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Greener Blog is all about corporate environmental issues, green facility tips, new ideas, and industry news. We invite you to participate in our conversation by posting your comments and sharing with others.


The Stimulus is Killing Green Business!

Preposterous!  How could that be?!  Look, don’t get me wrong.  I’m as excited about the funding for green jobs and weatherization and other environmental programs as the next environmental consultant.  But until the melting pot of good ideas at the state and local levels finally proposes a series of programs and the good federal folks finally approve of those myriad of initiatives -- no one is going to spend an extra dime on sustainability services or weatherization or renewable energies!  

Heck, think about it from the homeowner’s perspective – We’ve been hearing about how great and cost-effective solar-powered hot water heaters are – and now we’re ready to buy one.  And if you bought it today, you would get the federal tax credit for it.  But who knows how much your state is getting ready to tack on through its new programs and incentives – and if they go into effect July 1 or later and you purchased it today, you’d be out of luck! 

Well it’s not that simple across the board, but many folks in the business are experiencing this phenomena, this stimulus lull.  On the other side of this sword is the fact that even though we’re not actually “selling” the products and services, it doesn’t mean we’re not busy!  Heck, everyone in the world wants to learn more, get proposals, and be ready for when the stimulus-funded programs and incentives are finally in place.  My friends in the solar business are writing proposals every day, and not selling a lick!  Interest in products and sustainability and greening initiatives is at an all time high…..and we’re all just hoping that the rules of the game will be in place soon….and that all of this green talk is actually leading to and supporting our green jobs!  Let’s hope so!J       


Lamp Recycling: Green Litmus Paper

Do you remember litmus paper from chemistry class? Blue to red indicates acid; red to blue indicates a base.…or something like that. In a similar way, basic recycling of cans, paper, etc. is typically viewed as the first indicator of environmental commitment. In the unwritten Rules of Going Green, you shouldn’t exactly be espousing how wonderful your new LEED-rated building is going to be if you haven’t even established basic recycling at your other properties.

Lamp recycling? Well, let’s just say that if you’re recycling lamps, it’s a pretty good indicator that your organization actually understands its regulatory responsibilities AND it’s probably fairly committed to the environment. Not recycling lamps? I’ve been on dozens of hazardous wastes / EPA inspections in my day, and RCRA inspectors just plain bristle up and start sharpening their pencils when they figure out that lamps aren’t being managed properly. Not recycling lamps is a clear indication that you really don’t understand regulatory requirements; that you’re not focused on the environment; and you probably aren’t running a very efficient building in any way!

Lamp recycling is a critical measure of greenness – because if you’re not recycling lamps, there are almost certainly other hazardous materials that aren’t being managed properly. Paint solvents – well they can go down the drain right? Old floor waxes and cleaning supplies - down the drain too or right in the dumpster? How about this bottle of mercury I found in the basement? You’re supposed to recycle batteries?

When I work with a company and I find out that they’re recycling lamps, I know that we have plenty to build upon….and that we can soon help to get that company credit for its efforts. Build in a commitment to recycle more and reduce wastes and energy and water consumption over time; and you’ve soon got an award-winning program on your hands!


Getting Your Facility to Go Green

Getting a factory or corporate campus to run smoothly is a monumental feat, so facility managers have good reason for pause when they consider tweaking their operations. But factors ranging from cost savings to environmental concern are prompting these managers to “green” their facilities, i.e. to make them more environmentally sustainable.

Sometimes the greening process begins with a directive from management and a healthy budget; sometimes it’s just a departmental initiative to make changes in the physical plant without affecting the service level or the bottom line. Either way, chances are you can make a big difference. Here are some places to start:

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Lynn Forsman's toast to the bay: Our glasses are half full

Chesapeake Bay Health Fatigue is all around us - from doom and gloom about dead zones to reports about failing to meet improvement targets set 25 years ago.

It's enough to make you feel hopeless and depressed. We believe that by working together we can turn things around. We see the proverbial glass not as half empty, but as half full.

Our ancestors came here by water. Many of us live here because of the water. Who, then, has a greater stake in the health of the Chesapeake Bay than we who live in the Sailing Capital?

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How Green Can You B&B?

Grace Manor Inn, Richmond, VA

It was the Summer of 2007 when it hit – the Green Tornado, or better known to her friends as Dawn Schick. Dawn and Albert Schick had been operating Grace Manor Inn in Richmond’s Historic Fan District for just over 4 years. Albert and Dawn had just taken the trash out – again! It was amazing how much waste their 4-guestroom operation generated! That very day, Dawn said, “Albert, we are going green”; and Albert said, “Yes, honey”, and the Green Tornado has been whirling ever since!

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An Eco-Bistro Experience

Croc’s 19th Street Bistro, Virginia Beach, VA

Croc’s 19th Street Bistro truly is an eco-bistro-experience. The definition above gives you a general idea of what you can expect from the restaurant and its environs, but it doesn’t begin to tell the full story about what Croc’s 19th Street Bistro has become in conjunction with its effort to go green. It has literally become the community hub for environmental stewardship – from its weekly hosting of a Farmer’s Market in its parking lot to its monthly Green Drinks gathering – to the tireless dedication of its owners Kal and Laura Wood Habr to support environmental issues within the community.

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