Going green. Saving energy. Encouraging efficiency. Reducing carbon footprints. Promoting eco-friendly practices. Being environmentally conscious. Conserving resources. It goes by many names, but the social movement is undeniable.
I remember seeing for the first time the trendy “Save the Planet” tees cropping up in clothing lines of popular retail stores. Years later, it turns out that going green more than a fashion trend. It is a compilation of personal and political choices that continues to build momentum worldwide.
We can see big impacts, too, when we look at the sum of our efforts. That’s why government and corporate entities promote going green, leading by example and initiating challenges to get others involved.
Last year, President Obama and former President Clinton issued the Better Buildings Challenge and extended the challenge to industrial plants for an even greater impact. Because buildings consume about 20% of all the energy used in the US, the initiative’s long-term goals include
- Updating American buildings to make them 20% more energy efficient
- Saving American businesses nearly $40 million in energy costs
With the help of energy efficiency products, services, technologies, and partnerships, several industrial partners have stepped up to the challenge—3M has 78 participating plants, Alcoa has 30, Nissan has 3, and GE has 125 million sq. ft. of plant space (to name a few).
But you don’t have to be a big name with copious plant space to make a difference. Think of it this way—as a little guy, your carbon footprint is already smaller so you don’t have to make such extravagant changes. Every little bit counts.
To join the Better Buildings, Better Plants Challenge
- Assess your building portfolio to determine energy efficiency opportunities and publicly pledge an organization-wide energy savings goal for the next 2-5 years.
- Announce and initiate a showcase project on 1 facility (retrofit, retro commissioning) and develop an organization-wide plan to achieve your energy savings goal.
- Share your experiences with energy efficiency solutions, your organization-wide energy savings, and the energy performance at individual facilities for recognition.
In return for your commitment, the Department of Energy agrees to support you via expert technical assistance, connect you to a network of allies, and provide you with national recognition. Win-win-win.
What are you doing to green your building? The Better Buildings Challenge is just one way you can contribute to the social movement. Incentives are abundant, and the payoffs reach far and wide. For starters, you can insulate your equipment to conserve energy and maximize efficiency, and when you start seeing the savings, you can move on to other areas like HVAC and lighting for a complete energy-efficient overhaul.