Sustainability Resources in the Colorado Rockies

There are many beautiful reasons to live in the Rocky Mountains: 14,000 foot peaks; lush mountain valleys; abundant wildlife; and epic winter snow! And these are all the same reasons why sustainability is important. Making your business green and sustainable will help preserve the environment so many Coloradans love to get outside and enjoy.

allianceHere in Colorado, the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado brings together community and leadership to promote a Colorado that values environmental, economic, and social wellness. The ASC works through their Alliance Center, policy, and education and outreach. The have a fantastic events calendar which provides a catalog of all the sustainability events being held in the Colorado area.

The city of Denver has an Office of Sustainability, which recently finalized its “2020 denverSustainability Goals.” The document, which is available online, highlights goals for the city and Colorado businesses in multiple categories including resource conservation, environmental and social sustainability topics.

catamountThe Catamount Institute has been inspiring ecological stewardship since 1997. Although most of its programs are in the Pikes Peak/Colorado Springs region they are definitely open to anyone in Colorado. Every year, the Catamount Institute hosts the Colorado Sustainability Conference in Colorado Springs which focuses on raising awareness of sustainable best practices and empowering attendees to “lead the way to positive change.”

At eco-officiency, we love the Rocky Mountains and enjoy working with clients in Colorado and around the country. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business be more sustainable!

Consider Renewable Energy for Your Small Business

solar-power-generatorWith the cost of fuel rising higher each year, many companies have started to look towards renewable energy to reduce expenses. However, many of the smaller enterprises are often lagging behind in adapting to greener energy resources because of the associated costs to invest in renewable energy.

Cheaper Than You Think

One of the most common let-offs for many small businesses when trying to switch to renewable energy sources is the purported high cost. Technological innovations in recent years have resulted in reduction of the cost of renewable energy systems. Also, more investment and partnership opportunities for small businesses. Clean Energy Collective, a community-owned solar program, is one of those organizations making renewable energy cost effective for small businesses.

Small businesses can buy wind energy to support renewable energy programs without the cost of building the infrastructure. There is also a host of rebate programs available through Xcel Energy that can defray costs for energy conservation efforts.

Choosing the Right Renewable Energy Systemwindturbines2

Of course, all of these would be useless if you don’t choose the right energy system for your particular needs. Here, knowing the kinds of renewable energy resources available in your given area will definitely help a lot in selecting the actual system. The Colorado Renewable Energy Society provides a clear and short overview of the types of energy resources available for small business enterprises.

Contact us and learn more on how you can effectively use renewable energy for your business needs.

Colorado Electronics Recycling Ban Information

Beginning July 1, 2013, Coloradans will no longer be able to dispose of consumer electronics in their household trash, as most “e-waste” is being banned from landfills based on the Colorado legislation SB12-133, Electronic Device Recycling Act. This legislation will not only help our environment and landfills but also will create local e-waste employment opportunities.

Waste electronic devices include:Recycle Electronics

  • Television sets (TV)
  • central processing units (CPUs)
  • computer monitors and peripherals
  • Printers and fax machines
  • Laptops, notebooks, ultra books, net books, electronic tablets
  • Digital video disc (DVD) players, video cassette recorders (VCRs), radios, stereos, video game consoles and video display devices with screens greater than four inches diagonally

It is also possible to donate working electronic devices, and there are a host of organizations that will accept used computers. Visit our electronics recycling page for organizations that accept used computers and electronics.

Electronic devices should be kept out of landfills and properly recycled to recover materials and reduce the energy demands from mining and manufacturing. Electronics are made from valuable resources, such as precious metals, copper, and engineered plastics, all of which require considerable energy to process and manufacture. Recycling electronics recovers valuable materials and as a result, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, saves energy, and saves resources by extracting fewer raw materials.

For more detailed information on the e-waste ban visit the Colorado department of Public Health and Environment. Or contact us and we are happy to point you in the right direction.

Water Saving Tips for Colorado Residents

hand turning a tap on, isolatedAlthough Colorado received some incredible snowfall in April 2013, our water table is still low and drought conditions still exist.

According to the United States Drought Monitor approximately 90% of the state of Colorado is still identified “severe to extreme drought” conditions. It is important to be water conscious while Colorado still is in drought conditions.

As the season of hotter, drier weather approaches Colorado residents can begin participating in several water conservation efforts that will assist in preparation for the summer when the drought will likely be at its peak. Colorado residents can:

  • Water lawns between 7pm-5am and limit sprinkler use to only 1-2 times per week. Colorado residents should be aware that many counties will have mandatory restrictions. Denver Water has posted their drought watering times and restrictions.
  • Keep your grass longer by raising lawn mower blades and mow less frequently.
  • Consider xeriscaping your lawn or garden.
  • Repair leaky faucets and toilets. According to National Geographic ten gallons a day is lost through leaky faucets.
  • Consider converting to low-flow and WaterSense certified toilets, faucets and washers. Denver Water is currently offering rebates on both.
  • Take 5 minutes or less showers which can save about 12.5 gallons of water.
  • Be mindful of not letting your faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving. Considering installing a foot pedal from Foot Faucet to reduce running water while using the kitchen sink.

For continuing updates on the drought, information on the current water restrictions and additional conservations tips please visit the Denver Water website.

Sustainability Resources for Small to Medium Sized Businesses in Denver/Boulder Colorado

Denver is leading the way for the denvernation in striving to become the “greenest” city in the country.  Greenprint, CORE, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado and many more sustainability groups have played a vital role in Denver being named recently as 5th Greenest City Overall by Siemens.

Each of these organizations offer a wealth of resources to support small and medium sized businesses in the Denver/ Boulder area including:

Certifiably Green Denver: An Environmental Business Assistance Program with Greenprint that assists Denver businesses in identify opportunities to reduce waste, energy, air pollution and water.

CORE Catalyst: A program sponsored by CORE that matches talented graduate students from our leading Colorado Universities to do sustainability assessment and recommendation plans.

Sustainability Calendar: Managed by the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, this calendar keeps track of all the Colorado sustainability events and activities.

Here are also some other ideas and initiatives to investigate in becoming a green business:

  • The Denver Energy Challenge will encourage energy efficiency investment in our state and help advance our energy independence through large scale upgrades.  They hope to have 1,200 businesses participating by May 2013.
  • A carbon calculator is a great way to find out how you can help lower the release of carbon dioxide into our air.  This tool will help you find ways that your business can save energy and money.
  • They challenge you to join the Energy Star® Change a Light Pledge by changing at least one regular light bulb to a compact fluorescent bulb.
  • You can also find links to LEED®-certified builders or Energy Star® builders who can help you with your design plans for your business or with additions to existing structures.
  • Of course, one of the simplest ways to make a real change with very little investment is to plant a tree!

At Officiency our mission is to support organizations and consumers in developing and implementing eco-friendly initiatives to reduce environmental impact, resource consumption and waste while maximizing efficiency within business and home environments.  We hope and strive to have Denver become the number one greenest city in North America!

Contact us and we can help you take small steps that will make a big impact.

PedalSmart Bike Ambassadors Program in Boulder – Free Training on Biking to Work

PedalSmart_LOGO_WEBPedalSmart is a Boulder, Colorado based program used to encourage commuting to work via bicycle. PedalSmart Bike Ambassadors come to your place of business and give interested employees all the information and training they need to promote and inspire success. This is fully funded so the employer pays nothing. This program is sponsored by Community Cycles which has been promoting cycling in Boulder since 2006.

There are several benefits to having your employees bike to work:

  • Easier parking. No bike racks? Community Cycles can provide them at a very low cost.
  • Healthier employees means less sick time.
  • When biking, workers tend to arrive on time and in a good mood.
  • By promoting a bike-to-work program, you can apply to be part of the Bicycle Friendly Business program that presents awards and national recognition to businesses.
  • Earn prizes–As part of the program, your employees are given tools they can use to track their mileage. By keeping a record of how much they ride, they become eligible for prizes.

The City of Boulder provides excellent bike path maps and route finders. Would you like assistance integrating this and other alternative transportation programs into your entire sustainability plan? Contact us.

Cities Encouraging Electric Vehicle Use

electric vehicleEvery business should consider adding electric vehicles to their existing fleet. Colorado based Project FEVER, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, assists Colorado businesses in making the transition to using electric vehicles. Denvercleancities.org explains Project FEVER:

“Project FEVER (Fostering Electric Vehicle Expansion in the Rockies) will create a readiness and implementation plan to increase electric vehicle (EV) and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) adoption across the state of Colorado. Through a collaborative research and analysis process, the project will identify market barriers to EV penetration and develop strategies to overcome these barriers in the transportation and utility sectors”

electric_ride_logoThe project spawned a campaign called Electric Ride Colorado that educates residents and businesses about electric vehicles. Its’ website suggests the Ford Transit electric vehicle for business fleets that require short routes. Taking advantage of this resource is a great way for businesses to make that first step toward moving to an all-electric fleet.

The city of Indianapolis is also taking strides to encourage electric vehicle use. It recently announced it plans to become the first city to use only electric and hybrid electric vehicles for its’ fleet. Mayor Greg Ballard is quoted in the Grand Junction Free Press  as stating, “Taxpayers could save $12,000 over the 10-year lifespan of each new electric and plug-in hybrid”. The same article explains how the city is also urging automakers to make a plug-in hybrid police car.

According to a recent article by the New York Daily News, global electric vehicle sales expected to increase by 3.8 million in 2020. Contact us to learn more about greening up your automobile fleet and learn how we can help with your sustainability plan.

Recommended Sustainability Resources for Colorado Small Businesses

Because Colorado continues to be a leader in small business implementation of environmentally-friendly business practices, our state has created an abundance of organizations and resources which can help guide a business in their sustainability plans.

CORE

CORE is dedicated to helping Colorado denverorganizations implement sustainability in their operations, products, and workforce development, focused on small and medium businesses. They have success stories that share sustainability best practices of businesses in the Colorado community.

Certifiably Green Denver

They can give free and confidential assistance with your environmental questions and concerns.  Because they work specifically with the small businesses of Denver, they can give you knowledgeable information to help with avoiding environmental liability specific to this area, while not sacrificing your profitability.

Denver Energy Challenge

You can find information regarding rebates and also find help with your energy-saving efforts.  You can even talk to an expert by phone Mon. thru Sat. (8:00AM to 6:00PM) at (720) 865-5520.  These are the people to talk to if you are preparing to do an “energy upgrade” as they will help you throughout the process.

Watts To Water

This water conservation program recognizes and awards small business for their water conservation efforts. All hotels and offices with over 5000 sq. ft. of space can participate with minimal effort, but the benefits to your business are great.

Denver Regional Council of Governments

This organization focuses on enabling telework as an alternative to commuting which will help our community reduce pollution, ease traffic congestion and create higher levels of employee satisfaction.  They can work with your company to help you implement a tele-commuting plan that can work in your situation.

The Colorado Carbon Fund

They have created the first, statewide, voluntary offset program in the U.S., with special attention paid to the GHG reduction projects in our state, which will mean verifiable and permanent carbon offsets.

Eco-officiency offers sustainability consulting services in Colorado and nationwide. We provide expert business advisors to assist organizations and individuals in becoming more sustainable in their work and personal lives.  Contact us to discover how we can help you today!

Denver Sustainability Park: A Living Vision For Our Future

If you are lucky enough to live in the Denver area or if you are planning a visit, there is an amazing thing happening on 3 acres located at Lawrence and 25th Streets in Denver’s downtown. There is a living, breathing learning experience that can teach you how to re-imagine our urban living environments.  You will experience a hands-on demonstration of alternative building designs, urban gardening solutions, the newest water saving technologies and the list goes on.

Denver’s Sustainability Park is a collaboration of the Denver Housing Authority ( (DHA) and The Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES).   Along with active community involvement, they have created an innovative approach to teaching our community how to lessen it’s carbon footprint and learn new sustainable ways to approach old problems.

The variety of sustainability solutions presented here is worth a number of visits just to make sure you are seeing it all.  From a composting demonstration area to a Permaculture Garden the exhibitions are scattered throughout the three acre park.  You can visit the urban garden or learn about options for efficient use of resources.  One can imagine the fantastic resource for our schools to support their sustainability curriculums. The students are sure to be inspired and could even discover a new career choice after visiting the park.

As a local business in the Denver community, you can learn about energy efficient building materials and designs as well as effective resource management tools that can be part of your sustainable business vision.  The latest cutting-edge technologies are here to be studied and then put to work in a real world environment.  This community focus will hopefully result in healthy Colorado neighborhoods and a vibrant, growing “green” economy.

If you share our vision of community sustainability, contact us, we would love to hear from you.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Resources For Small and Medium Businesses In Colorado

Here in Colorado we take the business of sustainability very seriously. In every corner of the state the push is on to improve our businesses to increase energy efficiency and support green business operations. Here are some resources, programs, incentives and guides available online to assist small and medium sized businesses;

The Main Street Efficiency Initiative (MSEI) is a Colorado Energy Office (CEO) program that helps small business lower energy costs as well as their carbon footprint.

Recharge Colorado has a resource page that is specifically for small businesses seeking information for energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy projects in Colorado.

The Energy Efficiency Guide for Colorado Businesses will help you find ways for your company to save energy.  Their recommendations are sorted by sector that provides specific suggestions depending on the type of business.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) has a website full of valuable information and tools for small businesses.

CORE, the sustainable business association for Colorado also has a separate page for resources that include articles, business success stories and downloadable reports.

And of course, we at eco-officiency provide a wealth of resources for businesses to become greener in their operations.

Contact us if we can help you find the answers you are looking for when it comes to finding resources and information to help green your business.