need to create similar programs so consumers and businesses can recycle their unwanted TVs, cell phones, audio-video components, computer equipment, microwave ovens, electronic equipment from offices and labs and other recyclable materials.

ASL Recycling is heading the charge in California and it has recently extended its network of GREENspot e-waste drop-off locations into Southern California, adding 29 new GREENspots to the growing list of locations.

“Last year, when we started the GREENetwork, we focused on making the original language of the state legislation a reality by establishing ‘free and convenient’ waste recycling solutions for consumers,” said Carey Levine, vice president of sales and marketing at ASL Recycling. “Californians can now visit a website, locate a local GREENspot, and know that the e-waste they take there will be properly managed. And they don’t have to wait for a collection event in their neighborhood — they can drop it off at their convenience and know it is going to be handled safely and securely.”

When ASL Recycling launched the GREENetwork earlier this year, its goal was to make it convenient for people to get rid of their e-waste, and to also assure them that it would be treated according to industry best practices. With this second phase of its California expansion completed, ASL Recycling is on track to attain its aggressive goal of making it possible for 9 out 10 households and businesses in the state to be within 5 miles of a GREENspot. The company continues to emphasize public education on e-waste through community outreach, collection events, and mass-media campaigns.

How it works: The program is simple (if you live in California). Visit, type in your ZIP code and instantly locate a nearby drop-off location.

Who is ASL?
ASL was started in 1998 as an asset services company reselling high tech equipment and managing IT assets for large corporations in the Silicon Valley. When the state of California passed the Recycling Act of 2003 and California SB20 legislation, ASL made a natural progression to providing a free electronic waste recycling program to businesses and consumers. Today ASL acts as both a state authorized collector and recycler of electronic waste.

Every month ASL prevents approximately 600 tons of e-waste from being dumped in local landfills and is recycling 98% of the material that comes through the facility. Computers, cell phones, televisions and other electronic components have changed the way we gather information, seek entertainment, and stay connected with friends and family, and our colleagues and clients.

Do you have a similar program in your local area?
Leave a comment and let us know; please include your general location (city, state) and any info you have on your local program.

Additional Resources for E-waste recycling:

Plug-In To eCycling with US EPA: partnership between EPA and consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, and service providers that offers you more opportunities to donate or recycle – to “eCycle” – your used electronics. Plug-In To eCycling makes it easier for you to donate or safely recycle old electronics, including TVs, computers, and cell phones; and they work with communities, electronics manufacturers, and retailers to promote shared responsibility for safe electronics recycling.

E-waste: A blight on the environment and a company’s good name: CIO News article on e-waste recycling and the company Redemtech;  a Columbus, Ohio-based company that helps mostly large enterprises reassign, retire, dispose of and redeem IT hardware.

e-Stewards – Responsible e-cyclers: A list of companies that have signed the  Electronic Recycler’s Pledge of True Stewardship, the most rigorous criteria for sustainable and socially just electronics recycling.

PHEV Resources Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

02 Sep

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) operate on power from either an electric battery or a gasoline engine; much like other hybrids. However, you can charge a PHEV using a standard electric outlet and subsequently drive 30 to 50 miles before using any gas. Short distance commuters can eliminate use of the gas engine altogether but still have a backup power source when needed.

Expect to see PHEVs on the road soon given the fuel efficiency, which is in the range of 100-150 miles per gallon. Daimler Chrysler is conducting extensive research and Toyota already announced it was working on a commercial PHEV. Besides the benefits PHEVs provide – outstanding fuel efficiency, lower greenhouse gas emissions – hybrid vehicles generally cost less to maintain then gas powered cars.

For additional information, consider the following PHEV websites:

Oil Obit Energy Environment

21 Aug

Oil Obit – help us write the obituary for our dependence on foreign energy supplies. Here you will find hard-core, high-level information pertaining to energy alternatives, renewable energy, solar, wind, geothermal and related solutions. You can also follow the money – venture capital, mergers and acquisitions in the energy and environmental fields.

Feel free to register and leave your comments, papers and topics for discussion.

ACEEE Champion of Energy Efficiency Awards

20 Aug

Oil Obit News: ACEEE PR/Washington, D.C.—Pacific Grove, California (August 20, 2008): The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) presented four Champion of Energy Efficiency Awards at its biennial conference, the Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. These awards recognize leadership and accomplishment in the energy efficiency field. Winners are selected based on demonstrated excellence in program implementation, research and development, energy policy, or private sector initiatives. The winners for 2008 are:

Philips for leading the way toward replacement of conventional incandescent lamps in the U.S. market. Philips initiated efforts to set incandescent lamp efficiency standards in the U.S. and played a pivotal role in working with the rest of the lighting industry, energy efficiency advocates, and Congress to negotiate the lamp standard provision that was enacted as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This provision promises to be one of the most important energy efficiency appliance standards enacted in the past quarter century based on ACEEE’s analysis.

Dian Grueneich
for outstanding career-long leadership in the energy efficiency field, and innovation in utility regulation. Ms. Grueneich played an important role as a leader in the movement for energy efficiency policies and regulations in California. For the past three years, she has served on the California Public Utilities Commission overseeing the implementation of some of the most aggressive and successful utility energy efficiency programs in the world. She has played a major role in helping to develop incentives that reward utilities for meeting energy-saving goals, pushing for good evaluation to document program savings, and advocating for strong energy efficiency efforts as part of California’s climate change action plans.

ENE (Environment Northeast) for shepherding policies that engage stakeholders, substantially increase energy efficiency investments, and institutionalize support for energy efficiency throughout New England. Environment Northeast has played a pivotal role for over a decade in advocating for energy efficiency policies and regulations in New England, including an important role in seeking the inclusion of energy efficiency in the plans for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) agreement.

Austin Energy, Roger Duncan, General Manager,
for decades of leadership in energy efficiency and sustainable energy policies and programs that serve as models for utility innovation. Over the past two decades, Austin Energy has played a leadership role in delivering efficiency and sustainable energy programs to their customers. During this time, Mr. Duncan has advocated for and overseen the implementation of these efforts, recently assuming the role of general manager. Austin Energy and Mr. Duncan have not been content to just serve their customers’ needs, but have advocated for sustainable energy policies nationally within both the public power community and in the broader utility community as well.

These winners were nominated by their peers, and selected by a committee of ACEEE’s Board of Directors from an impressive pool of more than 75 nominations. Selection criteria were based on each nominee’s impact, innovation, and leadership in the energy efficiency field.