by Fred Ode

Q:
My concrete company has successfully joined the "green" building movement. Since focusing on recycled concrete products, we have been able to win many LEED-certified projects and have become a recognized leader of this technology within our market.  Now I want to apply some eco-friendly practices within my own business.  Are there specific technologies you recommend?
Aaron

A:
I commend you for making the smart move into green building practices and recognizing the importance of implementing eco-friendly technology into your business, since "going green" is good for the environment and your bottom line.

There are many green technology products available, but your first priority is to establish sustainability goals and then identify products that can help you achieve them. Here is my condensed list for going green:

  1. Reduce paper use: The frequent need to exchange and review documents can lead to a huge amount of paper waste. Commit to using as little paper as possible and recycle everything else.  For example, rather than printing everything, organize your inbox and your company's electronic filing system so that everyone can find documents quickly and share them.
    • Recommended technology: Create a paperless office with document-imaging software, automated time-tracking software and integrative estimating and accounting applications.
  2. Reduce energy use: Turn off all office equipment when not in use.  Replace outdated computers with energy-efficient products. Then reuse, recycle or donate outdated products to keep them out of landfills. Check out E-cycling Central (www.eiae.org) or your area's Freecycle site (www.freecycle.org).
    • Recommended technology: Choose hardware products carrying Energy Star or EPEAT labels.
  3. Reduce physical travel: Contractors can save big money-in travel, energy and salary costs-whenever a face-to-face meeting can be replaced with online communications.
    • Recommended technology: Try web-based project management applications; use blackberries, laptops, PDAs and other hardware that support wireless communications software.
  4. Improve productivity: Streamline its processes and cut down on wasted time and resources.
    • Recommended technology: Identify areas of inefficiency, redundancy or poor workflow and replace with efficiency-boosting technology.

Today's green movement is no passing trend. Putting these practices into action is good for a company's bottom line and its reputation.

 

Fred

Construction Business Owner, August 2009