Friday, June 5, 2009

Felicia's Commentary - It's Not Easy Being Green

One of the many things I love about this network is knowing that I don't have to have all the answers. Collectively, we all have the answer. As I was talking with Felicia Middleton of Urban Aestethics, we chatted about the Sustainable Business Network (we are members) and being green. I was looking for a way to save energy by not utilizing gas. I have already switched the heat, dryer and oven to electric (getting ready for solar energy). Let's thank Felicia Middleton for giving me the answer for my hot water tank (tankless water heater!). This month we are sharing her knowledge....

It’s not easy being green but if you are advertising as a “Green” business, I hope that you, yourself are practicing a green lifestyle, no matter how difficult. Do you recycle? Do you reduce waste? Do you seek to reuse items as much as possible? Being green is not an easy task. However, as you start the change in your habits, it will begin to feel more normal. Old ways of living are difficult to change but with the right mindset and effort, being green is possible. I will admit, it is not easy being green. It is easier to through your water and / or soda bottle in the trash while you are out instead of taking it back home to your recycle bin. It is easier to have an item placed in a plastic bag in the store instead of refusing the bag and placing the item in your briefcase, pocket of purse. Now I will admit, all items cannot fit in your purse or briefcase or should be without a bag but if we start to think about it, many items that we purchase do not require a bag. It’s a challenge being green. Purchasing recycled paper and printing on recycled business card stock requires additional thought and money. You have to be committed to the cause in order to take on the responsibility. You have to want to be different than before; want to make a difference and want to help the cause. It’s really not that easy being green. Especially in my business. We have a bad habit of using a lot of paper. It’s the nature of the business. Normally, we make a practice out of printing drawings, checking the prints and reprinting. Over the years, the level of difficulty in cutting back on these practices has gone up and down. In the early years, I made a conscious effort to cut up unused drawings into scrap paper to make small tablets. Recycling the paper was always a general practice. In the present, I offer “Green Client Services”, where drawings are not printed, they are emailed. Although it’s not easy being green, here is:

This Week’s Green Tips for You and Your Business:
1) Carry a refillable mug with you to your favorite coffee house.
2) Read emails online as opposed to printing them. If printing is required, print on a sheet of paper that has been used on one side.
3) Recycle Batteries and then invest in rechargeable batteries and a battery charger.
4) Recycle printer cartridges. Staples offers a return on investment for all recycled printer cartridges.
5) Purchase recyclable paper.
It’s not easy being green. But I hope you will join in and make the color change. For real.

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This Week's Green Tip: Install a tankless water heater.

Help save the environment by cutting back on energy usage. Conventional water heaters utilize energy (gas, electric, etc.) to consistently heat a tank full of water in order to keep steady temperature. In contrast, tankless water heaters have a heating element that heats water on contact. This cuts back on the continuous energy used to heat water in a tank. An added benefit is the constant flow of hot water as opposed to using all of the water heated within your hot water tank.

Thank Felicia Middleton of Urban Aestethics LLC, a full service MBE/WBE design and project management firm located in Philadelphia for this blogpost. Urban Aesthetics provides complete building planning, design, green design, construction and permit services.