Thursday, February 19, 2009

Going Green Tips for Various Industries

When I was in Toronto a few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Toronto Hilton was definitely taking steps to "Go Green." I fact, I was so impressed, I took a couple of pictures:

Notice the recycling bin under the desk?

Anyway, it got me thinking about the fact that there is a lot that can be done right now, this very minute, immediately to conserve energy. We don't have to wait for a stimulous package (although that is very exciting), a smart grid, or general adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Here are some ideas for different industries:

Hotels: Aside from the items described pictorally above, hotels can also provide an option to guests to keep using their towels and sheets if they spend multiple days. I have also seen shampoo/soap dispensers in European hotels. Think about all the plastic that could be saved if hotels didn't carry all those little bottles...

Schools: Don't offer pre-packaged food and require students to sort their trash. I went to school in Sweden and never once ate food that was packaged. Rather, the food was served out of large pans and we poured milk into reusable cups from a milk dispenser. At Rebecka's elementary school, Granbery, the lunch room supervisor was a real tree-hugger and required complete sorting of trash. It can be done!

Retail: OK, I'll call out the obvious here... Charge for bags! And charge a lot. This will teach people to bring their own. Also, if you must continue with plastic bags, make sure they're the quickly decomposing kind.

Offices: This is the one that bugs me the most, because it's so easy. Turn off the lights at night! How often do you drive through a downtown or business park at night and see at least half the lights turned on? It's crazy! At our offices, we have motion sensors which turn the lights off and on. This way, if you're not in the room, the light knows to turn itself off. It's so easy and saves so much energy. Another fun idea is also to set the default print mode to print double-sided. Pretty easy.

You get the point...
The're so much that can be done right now.
Let's do it!

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