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Tag Energy Efficiency

Using Sustainability to Avoid Risk

The SSC Team August 25, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments
Enjoy this blog from the SSC archives: The evidence that sustainability can be good for business is overwhelming. Most of the case studies, examples, and analysis that has been done show positive links between a sustainable approach to environmental and social issues, and corporate profits, Thus far, the research has been primarily focused on direct operational efficiencies (like retrofitting your office lighting to save money and reduce your carbon footprint), innovation (using biomimicry to drive new product development), and productivity (ie. more engaged employees take less sick leave). However, there hasn't been as much talk about the nexus between sustainability and risk management. And for corporations operating in complex supply chains in a globally-connected economy -- well -- effective risk management can be the difference between success and failure. Below, we take a look at three articles that shed light on why companies still struggle to incorporate sustainability into their risk management practices (and vice versa).

Has sustainability become a risky business? 

This GreenBiz article by John Davies reviews a report by Ernst & Young. The key takeaway: While more companies are concerned about increased risk and the proximity of natural resource shortages, corporate risk response appears to be inadequate to address the scope and scale of some of these challenges. The free report looks at six corporate sustainability trends with a strong focus on the internal influencers of corporate performance (CEOs and boards), as well as external forces ranging from governments to shareholders and investors.

Playing It Safe Is Riskier than You Think

This article by Bill Taylor in the Harvard Business Review makes the case that "difficult and uncertain times are often the best times for organizations to separate themselves from the pack, so long as their leaders are prepared not to stand pat." While not directly about sustainability, this article certainly supports the notion that economic turmoil is no reason not to be ambitious about tackling big sustainability challenges.

Research: Why Companies Keep Getting Blind-Sided by Risk

by Mary Driscoll in the Harvard Business Review presents fascinating insight into why companies (and their executives) are not succeeding at identifying and mitigating risk. Survey findings indicate that most organizations’ leaders did indeed express concern about the impact of political turmoil, natural disasters, or extreme weather. But the findings also show that the people at the front lines of the business were hamstrung by a lack of visibility into risk. Nearly half said they lacked the resources needed to adequately assess business continuity programs at supplier sites. Many relied on the suppliers filling out perfunctory, unreliable checklists. There are some big lessons here for sustainability practitioners! Are simple mistakes holding back your sustainability? Find out how to correct those mistakes here!

Greening Your Non-Profit from the Inside Out

The SSC Team June 25, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Strategic Sustainability Consulting No comments
Enjoy this blog post from the SSC archives: Why is environmental responsibility important to an organization’s bottom line?  What are key impacts?  What does your organization’s carbon footprint look like?  Where should you begin?  These questions and more are addressed in an excellent resource that is easy-to-use and only a download away.  If you work for a non-profit or if you have non-profit clients, this is something that you will want to take a look at. “Greening Your Non-Profit from the Inside Out: A NeighborWorks® Guide for Community Development Organizations” essentially serves as a handbook that was designed to provide community development organizations with an easy-to-use resource for taking the first steps towards “going green”. Using the results of the sustainability action plans from 2008, NeighborWorks developed a manual and online course entitled “Greening Your Nonprofit Business” in 2009. The manual, produced in conjunction with Strategic Sustainability Consulting, is available free online to all network organizations and to the broader community development field to help them take steps toward environmental sustainability. The manual has been downloaded 24,000+ times since its publication in 2009, making it one of the most popular downloads on www.nw.org.  Once you start to skim you’ll quickly realize why it’s a top download and how it is still relevant today. It begins with a general introduction to the topic of environmental sustainability and prepares you for the following chapters that dive into specific green action items to get you started.  Divided into eleven “green” topics ranging from energy efficiency to customer communication, each section provides a wealth of information.  Statistics, case studies, recommendations, and other resources will help you to understand the environmental impacts of each topic and how to go about minimizing that impact in a simple, cost-effective way.  Because there is no “one size fits all” solution to going green, the manual includes website links to some of the best organizations working on the issue—where you can find a solution tailored to fit your circumstances.  This information is organized so that you can quickly find the information you need. In case you didn’t already know, we partner and work with NeighborWorks on a lot of different projects and have found their dual mission to be a perfect match for what we have to offer as well.  NeighborWorks America is the country’s leader in affordable housing and community development, working to create opportunities for lower-income people to live in affordable homes in safe, sustainable neighborhoods that are healthy places for families to grow.  NeighborWorks commits to being a leader with its network in employing and promoting equitable, green and sustainable practices for the long-term benefit of the environment so that people can live and work in healthy, ecologically friendly, and affordable places.  Learn more here and download the manual today! Find out how you can become a better sustainability leader in one of our latest blogs.

A Look at Hotel Energy-Efficiency Solutions

Tara Hughes February 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , Fulcrum Insurance Programs No comments

Hotel Energy Efficiency

The efficacy of energy-efficiency solutions becomes increasingly clearer to the hospitality industry year after year. In fact, some of the most recognized hotel and resort brands are making increasingly more green decisions and taking the lead to implement best energy-efficiency practices throughout their properties.

There are many green measures a hotel property can implement – from LED lighting to intelligent energy controls and smart pumping systems and efficient water management. In this article, we’ll take a look at smart energy controls and the opportunities for cost savings in heating and ventilation.

The first thing hotel management needs to do is have an effective training program in place to educate the staff on best energy-efficiency practices. Changing staff behavior and attitudes is important in adopting energy efficiencies at a hotel property. Secondly, it’s important that any energy efficiency solution, such as smart HVAC controls, does not have a negative impact on the daily life of a busy hotel, either during installation or afterwards. There should be no adverse effect on guest satisfaction.

Equally important is that any proposed energy efficiency solution is based on sound business logic with a clear idea of timing for return on investment and a way to measure and monitor the solutions implemented. Hotel management should be able to measure accurately and understand current consumption rates, identifying immediate benefits and prioritizing investment decisions.

For example, many hotel properties focus on the HVAC in hotel rooms since guests spend so little time in them. In fact, some research indicates that hotel guest rooms are often empty for up to 46% of any 24-hour guest stay. With smart and effective guest room controls through a combination of sensors that detects whether a guest is in their room or not, the property can control the temperature of the room. When a guest is in the room, he or she must have control of the system, including the existing thermostat. When not in the room, the system can switch to a money-saving, energy-saving mode after a suitable period – usually 30 minutes.

To minimize disruption and loss of business, the smart controls need to be based on the best wireless technology that connect the micro sensors, as this avoids the need for complex cabling so ensuring that installation is very quick – equivalent to the room being cleaned – which means that rooms do not have to be taken out of service.

Any smart controls system should also be thoroughly tested first and would need to have the capability of monitoring accurately the property’s HVAC units, providing detailed a wealth of data and reports on energy usage and the cost savings garnered.

Fulcrum Insurance Programs is committed to helping the hospitality industry in their green efforts, supported by their partnership with AGPOM. Fulcrum offers key benefits to AGPOM Members, including insurance premium discounts. For more information, please feel free to call 425-453-5157 or visit www.fulcrumprograms.com.

AGPOM provides a Green Property Behavioral Plan specifically designed for hotels and resorts to help their staff see the benefits of green practices. For additional Green Hotel resources and articles check out AGPOM’s Resource Page.