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An Energy “Challenge”

I came across this “challenge” from the NJ Meadowlands Commission.  This list is a useful summary of what we should all be doing and it is more interesting because it is aimed at companies, rather than individual residences.  You can take a role in encouraging your town and employer to adopt these policies.

As usual we take a realistic look at these challenges and make some comments [in square brackets].

The overall motto is: “Conserve, Reduce, Recycle, Reuse”.

Energy Conservation

  • Replace traditional light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs
  • Install programmable thermostats
  • Install lighting occupancy sensors
  • Turn off computers and printers at the end of the workday/week […as well as unplug/switch off “phantom loads”.]
  • Replace appliances with Energy Star rated appliances […if they are affordable.  It seems to me that Energy Star appliances are priced well above the added value they actually contain.]
  • Replace windows and doors with higher efficiency models [ I’m pleased to report we actually replaced our old and leaky vinyl windows with new low-e rated models.  But we did it more for air leakage reasons.  The old windows just let the cold north wind right through gaps in the sliding mechanism.  We hope to feel much more cosy this coming winter, and save some gas.]
  • Install a green roof
  • Install an energy efficient HVAC system

Water Conservation

  • Install low-flow faucets and toilets […and make sure the toilets do clear on one flush.  You save no water and cause all sorts of other aggravation if you need to flush multiple times to clear the bowl.  I like the dual flush models, with two buttons, much better; a flush for number one, double that for number two.]
  • Install waterless urinals […remember this list is for commercial sites]
  • Landscape with native plants/natural materials that require less water (xeroscape)
  • Recycle graywater

Xeroscape - a bit too much stone for my liking - it gets hot and water runs off it

Another xeroscape


  • Increase the variety and amount of materials that you recycle
  • Purchase used (office) furniture
  • Use recycled building products
  • Do double sided copying and printing […or better yet “think before you print”]

Commuting alternatives [this is where you can really influence your town and company]

  • Install bicycle racks […but to be a safe mode of commuting there need to be separate, safe bike paths]
  • Encourage car pooling/van pooling/ use of mass transit
  • Arrange for shuttle services to/from mass transit locations
  • Provide a commuting subsidy
  • Provide pretax payroll deductions for carpool commuting costs
  • Provide preferential carpool parking spots
  • Offer an in-house “Emergency Ride Home” program
  • Offer telecommuting/compressed work week/flextime

Other sustainable actions

  • Implement a “green” purchasing policy
  • Utilize green cleaning products/ formulate a green housekeeping protocol
  • Use low VOC paints
  • Use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood products

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