Category Archives: Sustainable Business

No More Excuses for Not Becoming Energy Efficiency

I’ve been seeing blogs and other news articles at the national level make statements that we have exhausted our efforts on being more energy efficient as a country, that most businesses have addressed all the low hanging fruit.  That is so not true.  Even our building which has been Energy Star certified for 5 years now we have been working on an energy reduction plan for 2014 – 2015 and we have again learned that we can probably reduce our energy usage by at least another 50…% because of technological advances in lighting since 5-6 years ago and other low hanging, low cost upgrades.  It is not something you can say you have accomplished and there is no more room for improvement – that is why you need someone to focus on this.  Waste reduction is the same situation.  Now solar has become very reasonably priced so there is even a good chance that we could generate on-site the remaining energy that we may need and become a net zero electric usage building.  Why would a business not want to add that money that is paid for utilities and waste right to their bottom line?  I’ve also been in several presentations by our utility companies and have heard them say that commercial building owners in Muskegon have not taken advantage of the business solution incentives like in our neighboring counties.  So I challenge all building owners/managers everywhere in West Michigan to join the Battle of the Buildings and let’s get it done – there are no excuses.  http://www.usgbcwm.org/battle.php

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2014 Sustainability Trends (2 of 10)

I finally spent some time reading the “State of Green Business 2014” which is published each year by www.greenbiz.com  and sustainability metrics and indicators is the major story line and I’ve read that in many reports and articles.  About two years ago I started using a Sustainability Dashboard and so far that has served us well.  www.green2sustainable.com

The report introduces ten key trends for 2014 and I will briefly comment on two of them every few days this week:

1.  Collaboration Becomes An Accelerator: We have a great example here in West Michigan where competing manufacturers joined forces voluntarily to drive the supply chain and created BIFMA’s (Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association) e3 Sustainability Standard (http://www.bifma.org/?page=sustainability)  Another example: the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef involving members of the entire beef value chain along with leading nonprofits setting the principles and criteria for sustainable beef.

2.  Chemical Transparency: Did you know there were more than 85,000 chemicals in commerce in the U.S. alone?  About 2,000 new chemicals are introduced into commerce annually in the U.S. – that is about six new chemicals every day.  Research everyday is discovering the dangers to humans and the environment from many of these chemicals.  Walmart and Target have been driving the retail market to approach these issues head-on.  In 2014 ten priority chemicals will be named with a requirement to disclose ingredients and remove priority hazardous chemicals.  In California, the Department of Toxic Substances Control by April will select up to five “priority products” for manufacturers to reformulate into safer products using green chemistry and I’ve heard that if a manufacturer refuses to do this, they will not be allowed to sell their products in California.  I am keeping a close eye on this one as the commercial cleaning industry has manufacturers that won’t go with the 3rd party green certification path because they don’t want to expose their list of ingredients for trade secret reasons, so this will all be very interesting.  If manufacturers refuse, opportunities will be created for others.

Next post I will talk about the next two:

3.  Water as a Risk Factor

4.  Shadow Pricing

Battle of the Buildings West Michigan Style

Are you ready to rumble with us?  Calling all commercial buildings anywhere west of US127 from the Indiana border to the Mackinac Bridge and all of the Upper Peninsula to join us for Battle of the Buildings West Michigan style!  The competition will run the entire 2014 year and is focused on energy reduction year 2014 over 2013 – The Biggest Loser wins!  Already more than 1,000,000 square feet of buildings are committed to work towards a loose!  Check it out here Battle of the Buildings

In the news:

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2014/01/us_green_building_council_spon.html

http://mibiz.com/news/design-build/item/21237-local-usgbc-chapter-launches-battle-of-the-buildings