Monday, February 12, 2007

Steps You May Take for Positve Change

As you make changes at home, also think of the organizations in which you are involved: churches, schools, service clubs, etc.

Energy efficiency
. Suggest replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents, buying energy-efficient equipment bearing the Energy Star label and turning the equipment's power management features on by default.

Fresh, local, organic foods. Make a case for the right to eat as healthily at the company or school cafeteria as you do at home.

Waste reduction. Many organizations recycle because local ordinances require it, but could be induced to do more, such as replacing in-house print communications with email, using two-sided copiers, reusing packaging and establishing a purchasing policy that favors items with recycled content. Electronics manufacturers should be encouraged to offer take-back programs for their wares.

Integrated pest management. A good suggestion for any organization, but especially for schools and houses of worship where children are found, is to use integrated pest management (IPM) rather than more conventional -- and poisonous -- means for controlling pests. IPM relies on prevention, habitat modification, development of good soil health and non-toxic strategies as much as possible.

Commuter benefits. Propose a commuter benefits program that allows employees to pay for public transit with pre-tax dollars. Some generous for-profit employers can even be persuaded to foot the transit bill and take the tax benefits themselves -- or split the costs and benefits with workers. Other good suggestions include parking cash-outs (where employees get payments in exchange for not using free company parking); carpooling incentives (such as reserved parking spots in the best locations); telecommuting; a guaranteed emergency ride home for transit, vanpool and carpool users; and bike racks and showers for bikers.

Green design. Recommend that organizations that are renovating or building new facilities use sustainable strategies that limit sprawl, minimize water and energy usage, preserve natural resources such as wood and protect indoor environmental quality for users of the facility.

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