Examples of Sustainable Business Practices-Energy

Energy Efficiency

Commercial and industrial buildings account for 61% of the energy used in Kentucky every year(Kentucky Energy Watch).  If not managed responsibly, the fuels burnt to create this energy can have negative impacts on human and environmental health by polluting our air and water.  In order to improve public health and protect important ecosystem services, it is important for businesses to commit to reduce their energy usage through efficiency and conservation measures.  In doing this, businesses will  not only have a positive impact on preserving human and environmental health, but will also reduce their energy costs and avoid peak-energy demands.

Suggestions:

General

  • Invite Bluegrass Greensource or hire professional contractors to do an energy audit for your business
  • Develop an energy efficiency/conservation policy for employees
  • Participate in your utility’s DSM (Demand Side Management) or DC (Demand Conservation) program
  • Become and Energy Star Partner
  • Promote home energy efficiency tips to your employees
  • Learn about and participate in commercial rebates and incentives for energy efficient purchases
  • Use power strips or unplug electronics when not in use, to reduce “vampire power”

Building

  • Make improvements to your building’s insulation and seals (weatherize windows and doors against air leaks)
  • Install some form of alternative energy(solar, wind, ethanol)
  • Use recycled building materials for construction or renovation projects

Lighting

  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED lights
  • Take advantage of natural lighting by remodeling workspace or installing new windoes
  • Implement a policy of turning off office lights when leaving for more than 15 minutes or install occupancy/daylight sensors or timers
  • Replace T-12 fluorescent lamps and magnetic ballasts with T-8 or T-5 lamps and electronic ballsts
  • Use individual “task” lighting where more light is needed rather than diffused overhead lighting
  • Regularly clean lighting fixtures, lamps and diffusers
  • Reduce off-hour lighting and install bypass/delay timers

HVAC

  • Install a programmable thermostat that will reduce energy usage when building or office is unoccupied
  • Design spaces and buildings to take advantage of passive solar energy
  • Clean and inspect HVAC system on a regular basis (monthly during peak periods) and replace filters every 3 months
  • Install alternative heating/cooling systems (geothermal, wood furnace, heat recovery systems, waste-oil furnaces)
  • Install ceiling fans and utilize only when in the room
  • Don’t hear or cool unused spaces

Equipment

  • Establish an Energy Star purchasing policy for all new office equipment
  • Establish an EPEAT certified purchasing policy for all new computers and a LED policy for all new monitors
  • Turn off hot water heater when not needed
  • Establish methods (power strips, standby mode) to turn off electronics when not in use
  • Move refrigerators away from heat sources and clean coils on a regular bases
  • Update appliances (refrigerators, washers, faucets) with more efficient Energy Star versions
  • Insulate all hot water pipes, heaters and storage tanks and set temperature to 120F

Responsible Consumption

  • Reuse materials: fix items rather than replacing them, find creative ways to reuse waste products
  • Purchase items made of recycled/ post-consumer materials
  • Purchase products made in the USA (stricter environmental regulations)
  • Purchase local products(to reduce transportation distance)
  • Use petroleum-based (plastics) and disposables as little as possible.