The Smallest Footprint Occurs When the Power Is Out

If I look around my office, which today is sans electricity thanks to one of the worst winter cold spells that North Texas has ever seen, I can see a blue recycling trash can (made of plastic), motion sensor lighting and well … that's about it for green-ness in my workspace. My employer leases the suite I work in, so much of the smaller footprint measures are coming through the building's management company. (Today, I am working from home where the power is still on, for the moment.)

I’d like to know what's going on in other companies’ buildings, so I framed a question about green actions in this year's salary survey. Of the 18 responses received so far, I was glad to see some variety even though many people are reporting that their companies are still in the planning stage. For example, one respondent said his or her company built a green building with a solar power array that provides about 85 percent of the facility's total power needs. That's impressive. Another noted that his or her company has created a sustainability team made up of individuals from all over the company, not just the environmental department. Still, others listed xeriscaping, optimization, renewable energy and energy reduction improvements, composting, alternative fuels for fleets, and water reuse by golf course irrigation as the actions their companies have taken to join the "green" movement.

Only two respondents seemed a little disappointed in their companies’ efforts. One said, "My company claims they are green; however, I only see little things such as paperless billing. I do not see any other things that can make a greater impact on the environment." Another reported that his or her company was "actively pursuing green technologies [but] could do more to reduce waste."

I think it's useful to check the actual progress of what the media calls a "growing" trend. So, what's going on at your company? If the answer is "Not much," is that because green actions are strictly voluntary at this point or is there some other reason? If the answer is "Everything," please share your story (here or in the 2010 Salary Survey) so we can shed a little more light on the subject.

(By the way, the survey has not yet been closed, primarily because only 300 people have responded; far less than last year's 1,200, which gave the results more value. If you haven't responded to the survey yet, please do. You can click here to access it.)

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Feb 02, 2011