Welcome to SCC's Green Initiative
Today, we have an abundant amount of information regarding "going green", "green buildings", "green homes", "greener energy" and implementing more green initiatives within our regional business districts. The media gives many recommendations on why small-to-mid-sized companies should consider green projects, but they leave out many key points and issues. Here at SCC we are gearing our resources to inform investors of direct energy firms and establishments that offer products and tools that are proven to reduce energy cost. Larger companies have been reaping the bottom-line remuneration from these "direct energy firms" for some time, but small-to-mid-sized companies are just starting to follow suit.
We've created this "Green" department which offers small-to-mid-sized businesses similar luxuries, while acting as a positive force behind this initiative.
The purpose of this department is to act as an educational resource guide and network to business owners and companies who would like to be more involved in such initiatives. SCC's ultimate goal of this department is to prospectively foster a cleaner, safer and energy sufficient environment.
What has SCC done so far to help?
We have encouraged a variety of businesses to GO GREEN and have provided the following tips to assist them with this process:
Green Resources & Tips within the Southeastern Region
- Turn off computers and most office equipment when the office is closed. You will save $45-60 per computer per year that runs 9 hours/day rather than 24/7.
- Buy Energy Star labeled office equipment. You will save about half the power used by less efficient machines. Be sure to enable the stand-by mode, which reduces the "power vampire" effect of instant-on equipment.
- Install smart thermostats for your air conditioning system. It can cut cooling energy use by 30%.
- For printing high quality materials, look for paper that is recycled with a high percentage of post-consumer waste, and in which any virgin wood pulp content is from forests certified as sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Among the manufacturers of such papers are Mohawk, Domtar, Neenah and New Leaf.
- Where you can't replace incandescent bulbs with fluorescent, use halogens. They last two to four times as long and use half as much power. (Certain uses may be limited by high operating temperatures).
- Buy products with recycled content, to close the recycling loop
- Use recycled laser printer toner cartridges (it's called recycling, but it's really re-use). Send empty toner cartridges to be refilled.
- Use products that are poured and wiped rather than spray products where possible. It significantly reduces indoor air contamination.
- If neither of these is possible, make sure you dispose of electronic waste through an appropriate e-waste disposal program.
- It can be a challenge to get people to recycle effectively in the office. Consider doing an occasional informal office waste-stream audit (that is, look at what's going in wastebaskets that should be in the recycling.) Tell people what's not being recycled, and what's ending up in the recycling by mistake. Offer incentives for improvement. This is a great assignment for someone with persistence and a sense of humor.
- For basic office copier and printer paper, use one of the easily available 100% post-consumer recycled papers (carried by both Office Max and Staples, among others).
- Look for a printer who uses soy and vegetable-based inks and ideally, a chemical-free production process (computer-to-plate-no chemicals or film).
- Make scratch pads from paper that has only been used on one side.
- Make computer files, not paper files, when possible. While the paperless office is probably a fantasy, the "less paper" office is not. Computer files can be encrypted, password protected and easily backed up to thumb drives or online, off-site storage for greater security. Fewer paper files mean less floor space is required.
- Get off business junk mail lists
- Know how to use all functions of your copy machine. Set photocopiers and printers to print on both sides of the paper by default.
- Use ceramic or glass mugs for coffee and tea.
- Return old office equipment through product take-back programs, or donate it to an organization that can use it
- Look for minimally packaged items. For retail locations, tell that you prefer to sell items with less packaging.