How to implement the Green Commitment
If you joined the Green Chamber recently, you must have made the Green Commitment. For some, the Green Commitment might seem intimidating or too complicated to accomplish. In this article learn more about the importance of the Green Commitment to the environment and to your business, and gain valuable information to help you to implement its measures.
The Green Chamber member’s benefits have been designed to help companies find critical business connections, opportunities to collaborate and practical education. But first, all members must implement the Green commitment in their business.
When making the Green Commitment, the first step to take is to designate at least one person in the organization to coordinate sustainability efforts. It is important to designate a coordinator to avoid business practices reverting back to the way they were previously performed. We would be happy to work with that person on a regular basis, share tips and pointers to maintain the Green Commitment, and keep track of your progress.
We suggest you create a schedule to keep track of all the changes you’ve made, since the Green commitment requires completing at least 3 of the following within 60 days on joining:
- Create a written environmentally preferred purchasing program- make purchases from firms that provide clean and green products and services. Many of our members offer such products or services, and you might want to check with them first. Some members offer special promotions just for Green Chamber members.
- Implement a program to recycle or reuse at least two of the following: cardboard (corrugated cardboard boxes), paper, plastics, metals (steel, aluminum, etc.) and recyclable glass. Click here for more information about how to create a recycling program.
- Purchase copier and printer paper materials made from a minimum of 30% post-consumer content to conserve resources and to support the recycling market. Learn more about post-consumer materials here.
- Program copiers and printers to print duplex (double-sided) as default. More tips to reduce paper waste in the office can be found in this article.
- Implement a program to donate or recycle used or surplus stuff, such as office equipment, office furniture, office supplies, etc. in addition, refill spent toner cartridges, or send to the an appropriate recycling vendor for recycling or remanufacturing. Don’t forget to properly dispose of all spent fluorescent tubes and CFL’s (Do not throw in the garbage).
- Prevent e-waste by implementing a program to recycle or donate old electronic equipment (such as computers, printers, cell phones, and pagers). Furthermore, recycle or properly dispose of batteries to a certified hazardous waste program.
- Track all water and energy usage, as well as solid and hazardous waste generation. Learn more about mandatory water use restrictions in San Diego County.
Some of the following actions are quite basic, while others call for more attention. The Green Commitment requires you complete at least 4 of the following within 90 days of joining- a very feasible goal!
- Turn off and/or unplug office equipment that is not required to operate after business hours to avoid passive energy consumption, including small electronics and personal items. It’s amazing how much energy we can actually save just by unplugging electrical equipment that isn’t being used: typically 5-10% of residential electricity use! Click here to read more about standby power.
- Program all computers and printers to use power saving measures after 30 minutes.
- Use programmable thermostats or manually set temperature for after hours by several degrees (e.g.: 85 degrees summer, 65 degrees winter).
- Turn off all non-emergency lights after business hours.
- Perform maintenance at intervals recommended by the manufacturer on all HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and refrigeration systems.
- When replacing incandescent light bulbs, replace with energy efficient bulbs (e.g.: fluorescent, CFL, or LED) or ENERGY STAR rated fixtures
- Check air filters regularly and clean or change as needed (monthly for disposable, 3 months for permanent).
Water conservation is especially important in San Diego County, where water is scarce. Make sure to complete at least 3 of the following within 60 days of joining:
- Post signs in restrooms and kitchen areas encouraging water conservation.
- Install low flow aerators with flow rates not to exceed 0.5 gpm for lavatory sinks.
- Adjust exterior sprinkler durations seasonally and water during non-daylight hours only. Test for proper coverage and leaks on a monthly basis and repair/correct as needed in a timely manner.
- Use low-flow toilets, faucets, hoses, and other water-conservation techniques where applicable.
Since this is more of a long-term project, it can be completed within 180 days (that’s 6 months!) of joining. Choose one of the following:
- Implement a program to keep company vehicles well maintained to prevent leaks, minimize emissions and encourage employees to do the same, including keeping tires properly inflated.
- Avoid to the greatest extent possible the use of toxic chemicals, synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or other chemicals that harm the environment and the health of all living beings.