In accordance with our core values, GGLO has developed an Environmental Action Plan (EAP) to guide progress toward reducing the environmental impact of its business operations. Launched in 2007, the EAP is a living document that establishes a commitment and procedures to measure and decrease the firm’s environmental impact in key areas, including consumables, indoor environmental quality, energy use, water use, transportation, renovations, and greenhouse gas emissions.
- Identify, measure, and manage the effects of GGLO’s office operations and project activities.
- Target specific areas of improvement, with higher priority placed on areas where significant impact is possible.
- Provide information to staff to support the application of these principles to our work and internal practices.
The EAP calls for a annual inventory of paper use, waste generation, office energy use, commuting, and business travel. Auditing waste involves collecting, sorting, and weighing the office's daily waste stream. Office energy use is derived from electrical utility bills, and computer energy consumption is measured directly. Commuting and business travel information is gathered through a company-wide survey administered through the firm's intranet. The firm's total carbon footprint is estimated by summing the contributions of each component of the inventory. The CO2 emissions factors were taken from data published by the City of Seattle for the Seattle Climate Partnership.
Results and Actions:
- Office electricity use accounts for nearly two thirds of GGLO's carbon footprint. GGLO has instituted an overnight computer shutdown policy that is estimated to save up to 20% of the total office energy demand, and fitted all task lights with compact fluorescent bulbs that reduce total electricity use by a estimated one percent. Automated lighting controls have been installed as areas are renovated.
- Transportation produces about one third of GGLO's CO2 emissions. Only about one quarter of GGLO's employees commute by car, less than half the average of Seattle downtown commuters. Air travel comprises the majority of GGLO's business travel miles, and thus is the largest single source of GGLO's transportation -related CO2 emissions. In response, the firm has set up convenient teleconferencing tools and encourages their use.
- Waste audits have revealed opportunities to reduce landfill-bound waste by composting and recycling. GGLO recycles more than half its waste, and has instituted a composting program that captured 13% of the waste stream.
- GGLO's annual paper consumption is equivalent to a 675-foot stack of 8.5x11 sheets, or 161 trees. The firm maximizes its use of recycled paper, and has a duplex printing policy.
The EAP was prepared by GGLO's Sustainable Design Group (SDG). The SDG's mission is to promote sustainable design in GGLO's projects and internal operations by sharing of expertise, knowledge and resources, and by actively engaging the sustainable design community. Contributing members include: Clayton O'Brien-Smith, Alicia Daniels Uhlig, Amy Hartwell, Dan Bertolet, David Winans, Jon Hall, Lindsey McBride, Zack Thomas
Seattle Climate Partnership
Seattle Climate Partnership Carbon Calculator
Related Publications and Presentations:
"Operation Green: Build Sustainability into your Business Operations" - GoGreen '10 (Seattle), April 2010
Northwest Construction, February 2009
Daily Journal of Commerce, February 14, 2008
Cool Companies, Sierra Club, Presentation July 2008
Associated Builders and Contractors Green Building Council, Panel Discussion April 2008
Download a pdf copy of the EAP document.