Monday, March 30, 2009

Clear communication essential for green businesses

Good communication may be the key to making greener business practices are reality in your company.

Business analysts report that green initiatives require clear channels for information and clear set of goals. Missing information or garbled communications can easily result in one department undoing the green benefits of another.

A similar problem was reported last year in a UK report:

Green Efforts Hampered by Broken Supply Chains

Broken supply chains and poor communication between different departments and partners are hindering many firms’ effort to reduce carbon emission, according to Dave Food, Oracle’s UK supply chain director, reports.

What are the keys to clear green information?

1) Set green goals at the company-wide level
2) Coordinate each team or department's green goals with the company plan
3) Set up benchmarks to ensure that changes are taking the departments, and the company, in the right direction
4) Have regular meetings to compare notes and address issues common to all departments like paper supplies, low energy light and power or telecommuting options to make sure everyone shares their best resources
5) Where possible, define and check progress against measurable goals like kilowatt hours used or employee commute hours.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Luxury hotel proves green can be comfortable

The latest issue of Green Magazine profiled a restored luxury hotel that has proven that green renovation can be

  • Economical
  • Elegant
  • Comfortable
  • Sustainable

According to the site,
The Heathman Hotel, Portland’s independent luxury arts hotel, will complete a 99-percent landfill-free remodel in late April. The renovation, involving the historic hotel’s 155 guest bathrooms, was planned in accordance with the property’s commitment to sustainability which includes ensuring energy efficiency, utilizing local resources, and re-using existing materials whenever possible. The renovation is projected to reduce gas usage by 20 percent and water consumption by 50 percent.

Read the whole story on their site, and learn more about this model restoration, including an astonishing 99% recycled debris rate, 50% reduction in guest water usage and local materials usage.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A green car that goes zoom-zoom

Okay, raise your hand if you like to go REALLY fast in your car. Wave it in the air if the idea of racing around hairpin turns on an alpine road has you reaching for the keys. Now jump up and down if you would love to have all this AND have it in a rechargeable, green vehicle.

How many of you are waving that upraised hand while jumping up and down? This a car is ALL of that and more. Sleek. Sporty. Fast. REALLY fast! 0-60 in 3.9 seconds. Powerful. A top speed of 150 miles per hour. And yes, it's green. Do you have any idea how hard it is to type when you're jumping up and down and waving one hand wildly in the air???? But for this car, I am doing it!

The car is a Tesla...a far cry from the boxy, acceleration-challenged hybrids appearing on the roads. This is a real car.

A green car, yes. Absolutely, but a real performance vehicle. Something that draws you onto the open roads of Canada or Germany.

This is an electric vehicle. A car you can recharge in under four hours, then drive for over 200 high performance miles without feeding it again.

Yes, this car is expensive. Very expensive. With a base price of $109,000, it's not likely be appear in suburban driveways any time soon. And the options could easily push it over the $200,000 mark.

So why am I writing a glowing review of a super-expensive green product? Wasn't I just trashing the overpriced greenwashed market a few posts back? Absolutely. But this isn't greenwashing.

This is proof that a product can be green and still match or exceed the performance standards of "traditional" designs. That being green isn't just about duplicating a non-green product in a more earth-friendly version. It's about the green product being remarkably better.

The Tesla gives the green-focused person who has been known to go weak in the knees over a passing Lamborghini something new to dream about. And a whole highway full of hope that someday soon, green will really come to mean better.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Are green mandates a good idea?

Throughout the European Union, there are green mandates in effect for a variety of products and services from store packaging to home construction. Israeli new home construction must incorporate solar power sources, among other sustainable construction mandates.

So far only a few municipalities in the U.S. have enacted similar measures to ensure compliance with new, more environmentally friendly goals. And a few states have enacted piece-meal legislation to address certain industries. But we're nowhere near the level of our European or Israeli cousins.

In fact, earlier, voluntary shifts into greener building standards here have been largely abandoned as the economy has worsened.

So my question for today is...

Should the U.S. mandate green manufacturing, packaging, processing and building standards or will industries move in that direction voluntarily because of consumer demand?