Tag Archives: sustainability

Green Line Series NYC | Grassroots Engagement Drives Greener Healthcare at NewYork-Presbyterian

Being successful at sustainability is as much about community organizing as it is about operational prowess. In this Green Line Series, we speak with GoGreen NYC speaker and Corporate Sustainability Officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Jessica Prata, on how engaging the organization’s staff across departments — from the OR to nurses stations and maintenance — and giving them outlets to participate in NYP’s sustainable practices has catalyzed their capacity for achievement.

GoGreen NYC: Just how much potential does sustainability hold for the healthcare industry? What kind of impact has embracing this philosophy and these systems made at NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP)?

Jessica Prata: As health providers, hospitals are very central to the community. We have a responsibility to provide the healthiest environment that we can for our staff and patients. We also want to create a very safe environment for staff and families to be in, and for patients to heal in, so that’s where the tie comes in for us.

At a glance, some may not immediately see the connection between environmental sustainability and healthcare.  How does recycling and waste management, energy production, efficiency and cogeneration, and transportation fleets connect to caring for patients in the best way we can? In fact proper management in these areas does impact our organization’s ability to provide the highest quality of patient care in a clean and safe environment. If you consider the broad impact that a hospital has in a community, you recognize how these sustainability initiatives contribute to our overall air quality and environmental footprint. Also, the more money we save by managing resources and waste more effectively, the more money we have to spend on creating the best patient experience possible. The dots do connect.

At NYP, we want to keep our patients as healthy as we can and provide tremendous care, all while doing the right thing in the community. We are members of and promote Practice Green Health, a nonprofit organization that gives support and guidance to hospitals as they embark on this journey.

GG: What was the process for making sustainability a part of your strategic vision and plan for how NYP moves forward as an organization? 

JP: Back in 2005, there was a good amount of movement within our facilities department. A lot of initiatives started there as a part of a very aggressive energy management plan. And 2005 is the year we received our first award from the EPA — we’ve since received seven. Then NYP’s senior leadership started to question what other elements of sustainability could be addressed. Energy is a huge component that helps us save money and control our environmental impact, but we felt there was more to take on.

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Green Line Series | NYC ACRE + Micah Kotch’s Growing Web of Sustainable Technology

New York City’s technology sector is alive and kicking, earning acclaim for its solutions driven focus and merging industry clusters to support the vision of a cleaner, greener New York. NYC ACRE Director, Micah Kotch sits down with the Green Line Series to talk about how emerging clean tech companies are playing a role in reinventing New York City as the greenest in America.

GoGreen Conference: What is your perspective on how technology is currently being leveraged to solve sustainability in NYC? In what areas do we need improvement? 

MK: Both here in New York and nationally, we still don’t have an effective energy climate policy in place. That’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Without a transparent, long-term program that puts a price on carbon, in one form or another, the technology industry does not compete on a level playing field. And in the absence of national or international leadership, cities are going to continue to blaze a path forward, because cities like New York are most at risk for the negative impacts of climate change.

We see adaption and mitigation as amazing opportunities to spur both job creation and the development of new products for export. Here in New York, I feel like we have a lot unique assets that we’re trying to leverage: the finance industry, the media industry, our mass transit network, the fact that we have a million buildings, and our real estate industry. Also, our tech start-up scene. Our sweet spot is capital-efficient, IT-driven technology business.

At NYC ACRE, we believe that working right at the convergence of energy, water, waste, green building and the mobile and social web, presents a very compelling case for us to help emerging companies grow and get up to scale. We have seven companies that have graduated the program and created about 100 full-time jobs and raised about 17.5 million dollars. Our strategy is to go out and connect the dots that will lead to start of great, long-term companies. We want to get different clusters to spill over and have a real mix of people, ideas, products and services that are ultimately filling this need and that aren’t dependent on government policy to be successful.

GG: You mentioned scalability — you work at the foundational level with start-ups. Since there are a ton of big corporations in NYC, how does the work you do at the ground-level translate up to the Bank of Americas and the New York Times? What role do they have to play in developing these cross-industry clusters?

MK: When you are talking about infrastructures, you absolutely have to work with people who are the gatekeepers. So we have really strong relationships with National Grid and Con Edison. That is absolutely critical because you can’t go to market without the buy-in of those big players. And I think the same holds true with the real estate industry.

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Green Line Series PHX | Boosting The Bottom Line By Greening The Ballpark

In less than a decade under Derrick Hall’s leadership, the Arizona Diamondbacks have become one of the MLB’s most successful franchises on the field and in the realm of sustainability. Building upon a deep commitment to the Phoenix community and a pursuit of innovation on the operations front, the Diamondbacks have proven that greening the ballpark is both financially prudent and the right thing to do as a corporate citizen in the Valley.

GoGreen Conference: What was the motivation for the Diamondbacks journey into sustainability? What was the first initiative and why did you start there?

Derrick Hall: We have a social responsibility to pursue sustainability in all aspects of our operation. We recognize that we can serve as a very strong influencer for local businesses, as well as our stakeholders, such as season ticket holders, corporate partners and casual fans. Every action that we take here at Chase Field can be replicated in the business or home of these people. We figure if these people observe the changes we have taken in such a complex facility, they will be encouraged about following our lead.

The Northwind system was arguably our initial foray into sustainability, and was developed from the need to air condition our facility during the hot Phoenix summer. It uses a chilled water and serves as a sustainable air conditioning provider for most office buildings downtown. Other early initiatives have included recycling programs with Waste Management and solar projects with APS. Several corporate partners are showcasing their own sustainability efforts and we are a strong platform for them to partner with. The Diamondbacks (and its venues) are making some substantial capital investments into facilities.

GoGreen: Why have you chosen to take the leap past simple efficiency retrofits (recycling, LED lighting, low-flow faucets, etc.) and into more infrastructure-related projects? What do you believe the ROI will be literally (financial terms) and figuratively (environmental/community impact/etc.)?

DH: Again, social responsibility leads these decisions. We recognize the business efficiencies and ROI that will result from many of these changes, but this is not the motivating factor behind these investments. Our ownership has an interest in the D-backs becoming industry leaders in all aspects of our business and sustainability is no different. Also, as our facility enters the second half of its lifespan, many areas are in need of renovation or replacement, so it just makes sense for us to include sustainability. Making the change to sustainable components is the easy decision to make and, in some cases, the only alternative (i.e., light bulbs and government policies phasing out incandescent light bulbs and requiring the use of CFL or LED instead).

GoGreen: Have you found programs like MLB Green Tracks to be good motivators? Is it helpful to feel some added pressure from friendly competition? If so, do you think a similar model could be used in other industries successfully? How so? Continue reading

GoGreen ’12 Seattle: How To Get Your Green On This Wednesday!

Hey there Seattle GoGreeners! We’re making our way to the Emerald City this Wednesday for the third annual GoGreen Seattle and have some fun things in store for you. Read on for all the ways you can participate in the event!

  • Tweet Up A Storm
    We will be live tweeting all day from The Conference Center. We invite you to join us by adding your perspective to the dialogue via the official event hashtag: #GoGreenSEA. The more voices the merrier! If you can’t make it Wednesday, be sure to follow along online for all those juicy tidbits on how to make sustainability work for your business without sacrificing the bottom line.
  • “Pop” By!
    Drop by the GoGreen Pop-Up HUB — organized by the HUB Seattle — and take part in an organic roundtable conversation led by a certified visual facilitator. Share your ideas and learn from your peers in a open, informal atmosphere. We can’t wait to see what comes out of these idea pods!
  • Exercise Your Voice
    Write a blog post and share it with the GoGreen community. We love hearing from attendees on what they take back to their organizations and the “a-ha!” moments they experience while at the conference. If you whip up a recap or want to share a project you took on as a result of GoGreen, make sure to send us the link. We’d love to spread it out to our network of thousands of green business professionals!
  • Strike A Pose
    Snap a shot with a new or old connection in our photo booth and then look for yourself on the GoGreen Conference Facebook fanpage! We’ll be posting your next profile image shortly following the event.

We hope we’ll see you this Wednesday at GoGreen ’12 Seattle — we have a killer day of sustainability for business in store! Tickets are available online until 5pm Tuesday, April 24. Space permitting, tickets will also be available onsite the morning of Wednesday, April 25, starting at 7:30 a.m.

GoGreen ’12 Austin Green Line Series: Seton Healthcare Family’s Trennis Jones on Sustainability’s Growing Business Case in Healthcare

Healthcare organizations account for four percent of the nation’s billable square footage, yet they consume more than eight percent of the nation’s energy annually. And their costs, along with demand, are sky rocketing as baby boomers age and key resources (oil, water, etc.) grow scarce. Sustainability, it would seem, is on the mind of every hospital executive in America. And if it’s not, it should be. In this installment of the Green Line Series, Trennis Jones, Senior Vice President at Seton Healthcare Family, gives us the big picture breakdown for sustainability’s business case in healthcare.

GoGreen Conference: Let’s start big picture. This is a transformative time for healthcare — lots of questions are being asked on how it can improve, how it can increase the quality of care and how it can be more financially efficient. From your perspective, what is the overarching vision in your industry for how sustainability can make an impact on what you do?

Trennis Jones: If you look at hospitals alone — we use about 836 trillion BTUs of energy annually. We produce a little over 30 pounds of CO2 emissions per square foot — broken down, that is more than 2.5 times the energy intensity in carbon dioxide emissions for commercial office buildings. So, if U.S. hospitals spend over $5 billion annually on energy ­­ — often equaling one to three percent of a typical operating budget — that works out to about fifteen percent of the profits. That’s a big chunk.

Then you have in-patient facilities, which use an average of 240,000 BTUs per square foot. Hospitals account for four percent of the national billing square footage, but we account for eight percent of national energy consumption on average. That four percent of difference represents a big opportunity for us. The question is:  How do we capitalize on that and not lose the sight of the fact that our number one goal is to care for our patients better?

Big picture for us involves looking at how we can construct and renovate better. How can we construct that building going up differently than we would have in the past in order to be greener and more efficient? We recently finished construction on Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin. That building was constructed with the vision of it being a “green hospital.” In fact, it was the first LEED platinum hospital in the world. And even though we just closed out on the main building, we are adding on a new unit that will feature at a 20-kilowatt photovoltaic array for the solar water heating system that will reduce energy consumption for that unit by three percent. With the future in mind, we are also installing three electric vehicle (EV) charging stations for patients who are driving progress by owning an EV.

GG: Obviously these initiatives are already having an effect on Seton’s bottom-line. Do you feel sustainability can directly affect the quality of patient care as well?

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Topic DrillDown: How to Become a Green Business in Austin

Image Credit: City of Austin

If you live in the City of Austin, Texas and you want to run a green business—you’re in luck. Not only does the City support and encourage its hometown organizations (over 80% of which are micro-businesses; having 20 employees or less) to embed sustainability into their values and operations, but it provides coordinated programs to make the process easier, faster and the results more impactful. At this year’s GoGreen Austin event, the City will be hosting a special session called How to Become a Green Business:  An A – Z Guide. This session, in particular, will be a great opportunity to pair the strategic and tactical advice learned throughout the day at GoGreen with concrete information about the real-world resources available in the Austin area. Austin’s own Chief Sustainability Officer, Lucia Athens, will moderate a panel of local business leaders who have worked with the City to lead their companies through the adoption of greener values and programs. The session will focus on the following aspects of greening your organization:

  • Energy Efficiency (and available upgrade incentives)
  • Water Management
  • Zero Waste Strategies
  • Commuting Solutions
  • Carbon Footprint Reduction

This session will also speak to a new understanding of what sustainability means for the Austin Community. The City’s Office of Sustainability has outlined a definition  that shows the integrated nature of how it applies to all aspects of doing business and building a thriving, prosperous community.

Sustainability means finding a balance among three sets of goals: 1) Prosperity and jobs, 2) conservation and the environment, and 3) community health, equity and cultural vitality. It means taking positive, proactive steps to protect quality of life now, and for future generations. — Office of Sustainability, City of Austin

Image Credit: Office of Sustainability, City of Austin

Learn more about the City of Austin’s Green Business Leaders program at their website. To view all GoGreen ’12 Austin sessions and register for the event, Wednesday, April 4, visit austin.gogreenconference.net.

GoGreen ’11 Phoenix Green Vid: Kevin Tuerff Brings Straight Talk On The Evolution of Greenwashing in America

It might be a wee bit dramatic to say that greenwashing has reached epidemic proportions in America. But the truth is some companies and organizations are trying to cash in on the brand equity true sustainability can bring without walking the talk themselves. Also true—there are far more businesses doing the work to be green, but going overboard on their message unintentionally. The folks at EnviroMedia, and co-founders Valerie Davis and Kevin Tuerff in particular, are experts when it comes to spotting the phonies, the unwitting offenders and advising companies on how to communicate their sustainability values in an honest, transparent way. In this special video edition of the Green Line Series, Kevin shares with us his views on the politicization of sustainability, strategy to stay ahead of the regulatory curve and the evolution of greenwashing in America.

To learn more about greenwashing and how to avoid its pitfalls, come see Kevin live at GoGreen ’11 Phoenix, Tuesday, November 15! Kevin will give a special lunch presentation on the topic for attendees. Learn more about Kevin and Enviromedia at their website and the Greenwashing Index (created in partnership with the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication)

GoGreen Portland 2011 – Photoshoot!

The Pictures from GoGreen Portland 2011 are up and ready for your viewing pleasure! Thank you again to all of our sponsors, partners, exhibitors, and last but not least – our attendees! We couldn’t have done it without all of you there. Our fourth year in Portland reached new heights and we can’t wait to see what next year brings.

GoGreen ’11 Portland Green Line Series: George Northcroft on What Happens When The Federal Government Goes Green

The U.S. Government is the largest landowner in the world—so when they decide to go green, it amounts to huge impact. In this week’s Green Line Series, U.S. General Services Administration’s Northwest/Arctic Regional Administrator, George Northcroft, tells us how greening the government’s supply chain is driving a more sustainable economy in Oregon and beyond.

GoGreen Conference: When the government decides to green its supply chain—what does that encompass? How far is GSA going in terms of implementing sustainable best practices?
George Northcroft: GSA is looking at the big picture of our carbon footprint, and that includes the supply chain. Right now, we are looking at how we can incorporate sustainability requirements into our supply chain contracts. While we’re still working out the details, this would likely mean asking our suppliers to provide a greenhouse gas inventory of their own emissions, for GSA to use in procurement decisions. We are currently doing a pilot program called the GreenGov Supply Chain Partnership to work with industry to learn the best way to do this.

GG: The U.S. Government is naturally a huge consumer of goods, services and raw resources. How do your choices impact the overall supply chain of sustainable goods in this country?
GN: In our region alone – Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska – GSA leases or owns more than 600 office buildings, and procures $10 billion in goods and services each year. We have enormous leverage on the supply chain, and are using our purchasing power to encourage businesses to make more sustainable goods and services available, since there is an tremendous Federal market seeking them.

GG: Do you believe that GSA and other large organizations have a greater weight to pull in shifting the paradigm towards a green economy because your potential for impact is so much greater than most? If so, what kind of role is GSA pursuing and how?
GN: As the world’s biggest landlord and purchaser of goods and services, we have a special obligation to lead the shift to a green economy. In green building, we have established a Green Proving Ground project where innovative green-building technologies are being tested at Federal buildings across the country and the agency is learning more about those technologies to apply them elsewhere. We also manage the Federal vehicle fleet, and have been making steady progress toward greening our vehicles. In the last two years, we’ve moved the Federal fleet to 50% alternative fuel vehicles and that number is still increasing. We are conducting a 100-vehicle pilot of electric vehicles (Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs, and Thinks) across the country to learn how electric vehicles can work in the government setting. As stewards of taxpayers dollars, the governments needs to be on the cutting edge and I think we are doing a good job of leveraging our purchasing power while making sound financial choices in a lean budget environment.

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GoGreen ’11 Portland Green Line Series: Intel’s Lorie Wigle on Empowering People To Make Sustainable Choices

Intel’s General Manager for Eco-Technology and GoGreen ’11 Portland Keynote Speaker, Lorie Wigle, has her eye fixed on the business opportunities in sustainability. Using Intel technology, she and her team are tackling our biggest environmental problems by increasing efficiency, driving systemic integration and empowering people with the tools to make smarter choices about their energy and resource consumption.

GoGreen Conference: Tell us about the connections between Intel’s penchant for chasing invention, ingenuity and discovery as a technology company, and sustainability. How does a greener mindset fit into that picture?

Lorie Wigle: It’s interesting because that question causes us to ask: What does sustainability mean? There’s a writer and proprietor at Greenbiz.com, Joel Makower, who has formed a framework to describe it in the context of business. His theory is that companies go through three stages of evolution in sustainability.

The first one is to do no harm. For Intel that’s very germane to the way we run our factories. Our factories use energy and water. If we want to do no harm, we have to figure out how to minimize our impact. Intel has actually been reporting our environmental footprint since 1994. We make goals well in advance of necessity and we look closely at our environmental footprint in order to ensure we’re meeting them across the board.

The second stage, as Joel puts it, is to do well by doing good. A great example of that at Intel is how we look at our microprocessors. Microprocessors are used in servers, data centers and the notebook computers and smartphones we all carry around with us. Energy efficiency has become a prime basis for competition with the microprocessor—so the more energy efficient we make our products, the better we do in the marketplace and by the environment.

We did an analysis for our CEO recently, looking at the overall energy consumption of the first one billion connected PCs. There were approximately one billion connected PCs in 2007 and together they consumed about 320 terawatt hours of energy per year. Now, we’re forecasting there will be two billion connected PCs globally by the end of 2014—but the amazing thing is that those two billion PCs will use half the energy that the first billion used, and they’ll do seventeen times as much work. The reason for that is that we’ve been able to capitalize on Moore’s Law—which is the doubling of transistors every 18 to 24 months—to drive better energy efficiency and form factors. Through things like this, we do well by doing good.

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