Doo Consulting’s Annual Innovation Blog is Published

Doo Consulting’s Annual Innovation Blog is Published.

Our annual Innovation Blog, which we publish near the Chinese New Year was published on February 8, 2016. This year we focused on transportation with information on Remix, a transit planning tool for municipalities, the Copenhagen Wheel, a devise to make cycling more convenient to a broader segment of the population, and Volta, an electric vehicle recharging station available free to retail developments. Check it out.

Is our consumerism “Green-Washing” Out Earth Day? Not anymore…

Is our consumerism “Green-Washing” Out Earth Day? Not anymore…

By: Leyla Balimtas

When it comes to saving the environment, a single person can feel pretty powerless in making a change, but partnering with a group of people can make anyone feel like a lot is actually possible, even when everyone has not adopted the same opinion about conservation or environmental issues.

Earth day will be celebrating its 45th year in 2015. And over the years, it has come to represent a day to foster awareness and appreciation for environmental issues.

Earth day was inspired by a horrific oil spill in 1969, when US Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin witnessed the accident when he visited site. Soon after, a bill was passed, designating April 22nd as a national day to “celebrate the earth.” At the time, Americans were driving huge cars that used leaded gas and allowing industries to belch out smoke and sludge with impunity. With the foundation of this national holiday, Earth Day quickly became an “environmental teach in” day that inspired a much needed response to environmental problems at a grassroots level. In fact, more than 20 million demonstrators and thousands of schools and local communities participated in that first Earth Day 45 years ago. While the US honors Earth Day in April, the United Nations picked up the cause in 1971, and started the first UN Earth Day on the equinox, which occurs in March.

The tenets of Earth Day are certainly not new when looking at simple examples, such as recycling and up cycling during the Great Depression. Before the 1960’s, re-use and re-purposing were practiced by necessity, and very effectively. As the economy improved, and manufacturing expanded, those “shiny new things” replaced the useful and functional jewels of the family hearth because of the status they provided, and Americans adopted a disposable economy.

 

Earth Day Blog Image 1

Ultimately, we are all enrolled in the same, “school of Life” and have discovered that there is no “away” where we can throw our “shiny things” when they are no longer shiny. There has in fact been no answer to the question of, “where exactly is away?” So Earth Day began to have an impact, along with other programs and emerging information.

Recycling is one small example of how Earth Day has changed behavior. For example, after Earth Day’s first year, 3,000 voluntary recycling centers were established in the US; after 10 years, more than 200 cities began operating municipal recycling programs. Besides this, there are hundreds of other examples and opportunities for individuals and groups. And all of these will make a difference. Want some ideas?  Start here:

Earth day is promoting its Billion Acts of Green® (BAG), the largest civic action movement in the world. Since they’ve already EXCEEDED the billion mark with over 1.12 billion actions to date, the new goal is 2 billion Acts of Green by April 22nd.

Screen Shot 2015-04-21 at 12.51.08 PM

Here are some things YOU can do:

  1. Just learn more about the environment. Earth Day is a good time to make a commitment to learning more about some aspect of the environment and what you can do to protect it. Borrow some library books (or an ebook or audio book) and read about something that you are curious about. Become a kid again and start asking questions:
    • Who are all the endangered species? Why are we running out of water if the ocean is so vast? What makes pollution anyway?!!
    • Discover a region of the earth you don’t know much about, such as the Arctic, the Galapagos Islands, the deserts, or the rainforests.
  2. Join a local group that is involved in activities working on issues related to the environment– like foraging, planting a community garden, cleaning a steam… find a Meet Up that is interesting in your area.
  3. Challenge yourself to “shop around the edges of the grocery store” – Buy as little as possible from the middle aisles, and avoid items that are sold in packages. Consider writing a letter to manufacturers and ask them to try to find more sustainable ways of packaging their items. Start a challenge or contest in your own company and see what happens. Blog about it. Try it at your local school.
  4. Take your drink container with you during the day; avoid disposable plates and cutlery. Challenge your co-workers to do the same.
  5. Recycle all the things you do use for the day or find other uses for things that you no longer use. Use a cloth bag for carrying things and recycle your plastic bags.
  6. Go through your home and find things that you have not used or worn for more than a year. Either make something with those items, or give them away.
  7. If you have children, and they have things they have not played with for more than a year, do the same thing with them. By giving their old toys and games to someone else – either a sibling who is younger, or to someone another person, children learn about giving to others and about reusing and recycling instead of throwing things away.
  8. Research product exchange communities in your area like Freecycle or other similar options.

If you want help getting a re-use/re-purpose or other social good program started in your company, contact our office at info@dooconsulting.net

Earth Day Blog Image 3

What do Buildings have to do with Corporate Social Responsibility

What do Buildings have to do with Corporate Social Responsibility?

By: Lorraine Doo

Not too long ago, folks were asking what buildings had to do with health. Following that question, and over the past five years, more architects, building owners, developers and manufacturers have come to understand that some of the materials or the process of manufacturing the materials that make up the building, its pipes, paints, flooring, adhesives, and furnishings are comprised of chemicals and compounds that are harmful to humans, the environment or both. Turned out that the stuff IN the building could make people sick. There WAS a connection. A small group of people continued to demand data, and to demand transparency from manufacturers. As data became available from the pioneer manufacturers willing to share the connection became clearer.   The demand for materials that do not contain such common but harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, asbestos, hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), lead, mercury, bisphenol, halogenated flame retardants (HFRs), Phthalates, Polyvinyl chloride, and arsenic (in wood) is increasing and the tipping point for change is close.

So what does social responsibility have to do with buildings?

The answer is the same. Everything is connected.

Organizations that have increased their sustainability IQ’s have gained a positive return on their investments from more energy and water efficient systems. Building occupants, whether employers, employees, residents or patients have benefited from sustainable building strategies such as more effective air ventilation controls, and low VOC materials. As sustainable practices were occurring, whether based on good business sense or a concern for employees or for the environment, some organizations were also embedding social responsibility into their organizational operations – doing good things for the local community, for charitable causes, or social issues. Those companies with the greatest success where embedding that social responsibility directly into their mission statements and charters as permanent, on going programs for a charity or environmental cause.

So what does that have to do with a building?

Companies function and operate in buildings, which are embedded in communities, from which the employees are hired, and where myriad issues exist or are of a shared concern. Buildings manufacture, produce, consume and extrude things. They use energy, are responsible for carbon output, greenhouse gas, waste, and possibly toxic substances. Socially responsible companies, within those buildings, actively contribute to, and participate in the communities in which they operate. One feature that distinguishes socially responsible corporations, similar to reporting material content, is transparency in reporting sustainability performance and impact on the environment from the work their company performs – both successes and challenges. Authenticity and honesty are critical; and improvements can be reported next year, proving that the company is being managed well and has a good core of committed employees.

What are some good examples of socially responsible companies? There are thousands across the globe – but here are just a few you may know. If you know one we haven’t listed, leave a comment about that company and tell us what you admire about them. We’ll begin a list here and watch the diversity of activities.

  1. Patagonia – Supports sustainable agriculture and other food related programs. Allows purchasers to track their jacket on line to the sheep who “donated” the wool; participates in the 1% for the planet…. And much much more!
  2. Southwest Airlines – Up-cycles used leather seat coverings from the Evolve retrofit into new products to support local communities in several African nations. This pilot will create products that provide access to employment, skills, training and livelihood.  
  3. Tom’s Shoesbegan with the “one for one” campaign. Now a multi-varied program of global programs of services from water to eye glasses to assisted savings. For example, more than 780 million people don’t have access to safe water. TOMS Roasting Co. purchases support water systems in seven countries – in the same regions where they source their coffee beans.
  4. SurveyMonkey Instead of offering cash and prizes to survey takers, Survey Monkey donates 50 cents per survey completion to the taker’s charity of choice. In 2013, the company donated more than $1 million to organizations such as the Humane Society, Boys & Girls Club of America, and Teach for America.
  5. H&M – Takes any used clothing and repurposes it to make new clothes in their factories.

How does your building stack up?  Want help? Contact us today.

csr

Social Media Advocates Sustainability

Social Media Advocates Sustainability

By: Leyla Balimtas

How social media changes the conversation of sustainability in business…

The environmental issues in our world are nearly inevitable. We as humans will always be using our environments because they are not only readily available to us, but they also provide the resources that we need to survive. And the main users of the environment are businesses and industries. Yet while businesses are using these resources, they can also replenish what is lost, and act as role models in the global aspiration for sustainable living.

Ray Anderson, sustainable business pioneer, discusses in a Ted talk that, “we are each and every one a part of the web of life… and we have a choice to make: during our brief visit to this beautiful blue and green living planet – to hurt it or to help it.” Ultimately, it is business, and namely, social media, that has brought the concept of sustainability to the world’s attention.

With the emergence of a social media-dependent world centered upon concepts of sustainability, it has become increasingly difficult for companies to ignore their responsibilities to the environment. Once businesses understand their role in a sustainable world, the next step in the transformation of current enterprise is to apply social media thinking to sustainability. This will result in the creation of a stronger, more responsible business.

There are five main themes that revolutionize the social media of an organization into one that promotes sustainability and further modernizes a company: having a magazine mentality, creating apps, developing new and emerging channels, branding a personal touch, and implementing big ideas. Whether it is creating a personal marketing campaign or showing how clients should develop sustainable practices, techniques like these put a business in the right direction for success.

With the adoption of any of these sustainable practices, revolutionizing a business in and out of the social media world is completely achievable. And once revolutionized in this respect, the economic benefits of going green will soon follow suit. Just look at the techniques and success of major companies like Walmart, Starbucks, or Nestle. All are businesses that have adopted sustainable practices, and all remain dominating companies in an increasingly competitive world.

Source: http://www.developmentcrossing.com/profiles/blogs/corporate-social-responsibility-csr-infographic

corporatesocialresponsibilityinfographiccsr

Happy Chinese New Year 2015 - Year of the Green Wooden Sheep

Happy Chinese New Year 2015 – Year of the Green Wooden Sheep

Welcome to the Year of the Green Wooden Sheep. As we say farewell to the Year of the Wooden Horse (2014), with its promise of travel and movement, we hope your ride over the past twelve months took you where you wanted to go.

We welcome 2015, the Year of the Green Wooden Sheep, that corresponds to renewal, growth and balance. The Sheep brings promises of a calm, but not sedate atmosphere in which to prosper. Combined with the evergreen and renewal characteristics of wood, the Sheep’s creativity will be unleashed. This is the year for contemplating and appreciating what has already been accomplished, to think about bringing goodness to others. A steady path, generosity, and keeping the peace are this year’s mantra. The renewal characteristics of wood enable each organization’s creativity unleashed.

Year of the Green Wooden Sheep

Doo’s News

Doo Consulting has always taken pride in its individuality, and has enjoyed opportunities to share and collaborate.   In the year of the sheep, remain good to others. Remain steady, generous, and peaceful.

There are five elements in the Chinese zodiac: wood, fire, earth, metal, water which are associated with their own “life force” or “chi”. This energy blends with a corresponding animal to determine that year’s fortune. In 2015, the corresponding element is wood. Wood by its very nature, is the element associated with all living things, the spring or life renewal process. Wood relates to trees, which relate to the color green. We hope this means good fortune for green businesses!

Our own ride in 2014 was eventful. We consolidated the LEED consulting services of TerraLogos EcoArchitecture, pc with Doo Consulting creating a broader and stronger practice in this service area. We partnered with some awesome teammates to successfully win the Baltimore City Schools Program Sustainability Consulting contract, MGM National Harbor Casino & Hotel, LEED certification of the Oriole Park at Camden Yard Complex and a 730 bed STEM Residence Hall at University of Connecticut.  One of the most fascinating and enjoyable experiences of the year was the extremely successful facilitation of a multi-day Living Building Challenge project charrette for the Lemur Conservation Foundation in Myakka City, Florida. This is our second hands-on experience with a LBC project. We are also assisting in the DC Affordable Living Design Competition where we will serve on a team charrette panel and the jury! We look forward to 2015, Year of the Wooden Sheep.

Lemur Conservation FoundationLemurs

Hot Picks

This year Doo Consulting brings you links to interesting apps that can help ease and advance sustainability goals for your clients and yourselves. WeSpire and One Small Act help track and measure the cumulative impact of collective energy and water savings and other lifestyle actions such as walking or bicycling to work, carrying your own water bottle and other small acts (hence the name). The Green Button is a tool that can be used by homeowners and commercial building managers alike to manage energy use. Happ-y Year of the Sheep!  Read on and enjoy

WeSpire and One Small Act are web based engagement programs that can help individuals and organizations realize sustainability or social responsibility targets and measure their impact. Engagement is one of the greatest challenges when attempting to initiate change individually or within an organization. Tracking and measuring impact is another. WeSpire and One Small Act attack these challenges by engaging people in networks with others, establishing teams and tapping into people’s inherent desire to improve and compete. Think that your individual efforts don’t make a difference? Think again.

WESpirewespire-roi-calc

The Green Button Your energy data is just a click away!

The Green Button Initiative is a government sponsored, industry-led effort that provides utility customers with easy and secure access to their energy usage information in a consumer-friendly and computer-friendly format. In late 2012 and early 2013, the Green Button had been adopted by utilities and electric suppliers who made energy data available to individuals and commercial building owners with a simple click of a literal “Green Button” on electric utilities’ websites. With their own data in hand, consumers can take advantage of a growing array of online services to help them manage energy use and save on their bills.

To date, a total over 50 utilities and electricity suppliers have signed on to the initiative. In total, these commitments ensure that over 60 million homes and businesses will be able to securely access their own energy information in a standard format. The following utilities have already committed to Green Button: American Electric Power, Austin Energy, Baltimore Gas & Electric, CenterPoint Energy, Chattanooga EPB, Commonwealth Edison, Glendale Water and Power, National Grid, NSTAR, Oncor, Pacific Power, Pepco Holdings, PG&E, PECO, Portland General Electric, PPL Electric Utilities, Reliant, Rocky Mountain Power, SDG&E, Southern California Edison, TXU Energy, and Virginia Dominion Power.

GreenButtonGreen_Download_265

Apps, apps, apps! At last check, there were more than 60 Green Button apps available, offering a range of capabilities and services.   We have provided a link to the site so you can test drive any of the apps yourself. We’ve provided a few apps here for fun. To see a full list of applications, visit the open innovation challenge site HERE.

WattzOn Comprehensive Energy Management Platform to save money & Energy

This name seems to be a play on IBM’s Watson and Watts – related to the term energy. The app is a comprehensive energy management platform designed to help people save money by saving energy. The app analyzes usage by room, equipment and time of day. Can also analyze information at the community level for larger scale projects.

wattzon_logo

WattzOn Screen

Energy Tipper – Makes Energy Data Beautiful

Loved this one. Its goal is to make energy data beautiful – and accessible. The app is virtually all images with few words, yet it also uses the Green Button to pull in data, analyze it and generate warnings, recommendations and tips.   The images are amusing, but they do work with the phrases or guidance. The website is under construction but check out their YouTube video.

energy tipper

Simple Energy.

Combines a Social media platform (Facebook) with an incentive game and energy tips along with the data. The foundation for this program is based on scientific research that indicates that different people respond differently to things, and differently to different things. This program relies on consumer engagement, so it offers a variety of experiences to attract more individuals. The activities have frequent interactions, and include incentives to serve as motivators. The more interaction there is with the customer, the more the experience improves, and the greater the engagement becomes.   Take a look!

SimpleEnergy

In addition to providing LEED project administration services, Doo Consulting, LLC assists businesses meet their broader sustainability goals.  Let us know if we can help you!

EcoDistricts - Hype or Opportunity for Change in Baltimore

EcoDistricts – Hype or Opportunity for Change in Baltimore?

Talk of establishing an EcoDistrict in Baltimore has gained traction over the past year, with proponents suggesting the locations of Harbor Point, Lexington Market and the State Center project. The articles so far have focused on the potential for energy savings and storm water management at the district level. These benefits are obviously positive for the developments at first glance, but what are the broader implications for the city and people of Baltimore? By establishing an EcoDistict in Baltimore, the city has the potential not just to save energy and costs, but to improve the lives of the people living there, and to catalyze sustainable development throughout the city.

What Is An EcoDistrict? 

Simply put, an EcoDistrict is a neighborhood or district within a city committed to sustainability through programs including community-scale energy generation, recycling, and low-carbon transportation options. On a larger scale, the EcoDistrict approach, developed by the EcoDistrict Initiative out of Portland, OR, is a framework to develop sustainable and ecologically diverse cities from the neighborhood up. Cities and communities around the country have established EcoDistricts, including one in DCs Southwest Waterfront. All have sustainability at their core, but the projects range from downtown business districts to affordable housing communities.

SW ecodistrict Rendering

Economic and Social Benefits

The up front benefits of an EcoDistrict from an economic standpoint are clear. Operational efficiencies for multiple systems create cost savings for energy and water almost immediately. Ecodistrics either create or tap into existing district energy distribution systems which save on energy costs by using a central plant to heat and cool buildings in the district. Buildings achieve water use savings with central wastewater plants and district storm water management. Over the life of the project, communities will see savings in public health costs, waste management, and operations costs.

The long term benefits ultimately go to the users of the project and residents of the neighborhood. When cities provide infrastructure and opportunity, people are able to conserve energy use, reduce and manage water, and reduce outputs of waste. Providing urban agriculture and gardens allows residents to produce at least some of their own food. Overall, Baltimore can improve the ecology and social economy of neighborhoods by incorporating natural systems and ways for residents to manage their ecological and financial costs.

While the benefits go to the users, this can be an economic boost for the city of Baltimore as people and businesses choose to locate in the district to take advantage of the cost savings and  culture of sustainable living. Increased attraction to the neighborhood from businesses and people create long-term economic health for the city.

Ecodistric

Making Baltimore More Livable for Current and Future Generations

These benefits may keep Baltimore City desirable for the next quarter century and beyond. As more and more people from several generations (the millennial generation most notably, but baby boomers too) move back into cities and push demand for housing and resources, the shortcomings of cities are coming back into focus.

The problems that have always existed in cities, like overcrowding, unhealthy conditions, and lack of natural and green space are being rediscovered by a generation raised in the suburbs. Many people are choosing to live in the city now, in part because of the access to cultural and lifestyle amenities and a short multi-modal commute.

The way we develop downtown today may determine whether urbanites choose to remain for the next decade – whether the pros of living downtown will continue to outweigh the cons. By shaping new development to fit within an EcoDistrict framework, we have the opportunity to make the city more desirable by giving residents a chance to manage their own resources and create livable communities. With stakeholder buy-in to the EcoDistrict concept, Baltimore could gradually transform into a hub of urban agriculture, economic activity, and social equity.

In addition to thinking about how to get people to make Baltimore their home, it is time to start thinking about how to keep them here and improve conditions for everyone.

Not So Fast - Doo Consulting Blog

Not So Fast

IgccAt recent blog post on the Green Building Law Update titled “Maryland Sidesteps LEED in Favor of the IgCC” suggests that “fewer, if any, Maryland state and local government projects will be LEED certified in the future.” But, I say, “Not so fast!” Yes, the Maryland legislature just passed an amendment to the State’s green building law that will allow the IgCC to be used as a compliance path to green building in addition to current compliance paths which are LEED Silver or other “nationally accepted numeric rating systems reviewed and recommended by the Maryland Green Building Council and approved by the Secretaries of Budget and Management and General Services.”

To date, the Maryland Green Building Council (MGBC) has not recommended any alternative rating system; hence, the pressure to adopt some alternative compliance path. The timing of the adoption of the IgCC as a code in the state of Maryland is perfect. Not only does it present a viable option to LEED that the Council can accept but, it coincides with other concerns about LEED v4 as well as interest in other numeric rating systems for schools.

I have seen a draft of the version of the IgCC that the MGBC is working on. There is nothing definitive as it is a work in progress but, the current version states that a Green Building certification equivalent to a LEED Silver rating would exempt one from IgCC compliance.

Remember that a Code is a minimum standard. What is good about this for green building is that it sets a minimum performance standard for all buildings and, as a code, requires compliance. The IgCC can be “tuned” to meet the priorities of a particular jurisdiction. For Maryland, the adopted version of the IgCC can advance State priorities for energy use reduction, water quality and other goals.

LEED, on the other hand, is a rating system that rewards green building efforts by awarding points for specified actions or “credits” that the project delivers. The more credits you accumulate, the higher your score. Selection of those credits is up to the discretion of the design team. The State has no control over the credits that a project team will pursue, other than requiring the level of certification (LEED Silver). So, while a group of buildings may all be LEED Silver certified, there is unlikely to be any consistency in the energy performance of those buildings.

Let’s be absolutely clear; the State’s version of the IgCC has NOT yet been fully drafted, let alone approved. Whether State agencies and their architects will find it easier to comply with the IgCC and its required performance targets or pursue a LEED certification where they can pick and choose the credits to achieve is unclear. Certainly, the design and construction industry is familiar with LEED and, in some cases, may find it advantageous to not have to comply with the IgCC. Additionally, with the implementation of LEED v4 this summer, USGBC will re-establish LEED as an aspirational rating system. Certainly the LEED moniker has a market cache that “code compliant” cannot match.

I agree with Stewart, author of “Maryland Sidesteps LEED,” that the adoption and implementation of the IgCC will be good for green building and good for the State overall. I do not agree that the State is “sidestepping LEED,” rather it is complementing this numeric rating system with a code to cover more buildings and advance green building.

Wishing You a Happy Chinese New Year - Doo Consulting Blog

Wishing you a Lucky, Prosperous and Happy Chinese new Year

February 10, 2013 starts the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Snake.  Snake years are predicted to be a time for reassessing our personal situation regarding finances, career and relationships.

It’s also a mysterious year that suggests it pays to be cautious when making commitments.

Doo Consulting has committed itself to sharing resources to help make your life, greener, save you money, time and effort.

 

 

Nest – the gorgeous, elegant, smart way to save money on your heating bills.

The Snake is unable to control its temperature, but we have Nest, which is able to control yours. Nest learns your schedule and temperature preferences to save up to 20% on your heating and air-conditioning bills.  If you’re not intimidated by owning devices that may be more intelligent that you, this is just what the doctor ordered. Installation takes less than 30 minutes. As you start making temperature adjustments, it starts learning. Adjustments can also be made from your iPhone or Google based cell phone.

http://www.nest.com/

Declare – a “nutrition label” for building products.

 

Operated by the International Living Future Institute, Declare is a new “nutrition label” or ingredient label for building materials.  Declare provides answers to three main questions:

Where does this product come from?

What is it made of?

Where does it go at the end of its life?

Declare takes aim straight at “green washing” and promises a decisive marketing advantage as more consumers, contractors and service providers learn of its existence.  Declare arrives just in time for LEEDv4 that will require this kind of data for its material declaration credit. Encourage the manufacturers of your favorite products  to up-load their information to this website.

http://www.declareproducts.com/product-database

Tate Phase change floor panels – natural safe passive energy savings through flooring.

As the sun heats the panels during the day, energy is stored and released at night.

Tate’s EcoCore Phase Change Panel uses phase change materials to reduce indoor air temperature fluctuations and save energy. During the peak solar load of the day, the phase change material embedded within the welded steel panel is designed to melt and absorb energy — energy that would otherwise be reflected back into the room as heat or transferred to the air stream.

http://www.tateinc.com/products/ecocore.aspx

Happy New Year!

The team at Doo Consulting looks forward to helping you optimize your sustainability in 2013.

Green Businesses, Green Buildings, And Greenbacks - Doo Consulting Blog

Earth Day 2012: Green Businesses, Green Buildings, And Greenbacks – Part 2 of 2

Does a LEED building make financial sense?

In the current market, this question is discussed actively between development, property management and building professionals.

Of course, energy efficiency upgrades and water-saving measures do lower utility costs. And less construction waste can save money during construction. So, these savings help in making the case for LEED.

But, apart from bottom-line savings, can a LEED building actually boost top line revenue? Can it increase sales and market demand?

University of Notre Dame management professors Edward Conlon and Ante Glavas set out to answer that question by making an apples-to-apples comparison of LEED buildings and non-certified buildings.

How can certified and non-certified buildings be compared side-by-side? The researchers started by selecting a single company with the largest portfolio of LEED-certified facilities in the world – PNC Bank.

This provided a statistically signicant sample of third-party-validated green buildings at a single company. Further, the products and services at each branch are the same, and not “environmental” in their nature. And PNC enacted green certification proactively, not in reaction to industry or regulatory demands.

The researchers went further and matched PNC LEED-certified facilities with other facilities based on revenue and market demographics. They controlled for a full range of data that the bank tracks for the branches annually – number of employees per branch, employee demographics (gender, age and tenure), age of facility, advertising budget per facility, number of households within a two-mile radius of the branch, and the net worth of consumers within that two-mile radius.

And, significantly, they eliminated a bias for the “newness” of facilities; they included only branches three years and older.

The data showed, as expected, bottom-line savings in the form of lower utilities costs – $675.26 per employee per year.

Beyond that, the research revealed that top-line performance improved. Compared to non-certified facilities, LEED-certified PNC branches, per facility, per year:

  • Opened 458 more consumer deposit accounts
  • Maintained $3,032,000 more in consumer deposit balances
  • Opened 25.5 more consumer loan accounts
  • Maintained $994,900 more in loan balance

Significantly, these numbers are improving as time goes on. In the authors’ words: “As can be seen in the data, the slope and the effect of LEED certification on financial outcomes is increasing each year.”

The findings of this study reveal that LEED can drive top-line results in the form of more sales and repeat customers. Why? Perhaps the effect is caused by increased employee satisfaction and health. Perhaps it’s consumer preference for a socially and environmentally responsible corporation.

The reason “why” is the occasion for further research by academics, and for future blog articles.

For now, as a business person, you need only to act on this knowledge: there are increased sales and revenue to be found in certifying your new and existing buildings.

Green Businesses, Green Buildings, And Greenbacks - Doo Consulting Blog

Earth Day 2012: Green Businesses, Green Buildings, And Greenbacks – Part 1 of 2

How is business for you in 2012?

For companies with a congruent commitment to sustainability, and with LEED-certified buildings (see Part 2 of this series), it seems business is very good.

Empirical studies reveal that companies that have chosen to put sustainability high on their priority list outperform their competitors. Those for whom the bottom line is the only concern do well – but not as well.

That’s what research done by Harvard (and London) Business School professors, Robert G. Eccles, Ioannis Ioannou, and George Serafeim, has shown. Their working paper, called  “The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behaviour and Performance” studied the two samples of two sets of firms of the same size, financial performance and growth prospects, from the period from 1993 to 2010.

Ninety of the firms were identified as having made commitments to enhance their environmental and social performance, where the other sample of ninety took a more traditional approach, regarding these factors as externalities, and financial performance as primary.

An example of their findings is illustrated in the relative stock performance of each set of companies. One dollar invested in the a value-weighted portfolio of sustainability-minded companies would have grown to $22.60 during the period of the study. The same dollar invested in a value-weighted portfolio of the traditionally-run companies would have grown to $15.40.

The authors suggest that, since much of the low-hanging fruit of sustainability has already been plucked by watching the bottom line, those companies who make a special commitment to social and environmental performance are forced to innovate to make good on their promises. And, in fact, in innovation is where new opportunities for profits are found.

Doing good can lead to doing well – so start with making a commitment to a triple bottom line – people, the planet, AND profit. If you are looking for guidance on where to start, contact Doo Consulting to facilitate your next planning session.

And please read part 2 in this series for a revealing study about the impact of green buildings on corporate performance.