What more can I do at work?
1. Recycling Stations.
Orange County provides commercial recycling services. Does your office have roll carts and a posted list of single stream recycling items? Is there anything you're having trouble recycling? Check out the Orange County A to Z Recyclery.
2. Food Waste Composting Bins.
Food waste is a big generator of landfill methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. If you work in an office environment, did you know there are private companies that will collect your compost and clean the bin? If your employer generates a lot of food waste (e.g., restaurant), consider a food waste collection and composting service like Brooks Contractor.
3. Energy Efficient Upgrades.
Is anyone responsible for monitoring the energy use of your building? Does your employer have any goals for energy or carbon reduction? Even if someone is measuring energy usage, it may be helpful to do an energy audit or develop a building energy asset score. Duke Energy offers energy efficiency rebates through their Small Business Energy Saver Program. You can also search for companies that perform commercial energy audits and facility improvements. Tip: Ask the company if they will guarantee their projected energy savings? Some companies, known as Energy Service Companies (ESCOs), will guarantee energy savings based on an energy audit and list of corresponding energy conservation measures.
4. Water Saving Upgrades.
Like an energy audit, you can also perform a water audit of your workplace. Try OWASA’s do-it-yourself water audit and have your employer track water savings through the Agua Vista online portal. Do you know if anyone is responsible for tracking water use in your building? Does your employer have any water saving goals?
5. Renewable Energy Systems.
Once your employer has maximized energy savings and ensured good ongoing maintenance of mechanical and lighting systems, a renewable energy investment is the next best step. In Chapel Hill, the most common type of renewable energy installation is solar photovoltaics (PV). To see if your workplace is a good candidate for rooftop solar PV, try Google Sunroof. Most solar system installers will give you a free rooftop assessment and quote. Solar water heating is also possible in our area. Tip: Ask the installer if the solar system will need to be removed for your next roof replacement? The timing of a roof replacement may be an important consideration for your employer. Also, ask your installer about the availability of tax credits and utility rebates. These can help improve the projected payback of a solar system.
If your workplace is not a good candidate for solar, then the property may be adding other important community benefits like large shade trees. If your employer has a goal of going carbon neutral, calculate your employer’s carbon footprint and consider purchasing carbon offsets.