Go Green Now, Save Green Later

By Tim Wright | February 8, 2011

These days we hear a lot of talk about the environment. Sustainability this, go green that, a hybrid here a Whole Foods there. From leading multi-national corporations to celebrity endorsers to everyday people, the sustainability message continues to permeate our popular culture with increasing speed.

However, after all the fluff, the sustainability movement really comes down to taking action. A Japanese proverb says, “Vision without action is a daydream.”

How many of us are able or willing to make changes, sometimes drastic, in our already hectic lives to achieve true change?
As this issue was getting ready to go press, I read about a large U.S. corporation that is redefining its corporate agenda to implement “green” policy, which will not only help the environment, but will also strengthen its bottom line.
Enterprise Rent-A-Car said it will invest more than $150 million over five years in following a set of internal sustainability guidelines, informing the building and retrofitting of more than 1,000 locations.

The company’s Enterprise Sustainable Construction Protocol (ESCP) sets out principles for green building including the use of materials that have at least ten percent recycled content, and building on previously developed sites where possible. These and other measures will save Enterprise up to 35 percent on its energy and water spending, the company said.

The ESCP has seven focus areas:

Materials: In construction, include regionally produced materials and materials with at least 10 percent recycled content.
Energy: Use energy-efficient controls and systems, for interior and exterior needs. Examples include signage with T8 long-life lamps and LED, and retrofitting garage bays for increased heating efficiency.

Sites: When appropriate, build on previously developed sites and use materials that reduce the heat of parking lots.

Recycling: Reuse fixtures, furniture and equipment such as rental counters, signs and furniture, and recycle construction debris.
Water: Install water reclamation systems or low-flow/high-efficient pressure wash systems, use high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, plant green roofs, design efficient landscaping.

Air quality: Use low VOC material in paint, carpet, coatings and adhesives and use Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) plans where appropriate during construction.

Process: Develop innovative approaches for each facility and ensure changes positively affect employee satisfaction.

Enterprise said it developed the protocol in consultation with a number of external suppliers, including paint manufacturers Sherwin-Williams, lighting company Osram Sylvania, office furniture company Haworth, wall coverings supplier Hirshfield’s/Omnova, flooring firm Shaw Industries Group, and signage firms the Pattison Sign Group and Sign Resource.

Kudos to Enterprise for taking action and setting an example we can all learn from.