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climatewiseConservation.  Everyone talks about it, but how many companies actually DO anything?

RLE sits in an enviable position.  We’re part of a community committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and we’re supported by a board of directors that realizes the value of this contribution to both our community and the environment.  By leveraging both of these assets, we can make a big impact.

It Takes a Village

The city of Fort Collins has set two lofty goals: as a community we will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2030, over 2005 measurements.  This isn’t something that can be accomplished without widespread community support.  The city looks to local businesses to help with this goal, and as such has developed and evolved the ClimateWise program to assist local businesses in their greenhouse gas reduction efforts.  This program is making a difference.  Since 2000, the City of Fort Collins ClimateWise program has helped local business and the environment, saving over $92 million and reducing 1.3 million metric tons of CO2e.

RLE is a proud member of ClimateWise, reaching Silver Status in the program every year we’ve participated.  Now we’re looking to ramp up our efforts.  We’re not looking at a major capital investment to reduce our emissions.  Instead we’re looking at the small changes we can make to our everyday habits that will lessen our impact on the environment.  We know those little changes will add up to big results, and those small changes that become habits are the most sustainable.  We even have our own in-house committee to help determine what these changes should be, and how they can best be implemented.

Between now and the end of 2016, we’ll be looking to:

Increase Employee Awareness of the ClimateWise Program

We’re well on our way with this goal.  Last week we had a potluck with a presentation from Fort Collins ClimateWise representatives, to help employees understand the purpose and goals of the program.  We also participated in recycling and energy awareness games to increase employee participation and knowledge.


Reduce our Energy and Water Usage

Once you dig in, you’ll find there are so many ways you can reduce your energy usage.  When you think about it, you’re at work more hours than you’re awake at your home every day.  All of those efficiency features you have in your house, you should probably have in your workplace as well.  This year we plan to:

  1. Replace our thermostats with more intuitive models to reduce our gas and electricity consumption.
  2. Dim our outdoor lighting and install motion sensors in designated areas.
  3. Install occupancy sensors on switches in more rooms, so lights aren’t on when no one’s around. We already have these in bathrooms and our break room, and they’re a great addition.
  4. Encourage employees to turn off their computers when they’re away from the office.
  5. Better insulate our manufacturing area.
  6. Install low flow toilets.
  7. Turn down the temperature on our water heaters.
  8. Seal our office windows and replace the seals on our garage doors.  We’ve already replaced our door sweeps.
  9. Install a shade structure outside our break room, to reduce heat buildup in the summer.  We will look at retractable options, so we can take advantage of those warm rays in the winter.
  10. We’ve already set up fans in the conference room.  With our current thermostat setup, closed-door meetings tend to freeze out the rest of the office.  Fans help us moderate the temperature without increasing the a/c usage during large and long meetings.

Reduce our Waste

This is one area in which we’ve already made great strides:

  1. We’ve already purchased a dishwasher and reusable glasses, dishes, and silverware.  No more disposable products at RLE!
  2. Everyone has recycling bins in their offices and cubicles, and we also have recycling bins in all our common areas.  If you put recyclables in the trash, Rebecca is sure to set you straight!
  3. We’re installing water filters on our faucets. This allows us to eliminate disposable water bottles in the office.  Each employee has been gifted with either a reusable water bottle or glass, and extras are available in the conference room for our guests.

Encourage Employee Conservation Efforts

We live in a community filled with bike trails and outdoor enthusiasts.  Our employees have asked us to be more bike friendly, and we’re going to comply:

  1. Install bike racks.
  2. Purchase company bikes.
  3. Promote and incentivize biking to work.  Or running to work.  We already have an employee who does this, and it’s awesome!
  4. Continue to sponsor Fort Collins’ Bike to Work days.  We’re a crazy enough biking community we even have a bike to work day in the winter.  That’s right.  Bike to work in Colorado in the winter.

Many of our employees garden at home, and quite a few share the bounty of their harvests in our break room.  A company garden would be a fantastic addition to RLE.  Produce always tastes better when you grow it yourself, and something tells us our engineers would find all kinds of creative ways to grow veggies at RLE.

And we’ll continue to educate and inform our employees.  We have a handy-dandy recycling quiz in the break room right now, designed to help all employees know what’s recyclable and what’s not.  Check out the quiz in the picture below and see how many you would have gotten right:


The answers are in the picture on our Facebook page or on our Twitter feed.  The green stickers indicate the recyclable items, although there is some heated discussion about some of those green stickers!

How Is Your Company Impacting Emissions?

We know we’re not the only ones instituting conservation and efficiency programs, and we’d love to learn what you’re doing at your place of work.  What is your company doing to meet your emissions goals?


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