Tree-huggers go corporate: minds meet at the bottom line
|April 25, 2012||Posted by Anharris under Energy, Events-past|
Last week at the British Consulate, three sustainability experts advised companies that energy and environmental issues extend well beyond the “tree hugger” movement–and that “green” concerns increasingly impact the bottom line.
Nick Masci of architect/engineering/construction firm Dacon Corporation, described the efforts of a client, Perkins Supply, to improve energy efficiency in its Taunton, MA warehouse .
The company spent $300,000 on an energy management system after the CEO noticed that his employees often got up to get sweaters if they were too cold or water if they were too warm. The new system both made employees more comfortable and enhanced their productivity by reducing the time they spent away from their desks.
According to Perkins’ Web site, the company also converted 1200 light fixtures to high-efficiency fixtures with motion sensors–saving 383 KW hours per year–enough to power 383 homes for a year and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 3641544 pounds a year–equal to that produced annual by 316 passenger cars.
Perkins also installed a white roof on its warehouse, reducing by energy consumption by reflecting heat outward, and a VRTx water treatment system, saving 540 gallons per year.
Rimi Chakraborty, a self-described tree hugger who is vice president at T3, a tenant advisory firm, demonstrated a model her company uses to help its clients measure various factors involved in deciding where to locate–such as access to public transportation, shuttle services and carpooling and energy costs. She also cited studies showing that many job applicants now consider a company’s commitment to sustainability in deciding whether to accept a position.
Erin Rae Hoffer, an architect and industry strategist with Autodesk, inc., which develops 3D design software for manufacturing, building, and construction, outlined various stages her own company went through in order to add to and manage its own “sustainable” building.
Hoffer pointed out that nations and communities are increasingly instituting guidelines, incentives and regulations to encourage or ensure attention to buildings’ environmental and energy impact.
China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, is developing a long-term strategy to maintain the security of overseas oil-and-gas supplies, rationalize pricing and taxation policies, boost nuclear and renewables and cut greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters reports.
In the US, national activity is limited, but many communities voluntarily adhere to international standards, Hoffer said. Some cities and states offer tax incentives for green building or energy enhancing home improvements; others make public a building’s energy footprint–which could impact its price when an owner decides to sell.
The panel, held on April 19, 2012, was sponsored by the British American Business Council of New England.
–Anita M. Harris
Anita Harris is president of the Harris Communications Group, an award-winning PR firm specializing in media relations, content strategy and thought leadership for companies and organizations in health, science, technology and energy.