HOW: Determine what cause you would like to donate to, i.e: environment, children, health, poverty, arts, disabilities, etc. Then determine where you would like to contribute i.e., your local community, regionally, nationally, globally or another specific country. Also determine how you would like to contribute i.e., money only, volunteering only, goods only or a combination of all of those gifts. Perform an online search using the criteria that you've just established and enjoy the process of learning about the charities you are researching. Ask to interview the Executive Director of the non-profits that you are considering to get a full sense of what their organization is doing and what the impact of their efforts are. Ask the organization to share measurable goals of their efforts and how they intend to use your contributions. Engage your employees and customers in your gift-giving and allow them to contribute and allow them to get to know who the charity and benefactors are of the donations. To research charities use tools such as Charity Navigator.
WHY: Giving through donations of cash, goods and/or time generates a win not only for the benefactor and the community it serves, but often also creates exponential progress by setting a precedence for others to give. Expanding the culture of giving and contributing to society, lends itself to a healthier and more productive society all together.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF GIVING: In addition to tax advantages to donating to non-profit organizations, studies indicate that a company's social and environmental reputation positively impacts their employee retention, market share, reputation in the community and consumer loyalty ... all of which directly relate to reduced expenses, more dependable earnings and increase revenues.
Minnesota Environmental Fund, Recycling Association of Minnesota
HOW: Use the new national standardized labels on your recycling bins to: 1) reduce confusion at the bin, 2) increase your capture rates, 3) reduce the contamination entering the recycling stream, and 4) to reduce your expenses.
To learn where to dispose of hazardous materials, such as paint, chemicals, medicine, electronics, CFLs, batteries, etc. click here.
WHY: According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (Sept 2010) less than 35% of households and less than 10% of businesses recycle. When the number of people recycling reaches 75%, it will be the equivalent of removing 50 million cars from the road in the United States each year, it will generate 1.5 million new jobs and it will reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 276 million metric tons by 2030. And recycling limits additional use of natural resources therefore preserving our water, trees, soil and energy. Nearly every person, family and business can recycle. Recycling is one of the most important and visible actions we can do for the environment.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF RECYCLING: Recycling can reduce the frequency and the volume of garbage hauling therefore reducing the the landfill taxes that each home owner and business pays. Recycling incurs no taxes and the costs of both recycling and hauling combined is often measurably less than garbage services without recycling. National and global studies (Gallup, Good Purpose, Tandberg) reveal more than 85% of consumers state they will switch companies or products to support ones that are more environmentally and socially responsible, if given the opportunity. Since 'green' is a market share issue, recycling is a great way to publicly & visually demonstrate that your organization cares. Use the standardized labels on your recycling bins to capture the most amount of materials to reduce your landfill related expenses. Last but not least, Cone Research and others (2007), found that 92% of employees surveyed have an increased positive image of the company they work for when it practices environmentally and socially responsible initiatives such as recycling. Improved employee relations has been found to decrease employee turnover. Another bottom-line measurement.
RECYCLING CASE STUDY: Waste reduction agencies and consultants have helped many small and large businesses reduce their waste expenses by 35% or more each month. Additionally for food related industries, there are grease/oil, organic and food waste recycling service providers that will sometimes pay for a company's food related waste or provide additional hauling savings. Once a company has made the decision to recycle, they often have a greater awareness of their overall waste stream and find opportunities to reduce over-usage and unnecessary waste, which in turn reduces front-end expenses.
INSTALL ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING
WHY: According to ENERGY STAR, energy efficient fluorescent lighting reduces CO2 emissions up to 75% compared to incandescent lighting. LED lighting can reduce CO2 emissions nearly 95%. If each household changed one incandescent light bulb to compact fluorescent, it would be the environmental equivalent of removing one million cars off the road. To learn more about how to choose Energy Star rated lighting, click on the Energy Star logo.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF ENERGY STAR PREFERRED LIGHTING: ENERGY STAR qualified bulbs use about 75 percent less energy than standard incandescent bulbs; last up to 10 times longer; saves about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb’s lifetime; produces about 75 percent less heat, making them safer to operate as well as decreases energy costs associated with cooling. High efficiency light bulbs are available in a variety of sizes and shapes, allowing them to fit almost any fixture, both for indoor and outdoor use.
A small business with less than 1,000 square feet can save upwards of $2,000 in energy costs when they improve their lighting. Larger corporations are saving upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars by making lighting improvements. Many states and energy companies are offering rebates and refunds for businesses that are installing high-efficiency lighting. These rebates and refunds will not be available forever so make sure you take advantage of the opportunities that currently exist.
PROPERLY DISPOSING OF FLUORESCENT LIGHT BULBS: Please click on the ENERGY STAR logo to learn about proper disposal and recycling of fluorescent bulbs and tubes and to learn about the risks associated with mercury.
Watt Stopper and CFLs
USE A TEMPERATURE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO SAVE ENERGY AND MONEY
HOW: Install Energy Star rated programmable thermostats and set the heat at 68 degrees in the winter and set the air conditioning to 78 degrees in the summer. During non-employee hours (such as evenings and weekends) program the thermostat to approximately 64 degrees in the winter and 82 in the summer.
WHY: Less need for heating and air conditioning during non-occupancy times can have a dramatic measurable impact on the environment while having no negative impact on your operations. And this simple change doesn't required additional effort from your employees.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTATS: Installing programmable thermostats is one of the simplest ways of reducing your business's expenses and it requires minimal expense for the programmable unit. Managing your heating and air conditioning with programmable ENERGY STAR rated thermostats/systems and setting your temperature for greatest energy efficiency (without negatively impacting the productivity of your workforce) can save your company 15% or more in overall energy costs. Also, consider setting your thermostats to even greater efficient settings over weekends and extended non-operating hours.
AUTHORITY RECOMMENDING THIS ACTION:
HIBERNATE OR SHUT DOWN COMPUTERS
HOW: To learn how to shut down your computer system and use computer power management devices, click on the Energy Star logo below.
WHY: 500 computers set to hibernate after 5 min during production times and shut down completely during non-working hours will prevent 72.5 tonnes of CO2 from emitting. (It takes 51,000 adult trees to offset 72.5 tonnes of CO2 ).
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF HIBERNATING/SHUTTING DOWN COMPUTERS: The above scenario would reduce the business's energy bill $24,000/yr ($.10/kwh).
AUTHORITY RECOMMENDING THIS ACTION:
HOW: Maintain all plumbing to prevent drips and leaks. Install low-flow/high-pressure faucets, toilets and spigots throughout your facilities. Research the savings of water and costs with sensor faucets and toilets - do your research because not all sensor fixtures are created equal and if they are too sensitive you might waste water and money. For more information about water flow standards for residential and commercial, click here.
WHY: One dripping faucet can waste 2,000 gallons a year. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that at least 36 of the 50 states will experience local, regional or statewide water shortage by 2013. Each day the average American spends 100 to 176 gallons of water. In many countries people survive on less than 5 gallons per day. Look for all of the ways your business can conserve this precious natural resource.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF MAINTAINING PLUMBING & CHOOSING EFFICIENT FIXTURES: Maintaining plumbing to prevent drips, leaks and running toilets can help a company save the expense of: wasted water, increasingly problematic plumbing and related issues such as damaged sheet rock, structural decay, tile, mold, health issues... Additionally, poor plumbing sends a negative message to your employees and customers which can result in decreased respect for other areas of your business and/or lower revenues. Consider installing low flow/high pressure fixtures to conserve the water and your dollars even more. The rate of return is generally quick and worth the investment Don't forget to recycle old plumbing fixtures and hardware. Look for opportunities throughout your business to be more water-wise. You'll be amazed at the opportunities to save water and your financial resources. Lastly, pay attention to what your business puts down the drain.
MPR has incorporated storm water run-off management to reduce particulates upon discharge. Also, our plumbing fixtures were selected to reduce water flow.
ELIMINATE UNWANTED MAIL
HOW: Here are four websites to help you instantly remove your name from unwanted mail lists and phone book distribution:
WHY: More than 100 million trees worth of bulk (or junk) mail is received each year in the U.S. That's the equivalent of deforesting the entire Rocky Mountain National Park every four months. And most often the unwanted mail is never opened or looked at.
THE FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF REDUCING/ELIMINATING UNWANTED MAIL: The services that help your company remove its name from unwanted mailing lists can help your company save expenses involved in time spent handling or opening unwanted mail, expenses related to disposal or recycling the mail, especially heavy catalogs and phone books.
IF DIRECT MAILINGS ARE PART OF YOUR BUSINESS'S MARKETING, CONSIDER THIS: There are new services evolving that help your company more precisely target audiences who are interested in your offerings, helping your company reduce the enormous expense of flock-shoot marketing. These companies can help you reduce your printing, handling, mailing, and postage fees associated with direct mail by making sure that your mailings are "bulls eyes", therefore helping your company earn a higher rate of response and return on its mailings. But also consider more effective forms of electronic marketing ... give your customers an incentive to receive your promotions & announcements by email! It is the future ... best to learn how to capture the benefits from electronic marketing now. The next generation of your customers are 'living' online.
USE RECYCLED PAPER AND AIM FOR PAPERLESS
HOW: Choose paper for your printer, copiers, fax machines that is manufacturer with post consumer recycled paper. Choose recycled paper for your letterhead, business cards and marketing materials. Most office supply stores and printing shops carry 100% recycled paper. Also, choose napkins, toilet paper, paper towels made from recycled paper (choose paper products that haven't been bleached white).
WHY: On average it requires 60% less energy to produce paper from recycled stock than from virgin materials. Producing one ton of virgin paper requires 20 trees and 7,000 more gallons of water than one ton of 100% recycled paper. Recycle and purchase products manufactured with recycled materials to: 1) close the loop, 2) to improve the economics of recycling and next-life manufacturing and, 3) to maximize the environmental benefits of recycling. For more environmental and economic statistics about recycling paper and purchasing recycled paper, click here.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF CHOOSING POST CONSUMER RECYCLED PAPER PRODUCTS: Work toward ‘paperless’ to offset the sometimes higher costs of post consumer recycled paper and to also reduce the expense of toners, ink, equipment, repairs, and disposal. When possible, double-side the paper used in your printers, copy and fax machines and look for equipment that provides that feature automatically. The more than organizations 1) recycle, 2) purchase products manufactured with recycled content and, 3) reduce waste, the more that the marketplace and each participating organization will benefit financially with more affordable environmental choices and reduced expenses related to waste.
75% Post Consumer Recycled Content
PROMOTE LOW CO2 TRANSPORTATION
HOW: Your organization can provide simple things such as information to employees about biking safety or offering secure well-lit bike parking stations, having bike helmet give always, or offering incentives with a local car dealer who offers Hybrids or high-mpg vehicles. Your organization can provide bus or train-pass drawings or discounts, or front door carpool parking. Some organizations have dedicated locker rooms and shower rooms for non-CO2 commuting employees. Telecommuting is also a great way to reduce or eliminate CO2 emissions and often reduces traffic and commuting-related stress for the employees. To compare low CO2 transportation options, click here.
WHY: The Department of Health, Education and Welfare has estimated that automobiles account for approximately 48% of the carbon monoxide, 32% of the nitrogen oxides, and 59% of the hydrocarbons in the atmosphere. None of which are good for our environment or our health. A bus with as few as seven passengers is more fuel efficient than the average automobile used for commuting. The fuel efficiency of a fully-occupied bus is six times greater than that of the average commuter's automobile, while the fuel efficiency of a fully-occupied rail car is fifteen times greater than that of the average commuter's automobile. A single person who commutes via a transit system instead of driving alone will save 200 gallons of gasoline per year. A 10% nationwide increase in transit ridership would save 135 million gallons of gasoline per year. This fuel efficiency results in personal savings and in a cleaner environment for all.
A car occupied by one person produces on average 2.06 grams/passenger-mile (g/pm) of nitrogen oxides for work trips. A fully occupied transit bus on the other hand, produces approximately 1.54 g/pm, while a fully occupied rail transit system produces only .47 g/pm for the same distance. Similarly, the car occupied by one person produces 15.06 g/pm of carbon monoxide and 2.09 g/pm of hydrocarbons. The bus produces 3.05 g/pm and .2 g/pm of the same pollutants, respectively. From an environmental point of view, trains and electric powered mass-transit is the best form of motorized transportation. While of course, walking and biking are the ultimate forms of transportation for our health and our environment.
Choosing fuel efficient cars ... If each car in the U.S. had improved mileage by 2.7 mpg, we would eliminate our dependency entirely from Persian Gulf oil.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF NON-MOTORIZED OR LOW CO2 TRANSPORTATION: Studies indicate that the amount of income each employee earns is not the most important reason for employee loyalty. Job satisfaction and loyalty comes from the overall environment of the company, care for employees welfare, benefits and the overall reputation of the company. Companies with an eco-purpose, such as offering incentives for carpooling or mass transportation, can attract high quality, loyal employees, reducing the expenses associated with high turn-over rates. Also transportation incentives help keep employees on-time. In addition, offering incentives for employees to bike or walk to work encourages healthier lifestyle choices and consequently healthier employees; which can help keep a company's expenses related to production losses due to illness down. There are often financial incentives available to companies and employees from health insurance providers who recognize the importance of regular exercise.
Discounted bus passes are offered to employees. Approximately 20% of employees use the passes.
AVOID USE OF PLASTIC BOTTLED WATER
HOW: Have your water tested for drinking quality. If the results show that your facility has good quality drinking water than promote that to your employees and offer reusable water bottles (preferably aluminum) for employees. For guests, offer an attractive water picture in the meeting room with drinking glasses. To order a do it yourself test kit for your water, click here. If your water tests indicates your water should be filtered for drinking, consider the options that provide the most savings for the volume of water your facility will use and provide the highest drinking quality. To learn more about filtration options and comparisons, click here.
WHY: Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. If you're going to use plastic bottles, make sure you recycle them. Five plastic bottles (PET) recycled provides enough fiber to create one square feet of carpet or enough fiber fill to fill one ski jacket. In 2007 more than 30 billion bottles went into landfills, up 17% from the previous year. Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves the equivalent energy usage of a two person household for one year. Hard-lined filtered water dispensers eliminate most: production, packaging, distribution, disposal issues related to single serving and 5-gallon water bottles.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF ELIMINATING PLASTIC BOTTLED WATER: Depending on how much your organization currently purchases, you could save significant amounts of money by eliminating plastic bottled water and offering water from your tap or filter water, which is usually less than 1% the cost of bottled water. Click here to read about statistics regarding the cost of bottled water.
HOW: Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to help provide tools to seek out local businesses that can provide services and products for your organization. For more information, click on the following links to learn about national "Buy Local" initiatives and resources in your community:
WHY: Sourcing your products locally improves the link between creation to consumption which has infinite environmental and natural resource benefits. These benefits include improved quality of water, air, soil and our health.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF BUYING LOCALLY: Sourcing your products or services from local businesses can help reduce your purchasing costs and can stimulate your local economy. Locally sourced products can instill loyalty in your customer base and provide reciprocal opportunities between small businesses and the vendors, and large corporations and their community.
HOW: Choose products that are the greenest alternative without compromising effectiveness and quality. Choose products and service companies that have earned environmental certifications. Here are a couple of links to articles about various certifications and definitions:
ASK YOUR VENDORS AND SUPPLIERS TO CREATE AN ECO-PROFILE: Ask your current vendors and suppliers to complete an Eco-Profile to display what actions they are doing environmentally. Choose vendors and suppliers that are greening their operations and being transparent in their actions.
WHY: By increasing usage and demand of sustainable, natural and/or organic products we reduce dependence on non-renewable resources which tend to be harmful in their production and cause numerous harmful by-products. Organic and natural products have been shown in a number of studies to contain more vitamins, nutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants than processed or synthetically enhanced ingredients. These products are good for the environment and good for our health.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF SUSTAINABLE, ORGANIC, RENEWABLE, NATURAL PRODUCTS: There are increasing demands for healthier products and that demand is making the prices for such products more competitive. The market for 'greener' products is increasing faster than any other category in the marketplace. The future of our economy will reside with a balance between "good for the environment and good for the pocket-book". With the advancement of this emerging 'green' industry comes new jobs and a reduced reliance on off-shore suppliers ... while never losing sight of the global economy. It is the quintessential sustainable economic stimulus package of our time, if we capture it.
Wild Harvest products are produced without preservatives or manufactured enhancers, you’ll never find an unpronounceable word in their ingredients. Wild Harvest's wide selection of products are created with one philosophy in mind - simply food ... natural, delicious and affordable. Organic Farming means moving away from synthetic pesticides and herbicides and towards natural, sustainable agriculture. Organic foods help sustain small farms and safeguard the environment by protecting the earth's soil and preserving water quality. Soil fed with organic matter produces healthy, nutrient-rich plants. Naturally, flavor would follow.
Click on the logos below to learn more about organics, sustainable and renewable products:
We have an older building that we have remodeled which now brings in much more natural light and we added more efficient HVAC systems.
HOW: Create your Eco-Profile and then using the "Share button" in the upper left column, share your Eco-Profile on your social sites and ask your friends/followers/fans/customers/employees/family and business relationships to also create their Eco-Profiles. By doing so your EcoTree of Progress will display how many individuals and organizations you have inspired.
WHY: Encouraging your employees, suppliers and/or customers to meet this baseline creates exponential environmental progress in every regard. Mainstreaming these basic actions will measurably improve our impact on the environment and prepare us for the next level of progress. The current disorganization and chaos of 'green' is hindering progress, therefore getting society on the same page and doing some of the same simple actions and communicating those actions will bring exponential environmental progress.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF INSPIRING OTHERS: Green is a market share issue. In multiple studies such as Cone Research, Gallup, GoodPurpose, Tandberg, (2007) 92% of employees surveyed have an increased positive image of the company they work for when it practices environmentally and socially responsible initiatives. Improved employee relations, result in a decrease in employee turnover. Additionally, more than 85% of consumers surveyed stated they will switch companies or products to support ones that are more environmentally and socially responsible if given the opportunity. Your company will reduce expenses through these basic environmental initiatives, but it can also effortlessly help your business earn market share and become an Eco Hero by being transparent and inspiring others to do the same.
SCHEDULE AN ENERGY AUDIT
HOW: Contact your local energy company to learn how you can have an energy audit of your facility. To learn more about energy audits for commercial and industrial environments, click on the Energy Star logo below.
WHY: If each company received an audit and implemented minor changes, the US could reduce national CO2 emissions by 15% or more.
FINANCIAL BENEFITS OF HAVING AN ENERGY AUDIT: Energy audits often detect energy saving opportunities that haven’t been realized by the business and can often find energy savings in excess of 15-20% for each company. Many energy specialists and auditors have access to information that businesses of all size may not be aware of such as rebates, refunds, grants, and federal assistance to make improvements. These opportunities will not exist forever so it is important for businesses and organizations to take advantage of them while they are available. Check with your local energy company for more information relating to audits, incentives and rebates.
April 2008 Questions & Solutions 651-248-9566
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Though our building is not LEED certified, when renovating and expanding in the mid-2000s, as many LEED criteria were incorporated into the planning as possible, down to the choice of glass used for windows, non-toxic adhesives and carpet squares and our heating and cooling system operated by District Energy. We have since shifted to using non-toxic "green" cleaning products as well.
Our Green Team's goals are to promote a broad awareness of waste reduction, reuse and recycling methods among our workforce; reduce average waste output by one-third; and to promote a greener workforce as a corporate priority, recognized by MPR|APM's Board of Trustees through decisions and resource allocation.
As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, MPR's mission is to enrich the mind and nourish the spirit, thereby enhancing the lives and expanding the perspectives of our audiences, and assisting them in strengthening their communities.
We have undergone many major shifts recently in how we conduct our fundraising campaigns, encouraging our members to join the Sustaining Member program and contributing online. Both measures greatly cut down on paper waste.
In April 2008, MPR's Green Team initiated the "Year of the Bike," a cycling initiated encouraging employees to attempt to ride their bikes to work at least once. Tips on safety, maintenance, dress, alternative transportation and bike routes are available to all employees.