*As part of a regular series, our Professional Spotlight will examine a business whose expertise can be useful to Sustainable Supply’s customers.
Back in August of 2008, the city of Denver, Colorado was poised to host the Democratic National Convention for the first time since 1908. In preparation for the event, the Convention and city officials installed numerous green requirements designed to spur the sustainability of such large events.
According to Janet Burgesser, Program Manager of Certifiably Green Denver, it was the businesses of the city who asked whether the city leaders would continue to commit to sustainability practices in Denver. As a result, the Denver Department of Environmental Health decided to get proactive by working with businesses, and eventually Certifiably Green Denver was born.
Benefits to Businesses
The value to Denver businesses who seek the assistance of Certifiably Green Denver is outstanding. Sustainability Advisors are provided at no cost to the company owner, and the entire process consists of two steps:
- Businesses schedule a walk-through assessment with a Sustainability Advisor.
- At the conclusion of the assessment, the adviser works with stakeholders to prioritize the practices that will benefit the particular business. Advisers provide assistance whether the business is interested in single measures or overall certification.
Burgesser has found that companies are growing more and more receptive to the savings generated by energy and water efficiency as well as waste reduction, with a typical response from an owner indicating that the business case for green retrofits is what closes the deal.
Shockingly, Burgesser revealed that she still sees toilets that are consuming 3-5 gallons per flush! Owners who drop those toilets down to 1.28 GPF, or less, are in for a pleasant surprise when the next water bill arrives.
In fact, when asked what Certifiably Green Denver finds to be a common problem among clients during that first assessment, Burgesser quickly stated that many businesses are failing to focus on water. In those situations, she believes that knowledge is the key, and if her team can educate the owner about the cost of 300 gallons of water, or more, the decision to install faucet aerators or high-efficiency urinals gets much easier.
In addition to assessments, Sustainability Advisors provide just as much help identifying rebates on green products, walking through the ROI of potential retrofits, and simply crunching the numbers related to the specific business.
Low Cost Improvements
With a growing list of over 150 diverse Denver businesses including art galleries, manufacturing facilities, health and wellness facilities, restaurants, breweries, corporate offices, and more, Burgesser stated that Certifiably Green Denver clients are making the following low-cost upgrades and producing real results:
- Lighting – LEDs instead of incandescents
- Occupancy Sensors – avoid leaving lights on in an empty space for prolonged periods of time. Occupancy sensors can also do the same for HVAC systems.
- Temperature Control – programmable thermostats also prevent conditioning of unoccupied space.
- Crack Sealant – leaks in windows, doors, and other areas force the HVAC to work overtime.
- Behavior Adjustments – company-wide education initiatives have produced big savings via small measures – shutting off computers, printers, etc.
Businesses that achieve certification receive a host of benefits, but all have pointed to the valuable exposure that being a certified green business brings. In addition to the recognition from the mayor and Certifiably Green Denver’s various marketing channels, customers increasingly value green businesses.
Burgesser even told a story of a small printing company who once contacted her office wanting to gain certification because to secure a contract with a customer, one of that client’s requirements was for the printing company to be a certified green business.
While Certifiably Green Denver continues transforming the business landscape in Colorado’s capital city, their expertise and the savings generated from their assessments and assistance provide a critical lesson nationwide.