Network Resources
This category covers a broad range of aspects including maintenance, renovations, landscaping, lighting, water usage, heating/AC, appliances and equipment, LEED certification, Information Technology, utility rebates.
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We Are What We Eat

September 24, 2014
On the list of the top 20 hottest trends in food this year, according to the National Restaurant Association, are environmental sustainability, locally sourced and grown ingredients, and food waste reduction practices.   In fact they ranked in the top 11, to be completely accurate.  The American Culinary Federation, whose membership of chefs were the group surveyed for the annual trends report, reports that the focus on environmental sustainability and sustainable food practices are among the most important issues facing restaurants today.
Consumers are informed and educated about sustainability, they are aware that the drought in California will impact food prices and availability everywhere, and they are concerned about where the food ingredients on their plates comes from, how it was produced, and how healthful it is.  When obesity and diabetes are at all-time highs, people, especially Millennials, are looking to live long, healthy lives on a planet that will sustain its populations into perpetuity.
 As GreenWorksGov has written previously about Millennials, the “not-kids-anymore” generation is bringing its values into the workplace, and sustainability is one of them.  Certain practices will be expected to be commonplace, such as recycling, waste management that minimizes diversion into the waste stream, environmentally preferable procurement, green buildings, and so on.  Add to the list, a cafeteria or on-site food service vendor who offers locally sourced food products, seasonal vegetables, and healthy menu options.
The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Program offers food service operators help on how to incorporate sustainable practices into their operations.  Another resource is the federal General Services Administration’s Health and Sustainability Guidelines for Federal Concessions and Vending Operations.  The guidelines were developed with the Department of Health and Human Services.  They include healthy menu item choices, such as vegetarian entrees and 100% juice drinks, and sustainable food service practices, such as incentives for customers to bring reusable beverage containers and to buy organic, local produce.

Green teams looking to take their program up a notch would do well to research the information in these resources before approaching their on-site food services operator to discuss practical and economically-smart ways of improving the nutritional value of food offerings and adopting or increasing sustainable food and waste management practices.  Given that environmental sustainability, locally sourced and grown ingredients, and food waste reduction are the hottest trends in the food industry, your food services operator is likely to appreciate an enthusiastic partner. There’s everything to gain, but weight. 

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Sustainability Ranks High for Atlanta's Historically Black Colleges and Universities

September 17, 2014
GreenWorksGov welcomes guest author Devin Hunter, an undergraduate student at Cal Poly Pomona.  Devin works as a student assistant for the Conference of Western Attorneys General and has helped conduct research for GWG and authored a previous guest blog about sustainable gardening. 
Earlier this month, GreenWorksGov reported on the greenest colleges according to Sierra magazine’s 2014 ranking. This week we are revisiting this opportunity to learn what our leading schools are doing that can inspire green teams at work and serve as a resource to them. Many of the Historic Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) are taking part in the green initiative by designing and developing their own projects to help impact their schools. With projects ranging from designing buildings to becoming more energy sufficient to creating a number of sustainable food and recycling initiatives on campus, these colleges are really taking the lead on making our universities greener. 
The women at Spelman College in Atlanta, are among the front runners in their effort to achieve a green campus. In 2009, the University president Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum issued a statement saying, “Understanding our own environmental impact and seeking to reduce it is a choice that all of us can make every day.” As time has shown, the school has expanded and applied its creativity and ideals on their campus. The Laura Spelman building, which was built in 1918, is one of the school’s oldest structures on campus spanning 19,700 square feet and reaching three stories high. The school managed to transform the oldest building on campus into a LEED Gold energy-efficient green building thanks to many donations from esteemed alumnae, generous donors and sponsors. This initiative sparked many other projects on Spelman’s campus and has brought the school to the top of the green initiative for green campuses. In 2013, Spelman received the Tree Campus USA recognition which honored the school for “promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in spirit of conservation.” Truly an award fitting of their efforts and one that other schools should try emulate. 
There must be something in the water that makes schools in Atlanta, Georgia want to do their part to become a green campus. On April 22, 2014, the “Atlanta Voice” reviewed a survey taken by the Building Green Initiative at Clark Atlanta University that revealed that most HBCU’s are leading in energy efficiency on their campuses and are making the green initiative a strong component of campus policies and student life. Once more, these schools are recognized for their efforts to make and keep their campuses more energy efficient and is a vision that should be shared with all of our country’s colleges and universities. 
Read more here.
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Score a Touchdown With This Green Strategy

September 3, 2014
Earlier this year, GWG kicked off a series on the greening of professional sports.  In that column of April 16, 2014, we urged green teams to leverage our “near-universal fondness for one sport or another and generate more support for sustainability by taking every opportunity to publicize the greening of sports. If sustainable habits and practices are taking hold in our beloved sport, it’s a smart strategy to play this up with employees who might be more easily persuaded to be an active fan of green when “everybody’s doing it”, especially their favorite sport or team.”
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) serves as an official advisor to many leagues which have made a commitment to environmental action across their sport.  Virtually every major sport has teamed up with the NRDC to reduce their environmental impact—MLB,  NBA, NHL, USTA, NFL, MLS, NLL, and the NCAAA. NASCAR is the latest to sign on. We wrote about what the NBA and MLB are doing in basketball and baseball.  And just this past summer, we wrote about the World Cup and even had a journalist on the ground to report on how well FIFA lived up to its promise to host the greenest Cup ever.  With football kicking off, it’s time to check out the National Football League (NFL).
The NFL is working with the NRDC to review its environmental practices and collect information to track how the league teams are doing to conserve energy, improve recycling, manage waste, limit paper consumption, and conserve water.  The Philadelphia Eagles is one of the first teams to take sweeping action to become more environmentally responsible.  Electricity consumption at the team’s stadium has been cut in half since 2004 and the team is well on its way to fully powering the stadium with solar panels, wind turbines, and a generator using gas and bio-diesel.  Low-flow restroom facilities have cut water use in half. A third of game-day waste is diverted from landfills to recycling, composting, and food donation.  These and other efforts have saved the Eagles more than $3 million since 2005.
The Super Bowl is no exception.  The Super Bowl environmental program has five main initiatives: solid waste management, material reuse, food recovery, sports equipment and book donations, and greenhouse gas reduction.  One example--The NFL uses renewable energy credits (REC) to offset all energy used major Super Bowl venues. As part of the NFL's reforestation efforts, several thousand tree seedlings are planted each year in the Super Bowl host community. Through an innovative partnership with US Forest Service/USDA, the NFL tracks annually the environmental benefits of the trees it has planted.
Kick off your green season this fall with the NFL.  As the NRDC likes to say, “No matter what jersey your favorite team wears, there's one color that every sports fan can root for: green.”
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Be Prepared--At Work...and At Home

August 27, 2014
September is National Preparedness Month.  This is an important campaign to raise awareness and motivate action to be ready to deal with an emergency and recover from it, be it an accident, a natural disaster, a broken pipe, a pandemic, a power failure, a hazardous material incident, or an act of terrorism.  This year’s theme, “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare”, urges everyone to focus on activities to increase preparedness.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the lead agency for coordinating emergency preparedness and response. 
GreenWorksGov is returning to this timely issue, having previously written about the nexus between green teams and emergency response and business resumption planners.  In that column, published in 2011 as Hurricane Irene took the east coast by force, we noted the link between climate changes and violent storms, and dealing with the resulting public health threats of contaminated water and power outages.  The lessons of these past few years are clear—be prepared at home and at work.
Previously, we wrote about the value to small businesses, in particular, partnering with disaster recovery companies to ensure continuity of operations and quick resumption of business. This week we are featuring services available to homeowners, because when employees are facing utility outages, loss of water or emergency-related repairs in the home, their employers are facing a loss of productivity and service delivery that is impacting their operations. 
HomeServeUSA is one such company.  HomeServe offers a 24/7 hotline for repairs on plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling systems that fail—similar to roadside assistance for your home.  Homeowners can choose from a variety of emergency repair service plans to meet their needs. The service plans cover the cost of repairs and getting the repair done through local, licensed and approved contractors. HomeServe has partnerships with city governments and utilities that are sensitive to the devastating financial impact on customers of repairs and the potential, in emergencies, of substantial water losses and contamination risks.  HomeServe’s business partners encourage their customers to be prepared for these unplanned events and refer them to HomeServe as a value-added service.  It’s voluntary, but it’s a mighty good idea. More than 40 utility companies, water districts, towns and cities in the US have partnered with HomeServe to serve utility customer needs and the company has garnered a 98% satisfaction rating from customers surveyed after receiving service. 
HomeServe has demonstrated its commitment to environmental and social responsibility.  It is approved by the US Department of Energy “Energy Star” program to use the Energy Star Learn More mark that recognizes the company for its efforts to promote and educate homeowners on the benefits of energy efficiency and conservation.  The company has established HomeServe Cares, a hardship fund, to assist low-income families throughout the US, having successfully implemented its first hardship programs in concert with the cities of Birmingham, Alabama, and recently with Baltimore, Maryland.  For more information visit them at homeserveusa.com.
The planners for National Preparedness Month encourage everyone to join them in helping ensure we are better prepared to address emergencies at home and in our offices.  Green teams have an important role to raise awareness about how climate change is changing our weather patterns and storm systems, and increasing the likelihood of impacts that can disrupt business operations and home security.  The month of September and the many resources available to you from FEMA’s website provide an excellent opportunity to encourage staff to consider a protection plan for their home as well as improving emergency preparedness at the office.
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Buildings, Conservation and Recycling, Pollution Prevention, Administrative Stuff

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The Coolest Schools and How Green Teams Can Benefit

August 20, 2014
For eight years, “Sierra”, the magazine of the Sierra Club, has published annual rankings of the greenest colleges and universities in the US.  The 2014 list is out.  Congratulations to the Top Ten coolest schools and to all 173 who participated in the extensive survey and evaluation.  GreenWorksGov has penned several columns inviting green teams to take advantage of the academic resources available in your communities to network with the environmental departments in local colleges and to learn about the terrific projects students have engaged in to green their campuses.  This is an opportune occasion to spotlight what is working and trending around the country. 
Here is just a smattering of what the Top Ten have accomplished:  Number One this year, the University of California at Irvine met its 20% energy reduction goal seven years early by installing a cogeneration facility and solar panels.  Its water recycling program saves over 200 million gallons a year.  At Dickinson College in Carlise, Pennsylvania students grow produce served in the cafeteria and the school builds to LEED Gold standards and harnesses rain run-off.  The University of Connecticut, last year’s Number One, earns kudos for its major water conservation efforts and an Environmental Literacy Workgroup that develops new classes, hosts forums, and fosters green careers. The Arbor Day Foundation named it a Tree Campus USA. The University of South Florida is all about energy, boasting the largest solar charging station for electric vehicles in the US and programs where students research fuel cell and solar technologies and work on developing smart grids.  Loyola University of Chicago students tend to a hundred acres of wilderness, the school offers five environmental degrees, hosts the largest geothermal facility in Chicago, and scores big points for its recycling and composting programs.
In addition to the wealth of information available from community colleges and universities, and good fortune for those working near any of those which qualified for Sierra’s rankings, green teams and administrative support units seeking student interns and part-timers to help implement sustainable business practices or raise awareness and interest in environmental issues need look no farther than to an environmental studies department or eco-student group.  And studies and surveys show that college graduates enter the workforce with an understanding of environmental issues and solutions and an expectation that their employer shares environmental protection values as well.  The signs are clear that employers who have incorporated those principles into their business practices have an edge in recruitment and retention of this new workforce. GWG wrote previously about this compelling trend.
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