*As part of a regular series, our Professional Spotlight will examine a business or organization whose expertise can be useful to Sustainable Supply’s customers.
Partners for a Clean Environment (PACE) is part of a fast-growing sustainability partnership movement spreading all across the country.
According to Matt Hannon, one of PACE’s Business Sustainability Advisors, “Over the years, PACE has continued to evolve and expand its offerings to help businesses meet their sustainability goals and gain recognition for their achievements. PACE partners with municipalities, local utilities, and economic organizations in Boulder County and is funded by Boulder County, the City of Boulder, and the City of Longmont.”
Much like organizations such as Certifiably Green Denver, the PACE services are designed to benefit the businesses of Boulder County.
“Businesses receive expert and unbiased advising and assistance. We help through the entire process – the advisors identify opportunities, find all available incentives and financing, train staff, and follow up to ensure success,” according to Hannon. “The Advisors also review bids and equipment to ensure they’re eligible for incentives, help with rebate submissions, assist in implementing new programs and more!”
Q & A with a Business Sustainability Advisor
Sustainable Supply spoke with a PACE Business Sustainability Advisor so his expertise with businesses could be shared well beyond Boulder County. Here are the highlights from some of the questions Matt Hannon answered in the hope that PACE’s experience can inform your business:
Q: What do you find to be the client’s primary reason for initiating the process with you?
A: Each business is different, and looks to PACE to help in a unique way. Many businesses have heard about our rebates for efficiency projects, and will work with us to receive rebate funding (cost savings from energy efficiency). Some businesses are surprised to find out that some projects pay for themselves in less than two years. Others are interested in cutting down on the amount of trash that they produce, and will work with PACE to increase their rate of recycling and compost. Businesses have access to additional services such as:
- assistance with project upgrades – including finding contractors, reviewing bids, identifying and applying for rebates, incentives, and financing,
- education and training for employees on sustainable best practices,
- implementing utility tracking and benchmarking,
- certification and public recognition.
Q: What aspect of the building do you focus on the most?
A: Because each business and the building in which it’s located is unique, we adjust our assessments and offerings to best cater to that specific building. In restaurants, for example, kitchens are the primary focus due to energy and water use and waste being generated. In office buildings, the focus is more along the lines of lighting or adding recycling service.
Q: What are the majority of your clients doing wrong when they first come to you?
A: One common theme is a lack of recycling and compost in many buildings, which is something that we promote wherever possible. What types of containers, cups, boxes, and other items can be recycled versus sent to the landfill can be confusing, so educating businesses on those differences is common. In regards to energy, educating businesses on the types of efficient lighting and HVAC, as well as the use of occupancy sensors or other energy-saving items, is a daily occurrence for PACE Advisors.
Q: What end up being the most widely adopted upgrades that your clients implement?
A: Lighting is rebated most often, but PACE also offers help with HVAC upgrades and solar or other renewable energy installations. Implementing recycling and compost service are quickly becoming popular for businesses in Boulder County, especially with the new City of Boulder ordinance that requires all businesses to recycle and compost by June 2016. PACE also offers free high-efficiency pre-rinse spray valves (PRSV) and faucet aerators, which have been very popular in restaurants and other buildings, as they cut down significantly on water use.
Low-Cost Improvements to Bolster the Bottom Line
Sustainability Advisors from PACE and similar organizations nationwide have been assisting businesses for years, and the conclusions are clear:
- LED lighting is a low-cost and easy energy efficiency improvement (In total, for 50,000 hours of light, the LED bulb will produce greater than 70% savings).
- Tremendous savings can be generated through water efficiency – WaterSense faucets offer 1.5 GPM low-flow aerators that accumulate sizeable savings over previous industry standards, and High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs) are fixtures that produce at least 20% water-savings over the current toilet standard of 1.6 GPF.
- A green cleaning policy can dramatically reduce the indoor air quality risk posed to all employees (the air we breathe indoors is two to five times more harmful than outdoor air – due in large part to chemical cleaning agents).
- The waste your company generates is sizeable – consider robust and diligent recycling and compost programs that can alleviate your environmental impact.
These are among the lowest cost improvements you can make – most of which stand to generate savings that quickly pay for themselves. Further improvements will create additional efficiency savings, improve your operations’ impact on employees, and lessen your company’s burden to the environment. Get engaged today!