1. Implement a green team
Though Wycliffe Enterprises expects all its employees to take part in its newly evolving sustainability initiatives, Charles has been instrumental in reaching out to specific employees for the purpose of forming a green team, a core group of employees who will meet to discuss the progress of Wycliffe’s sustainable goals and make suggestions about how certain operations or business practices can be amended to be more efficient and eco-friendly. Already members are stepping up in small ways that make a big difference. Frederick, Maryland, where Wycliffe Enterprises is based, does not have a business recycling program, so three members of the green team routinely take recyclable waste home to be processed.
2. Make little changes that add up
When it comes to sustainability, Barbara and Jeff are adhering to the philosophy that slow and steady wins the race. Most companies looking to jump quickly on the green bandwagon often forget to implement the basic energy-saving and cost-cutting practices, but not Wycliffe Enterprises. Every employee is being asked to print less, print double-sided, and use digital files rather than print out documents. Charles also recently encountered an MIT study that revealed that printing in the font Century Gothic uses 30 percent less ink and toner. The firm is now using that font for specific documents and showing savings as a result. Employees are also being asked to bring in their own coffee mugs and reusable water bottles to do away with the need for paper cups and plastic water bottles.
Bigger initiatives are on the horizon as well. Soon enough all employees will be using laptops instead of desktop computers, which are known for guzzling energy. “Going green doesn’t mean that you have to do it all at once,” Charles says. “You do what you can, when you can, as often as you can, and slowly, before you know it, you’re changing your company culture.”
3. Align yourself with those who know
As Jeff says, sustainability isn’t a new thing, and there are organizations in place, such as the USGBC, that can be incredibly beneficial to a company interested in going green. Wycliffe Enterprises has been a member of the USGBC since 2010, and aligning itself with the almost 20-year-old organization has provided the company with a wealth of knowledge for properly selecting sites, conserving water and energy, and taking other important steps.
4. Partner with a green consultant
In the same vein as aligning yourself with those who know, Wycliffe Enterprises decided to consult Bill Roth, a green-business coach and the founder of NCCT, a San Francisco-based firm that helps businesses define and integrate sustainability into their strategies. Charles met Roth at a green-building expo in Washington, DC, and eventually Wycliffe Enterprises underwent training with Roth, who helped the firm create and implement methods and strategies that will poise it for future renewable-energy projects. Roth also made Charles aware of vegetative green roofs that help absorb rainwater and provide insulation, and Charles hopes to incorporate such roofs in future projects.
5. Get educated and certified
“We don’t know everything there is to know about sustainability; we still have a lot to learn, but we’re doing everything we can to educate ourselves so that we can be a better resource for our clients,” Barbara says. This is exactly why Barbara, Charles, and other key employees are currently taking Building Information Modeling (BIM) classes, which are teaching them how to generate and manage building data during its life cycle. Charles and three other Wycliffe Enterprises employees are also studying to become LEED APs. ABQ