Sustainability101 Blog

Q&A: Brenda Pulley On America Recycles Day

Oct. 2015 Do we really still need one day set aside to promote recycling? Do we still need America Recycles Day? If you read John Tierney’s recent New York Times article “The Reign of Recycling” (and the enormous outcry that followed), you would know that the answer is yes.  We still need America Recycles Day because there are … Continue reading Q&A: Brenda Pulley On America Recycles Day

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Q&A: What is the most critical driver of sustainability within a business?

A new report answers that question, and more. According to Sustainability Insights: Learning From Business Leaders, some 44% of companies say engagement with business leadership is the most important factor in successfully implementing a sustainability strategy. A top-down approach, however, won’t work unless the business community puts sustainability at the heart of its operations. Source: … Continue reading Q&A: What is the most critical driver of sustainability within a business?

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Q&A: Which is a Better Environmental Choice for my Building: Electric Hand Dryers or Paper Towels?

While electric hand dryers and paper towels both come with environmental costs, there appears to be a clear winner in this debate: hand dryers. Electric hand dryers, especially the latest technology dryers that are 1,600 watts or less, have significantly less environmental impact over their lifetime than the use of paper towels during that period … Continue reading Q&A: Which is a Better Environmental Choice for my Building: Electric Hand Dryers or Paper Towels?

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Q&A: Should our business switch to LED lighting?

If your commercial office building or business is planning a lighting upgrade, you can’t beat LED lighting. According to the Energy Star website, LED commercial light fixtures offer an unprecedented opportunity to save energy, maintenance and cooling costs and is a natural fit for cutting-edge renovation, new construction projects, or easy retrofits. Reduces energy costs … Continue reading Q&A: Should our business switch to LED lighting?

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Q&A: How Can My Company Set up A Volunteer Program?

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Americans volunteered over 8 billion hours in 2010. Encouraging employees to volunteer in the community is a win-win for any business. Here are a few tips: Choose to volunteer for a cause that resonates with your employees or tenants. This might mean a cause related to your area … Continue reading Q&A: How Can My Company Set up A Volunteer Program?

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Q&A: How Can I Encourage Employees to Bike to Work?

May is National Bike Month. So how can you encourage your employees to commute to work by two wheels? Well, first, consider installing bike racks. Your employees need a way to securely lock their bike in a covered area during the day. Bike racks can help if you are pursuing LEED certification. Your biking employees … Continue reading Q&A: How Can I Encourage Employees to Bike to Work?

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Q&A: How much energy do I save by taking the stairs instead of the elevator?

There are many factors in determining the amount of energy used by any one person in any one elevator ride. Factors like the number of people in the elevator, the elevator’s capacity, whether it is going up or down, and the age/type of elevator. One estimate says the amount of energy it takes for one … Continue reading Q&A: How much energy do I save by taking the stairs instead of the elevator?

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Q&A: Our office does an annual spring cleaning. How can we make it green?

  Early spring is a great time to do an annual cleaning of your building or office space. Here are some tips to ensure your efforts are good for you and the environment. Declutter your file cabinets of old paperwork, making sure to have your recycling bin handy. Reuse folders and binders instead of tossing … Continue reading Q&A: Our office does an annual spring cleaning. How can we make it green?

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Q & A: What is Demand Response?

With the current high temperatures, buildings are demanding a lot from the grid to keep building occupants cool. By reducing energy loads during peak times, buildings can help reduce strain on the energy infrastructure – and get paid for it – with a program called demand response. Demand response programs exist to trim electricity demand … Continue reading Q & A: What is Demand Response?

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Bringing Nature Into the Office in a More Sustainable Way

Flowers and plants are often used at businesses for events & conferences and in building entrances and reception areas. But how can we bring nature into the office in a more sustainable way?  Great Forest recently met with Irene Woodard of True Blooms to find out more. GF: Why are flower arrangements important for businesses … Continue reading Bringing Nature Into the Office in a More Sustainable Way

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Q & A: What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs) are a technique of assessing the environmental impacts of a product by calculating its energy input and carbon output from cradle to grave. In other words, this technique analyzes all stages of a product’s life – manufacture, distribution, use, repair, maintenance, and disposal or recycling – to understand the environmental, social … Continue reading Q & A: What is a Life Cycle Assessment?

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Q&A: How can my company reduce our impact as we plan large staff meetings and conferences?

Spring conference season is nearly upon us. According to a profile of the convention and meeting industry in the San Francisco Chronicle, U.S. meetings are a $107 billion industry serving 136.5 million people attending 1.2 million business events annually. It comes as no surprise then that such events have a large impact on the environment. In … Continue reading Q&A: How can my company reduce our impact as we plan large staff meetings and conferences?

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Q&A: How Can My Building Increase Our Operating Efficiency?

Q: How Can My Building Increase Our Operating Efficiency? A: According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), commercial buildings use about 40% of all energy consumed in the U.S. However, there are many steps building owners and managers can take to reduce their energy footprint and save money through greater operational efficiencies. For example, an efficiency … Continue reading Q&A: How Can My Building Increase Our Operating Efficiency?

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Q&A: How do I make sure tenants and employees recycle properly?

Q: How do I make sure tenants and employees  recycle properly? A: No matter what type of recycling program you have set up, education is the key to its success. Lack of awareness is one of the major reasons why people don’t recycle. Here are a few ways to increase awareness: * Post Signage – … Continue reading Q&A: How do I make sure tenants and employees recycle properly?

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Q&A: I have the right recycling and trash bins, now what do I do?

Q: I have the right recycling and trash bins, now what do I do? A: Last month’s Q&A explained some of the characteristics to look for when purchasing the best waste and recycling bins. But proper recycling behavior depends, in part, on having the right bins located correctly. Some things to consider: Kitchen and cafeteria … Continue reading Q&A: I have the right recycling and trash bins, now what do I do?

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Q&A: How do I choose the best recycling and waste bins for my building?

Q: How do I choose the best recycling and waste bins for my building? A: Choosing the right bins will go a long way to make your recycling program successful. Some factors to consider: size, materials, and visuals. Size: Bins too big will waste space and be hard to move when full. Bins too small … Continue reading Q&A: How do I choose the best recycling and waste bins for my building?

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Q&A: What water-saving measures are musts for any commercial property? What’s the best way to tackle water management outdoors?

Q: What water-saving measures are musts for any commercial property? What’s the best way to tackle water management outdoors? A: Last month’s Q&A on green restrooms offered some ideas for saving water indoors such as faucet aerators, waterless urinals and automatic faucets.  Since buildings in the U.S. account for 14 percent of potable water consumption, … Continue reading Q&A: What water-saving measures are musts for any commercial property? What’s the best way to tackle water management outdoors?

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Q&A: Can you tell me some quick fixes to green restrooms?

Q: Can you tell me some quick fixes to green restrooms? A: There are many easy improvements that can be made in restrooms that not only can help lower operation costs but also have big benefit for the environmental footprint of your building. The cheapest and easiest solution for reducing water waste is the installation … Continue reading Q&A: Can you tell me some quick fixes to green restrooms?

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Q&A: What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is an international framework used by business, industry and service-orientated organizations to develop and implement an environmental management system that promotes continual improvement towards higher environmental stewardship. The ISO 14001 standard allows an organization to identify, execute and measure green programs that make sense for the company and its resources. Obtaining an ISO … Continue reading Q&A: What is ISO 14001?

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Q&A: Our office has old furniture and computers we no longer need. Rather than throw them away, we’d like to donate them somewhere; can Great Forest help?

Q: Our office has old furniture and computers we no longer need. Rather than throw them away, we’d like to donate them somewhere; can Great Forest help? A: If you have office furniture, supplies or equipment that can be reused rather than disposed of, check the Donation Assistance page on the Great Forest website. It … Continue reading Q&A: Our office has old furniture and computers we no longer need. Rather than throw them away, we’d like to donate them somewhere; can Great Forest help?

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Q&A: How can I make sure my office ‘walks the walk’ by having an eco-friendly holiday party this year?

Q: How can I make sure my office ‘walks the walk’ by having an eco-friendly holiday party this year? A: Here are some ideas to show your commitment to the environment: 1.  Consider throwing a party at a restaurant near your office that serves local foods. Not only is this good for the local economy, but … Continue reading Q&A: How can I make sure my office ‘walks the walk’ by having an eco-friendly holiday party this year?

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Q&A: As a building manager at a commercial office building, what do I need to know about disposing hazardous waste?

Q: As a building manager at a commercial office building, what do I need to know about disposing  hazardous waste? A: There are many materials designated as hazardous waste by the EPA, but most are not common to commercial office buildings. You probably mainly deal with items classified as Universal Wastes such as fluorescent bulbs, … Continue reading Q&A: As a building manager at a commercial office building, what do I need to know about disposing hazardous waste?

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Q&A: What is a Green Lease?

The “green lease” is becoming more popular with building management firms who have committed to sustainability and wish to promote responsible energy and material use within their building portfolios. Green leases typically require both the landlord and tenant to use energy and resources efficiently, regardless of the cost of energy; this usually results in lower … Continue reading Q&A: What is a Green Lease?

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Q&A: Is office composting feasible?

Q:  Is office composting feasible? A:  Yes. San Francisco, Seattle and Portland are among cities that have commercial composting programs. In NYC less than 3% of offices do and Great Forest has helped approximately one third of them set up composting programs. From our experience, the biggest myth about composting in the office is the odor. … Continue reading Q&A: Is office composting feasible?

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Q&A: Why Should We Worry About E-Waste?

Q: Why Should We Worry About E-Waste? A: With the increasing speed of changing technology, electronic waste or e-waste–discarded computers, cell phones, iPods and other electronics–is a growing concern. Toxic components in these devices, which may include mercury, lead and cadmium, can leak and contaminate the environment if disposed of improperly. According to the United … Continue reading Q&A: Why Should We Worry About E-Waste?

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Q&A: Where do my recyclables go after I toss them in the recycling bin?

Q: Where do my recyclables go after I toss them in the recycling bin? A: Collecting recyclables at your home or office in a receptacle might be all you have to do to recycle, but there are a few more steps in the process before your plastic bottles, aluminum cans and office paper can be … Continue reading Q&A: Where do my recyclables go after I toss them in the recycling bin?

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