Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Recycling Pays Off for University

Here's a great story on the environmental and financial benefits of recycling.  The University of Arkansas at Little Rock purchased a $3600 flourescent bulb recycling machine that will result in a savings of $20,000 a year!  How's that for a success story?


Story and video courtesy of KTHV (April 2009)

In honor of Earth Day UALR's Physical Plant shows students what they're doing to go green.

The UALR bulb eater is a lamp crushing machine.

Vince Rodgers with UALR says there's a lot that goes into disposing fluorescent lamps.

"There are elements in the bulbs such as, aluminium, mercury and phosphor powders that would go into the landfill."

Until recently the physical plant at UALR boxed and shipped old fluorescent lamps to be recycled.

Now, those lamps are sent down a tube.

The bulb eater crushes the blown out lamps and consolidates the waste.

Rodgers says the machine is a win win situation.

"It's good for the environment and it's good for us. It does two things, it saves space rather than keeping these boxes around and it saves money."

UALR purchased the bulb eater for around $3,600. The machine alone will save the university $20,000 a year.

Rodgers says it's also a time-saver.

"It will take 1 minute to recycle bulbs versus boxing that takes upwards of an hour."

UALR student Simone Lewis likes the bulb eater idea.

"I think it's awesome that our generation can change the movement. It's just amazing that they say young people are the future and we're doing something about it."

It's a simple concept that's making quite a bit of noise.

Lewis says she's proud of her university.

"It's getting our name out there and we're just doing something to help our environment. I don't know how many other campuses are doing that," says Lewis.

UALR also held other events around campus today. Tire pressure checks and electronic recycling are all a part of the earth day events.

See Which Companies Are Taking Climate Change Seriously

For years, Climate Counts has been tracking and scoring companies' climate impact performance.  Using 22 criteria, Climate Counts determines if a company has measured and reduced its impact, supported progressive climate legislation, and has been transparent about its climate actions.  Companies are scored on a 100-point scale and the more points, the better.  For example, in the Media sector, GE has the highest score (74) while Viacom has the lowest score (3).

The goal is to make this information available to consumers so they know they have the power to support companies that take climate change seriously and avoid supporting companies that don't.  Climate Counts even offers a pocket guide that you can take with you when you go shopping, so you'll know which companies are climate responsible and deserve your support. 

Now Climate Counts has a new iPhone app.  The cool app gives you accesss to the same information so you can make responsible choices on the go.  Don't have an iPhone?  Then you can text GREEN[company or brand name] to 66937 and you'll receive the company's score.  Or you can still get your pocket guide!

USGBC Supports Haiti "Relief & Recovery"

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced it will help rebuild homes, schools, hospitals, and infrastructure in Haiti.  The USGBC has helped build new green communities following natural disasters in New Orleans, LA and Greensburg, KS.  Individuals and companies can support this effort through donations of machinery, building materials, or money through the Clinton Foundation.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Is Your Green Marketing Message Reaching Your Customers?

Guest post by Erin Edwards

A recent study found that people with the highest level of awareness of environmental issues were those ages 18 to 24 known as Generation Y. Though researchers were excited about this growing trend, the study also found that Generation Y is the biggest waster of energy and water in the country. Many people in this age category are aware of the environmental issues, but are not certain of the steps they should take to become green in their own lives. Maybe companies are marketing towards this consumer group in the wrong way.

After conducting research for a client, Adam Kustin, vice president of Shelton Group Inc. came to the conclusion that consumers ages 18 to 24 were seeking information regarding green products; not from the Internet but from some unlikely sources. The wireless generation makes decisions regarding green products from passive methods, such as ads, news stories, product labels, and word-of-mouth. Marketing techniques such as television and radio advertisements make it easy for consumers to listen to information without having to actively search the Internet to learn about green products. And if companies design products with labels advertising it as environmentally-friendly, it is more likely to sell to those consumers interested in more environmentally-friendly products. The wireless generation is concerned with comfort, wellness, and convenience, so they are more likely to purchase products or services that are marketed in these ways.

Keeping Up with the Joneses (in Energy Efficiency)

Guest post by Lori Shivey

Who would have thought that adults would still act like they are in high school? A startup company, called OPower, has found this out. People are still influenced by what others do and are doing. It seems that all it takes is No. 10 envelopes and smiley faces.

OPower, an industry leader in Energy Efficiency and Smart Grid software, mails utility users a personalized report about their energy consumption. In this report, OPower compares the utility user to his or her neighbors. In doing this, people can be persuaded to lower their energy consumption, which in turn helps fight global warming as well as reduce emissions. People who are using less energy get a smiley face, which motivates them to want more. People who are using more energy than their neighbors get to know that they are being more wasteful.

Dan Yates is the man responsible for this startup. After selling his first startup, at $20 million, he was able to travel the world and this led him to become an environmentalist. After his travels, Yates and Alex Laskey started OPower with the help of Dr. Robert Cialdini, who is a renowned social psychologist.

So far the company has done well. Customers who receive these personalized reports have cut their energy consumption by 1.2 percent to 2.8 percent on average. The company’s reports are currently being used by 1 and 2 million people through 24 different utility companies.

OPower hope sto combine its data analysis with smart grid technology, which will help get the information out to more people. People will then be able to see whether they are conserving energy or not, much like they compare other daily spending habits.

Listen to a podcast (or read the transcript) of a recent interview with founder and CEO, Dan Yates.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Students Join Us As Guest Bloggers

You may notice lots of guest posts over the next 4 months.  Students in the Sustainable Business Practices course at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will be sharing their wisdom with us this semester.  Students have been invited to blog about issues related to sustainable business practices and to also contribute to our ongoing Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week feature.  We look forward to learning from the young bright minds of our future business leaders!

Sustainable Forestry Initiative Releases New Standard

Guest post by Tamessia Green

The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has updated its certification standard with a new version. SFI is one of the world’s leading third-party forest certification programs.

There was an 18-month public review process which included updated information. The new SFI 2010-2014 standard consists of changes that deal with conservation of biodiversity in North America, climate change, illegal logging, logging training, etc. The SFI requires participants of the program to support and connect with non-certified forest owners that supply wood fiber, and also perform risk assessments on those suppliers to avoid illegal harvesting operations.

According to the SFI press release, the new standards are expected to:
SFI 2005-2009, the previous standard, had 9 core principals, 13 objectives, 34 performance measures, and 102 indicators. The new SFI 2010-2014 in comparison with the old standard has 5 more core principals, 7 more objectives, 5 more performance measures and 12 indicators. The new set of principals took place January 1, 2010 and each participant will have one year to meet the requirements.


More Reasons to Reduce Use of Fossil Fuels: Premature Birth, Low Birth Weight, & Male Infertility

Guest post by Herbert-LaVance Cunning II

Recent studies suggest there are serious effects of air pollution towards human reproduction. The two reports from Brazil examined male infertility and women's complications in pregnancy and connected them with exposure to air pollution.

One study examined 748 male workers who inhaled the air from major public roads and reconstruction of highways.  Of those 748 men, 500 illustrated some negative change in fertility.  The cause is the heavy metals used in the fuel burned in vehicles; exposure "directly affects the body."  The study concludes, "air pollution is one of the modern causes of infertility male."

Another study examined 13,660 births in an area with high air pollution and calculated pollution exposure of the mothers. The results found that 9.1 percent of children born were below the ideal birth-weight and 7.4 percent were born prematurely.  The cause is exposure to high levels of ozone (O3), airborne particulate matter (PM10), and  sulfur dioxide (SO2).  The researcher concludes, "air pollution contributes significantly to premature birth and low birth weight."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sustainability & Green Business Webinars - January 2010

Here is a list of some great sustainability and green business webinars still coming up this month.  Sign up and login!  Remember, save the it online!

Measuring Campus Sustainability: Reaching for the STARS (Jan. 19)
Beyond Grades: The College Sustainability Webinar Series: ADMINISTRATION (Jan. 20)
Sustainability Consulting 301 - Building Customer Relationships (Jan. 21)
Product Supply Chain Environmental Traceability (Jan. 23)
Sustainability Consulting 401 - Creating Better Proposals (Jan. 28)
The Basics of Climate Change (Jan. 29)

The Dream Reborn: The New Opportunities of a Green Economy

In celebration of this day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I would like to share with you  the new video, The Dream Reborn, by Markese Bryant (aka Doo Dat) and produced by Green For All.

The rap video is about the unfinished business of the civil rights movement, the green initiatives of our current Presidential administration, and the opportunities associated with the green jobs movement. 

If you are inspired, create your own artistic expression supporting green jobs or a green economy and enter to win $1000.

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