Earthwise Excavation...From the ground down.
Through investing in reforestation and other types of projects that absorb CO2, we're offsetting our contribution to global warming due to energy used at the Earthwise Excavation. What follows is a guide written in collaboration with Stonyfield farms("yogurt with a mission") for other businesses and individuals interested in decreasing their impact on climate change.
Global Warming - the facts
More than 1,500 of the world's most distinguished senior scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in science, agree that human activities that emit carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and other heat-trapping or "greenhouse" gases into the atmosphere are indeed warming the earth. There is broad agreement in the scientific community that continued global warming will have these devastating results:
-raised sea levels, resulting in the permanent flooding of coastlines and other low-lying areas, including up to 1/3 of Florida;
-increased likelihood of more intense rainfall, floods, droughts, heat waves and tropical diseases (last summer over 400 people died in the Midwest from extended heat waves, and the first known case of malaria was discovered in North America and scientists expect such occurrences to be more frequent);
- exacerbated food shortages and a threat to water supply, stable soil and growing conditions, indeed the end of agriculture in much of the world as some of our "breadbasket regions" become decertified;
- accelerated species extinction--at current rates, one third of all species may be lost by the end of the next century.
Reversing Global Warming - the good news
The good news is that climate change due to human activities can be reversed. By decreasing our use of fossil fuels and absorbing or sequestering greenhouse gases (through reforestation, for example), we can offset our CO2 emissions to reach carbon "neutrality". Because CO2 circulates around the globe almost evenly, the CO2 released from our business activities here in Snohomish can in a very real sense be offset by a renewable energy or forestry project anywhere in the world.
Industry's Competitive Advantage - the solution
Implementing efficiency practices that reduce or even eliminate CO2 emissions are logical extensions of a Total Quality approach to operating efficiently and profitably. While some of the investments required to reduce CO2 emissions may not yield first quarter returns, it is rare that an energy efficiency investment takes more than 2-3 years to break even. Paybacks can be measured in total energy savings, increased consumer loyalty and other competitive advantages. For example, cosmetic giant Cosmair, a subsidiary of L'Oreal, has reduced energy use, saving over $1.5 million and preventing more than 20,000 tons of emissions from being released into the atmosphere. Taken seriously by American industry, the U.S. can effectively reduce current levels of greenhouse gases ahead of the timetable being proposed by other nations, and gain the competitive advantage needed to lead industry into the new millennium with advanced technologies. These returns would benefit individual business, our global environment and our children's future.
Get started today, and learn that it pays to be green!
This Carbon Solution has been designed to help businesses reduce energy use and lessen their impact on global warming, this issue is one in which EVERYONE can play a role. At home, in your job, through your purchases -- you can use your individual actions to begin to "put a lid" on global warming. As you read the action steps that follow, think about the businesses you support or patronize. Pass along a copy to them -- the more firms that participate is a classic "win-win" for us all.
STEP I. Measure Your Energy
If you can't measure your CO2 emissions, you can't manage them. Emissions can be calculated from your energy bills -- whether it be electricity, oil, propane, natural gas or transportation fuels. At Earthwise Excavation, we noted the amount of gas and electricity used from our utility bills and then used the conversion tables provided by the EPA's Climate Wise program (see below) to calculate our manufacturing emissions. You too can calculate your emissions with these conversion tables.
Climate Wise, a voluntary program of the Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created to encourage businesses to take comprehensive, cost-effective industrial energy efficiency and pollution prevention actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Contact Climate Wise at 800-459-wise or www.epa.gov/climatewise.
For businesses, the Global Cooling Action Center of Trees for the Future will calculate your CO2 emissions and the number of trees needed to offset those emissions.
Trees for the Future, 11306 Estonia Dr., PO Box 1786, Silver Spring, MD 20915, 301-929-0238 or 800-643-0001 web: www.treesftf.org
Enviro Account Software produces a computer software package called Earthware: Personal Environmental Impact Assessment Software, that will help you conduct a detailed personal energy audit of your home or business. Contact Enviro at: www.dcn.davis.ca.us/~dwlotter or fax: 916-756-9156.
Finally, a number of professional environmental auditing firms can help businesses measure emissions and other wastes, as well as establish an environmental management plan to help reduce or eliminate such inefficiencies. We can recommend two firms, although many more are available:
GreenAudit, 1220 Broadway, Suite #703, New York, NY 10001, (212) 971-0808
Gil Friend & Associates Strategic Sustainability, 48 Shattuck Square #103, Berkeley, CA 94704, 510-849-2341 web: www.co-ops.com/eco-ops
STEP II. Reduce Energy Use
Once you've measured your energy usage and CO2 output, you can set realistic goals for implementing efficiency or reduction measures. At Earthwise Excavation, we reduced the amount of energy used by 18% through a variety of activities including lighting retrofits, engine idle policies, employee informational programs and other processes. We also have diverted more than 70% of our "waste" from the landfill through recycling and reuse. These energy savings realize Earthwise Excavation thousands of dollars savings annually.
For the latest information on energy efficiency, check-out the Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) web page at www.rmi.org. RMI is one of the world's leading think tanks on energy efficiency. They now offer energy efficiency services to businesses through their "Corporate Sustainability Practice" program.
Climate Wise is a wonderful resource for Industry efficiency tips. Contact Climate Wise at 800-459-wise or www.epa.gov/climatewise.
At home, we can all use less energy with the tips found in the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings, put out by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) at 202-429-0063.
STEP III. Offsetting Your Carbon Emissions
For growing companies like Earthwise who produce more product and thus use more
energy each year, the goal of a NET reduction in emissions is especially
challenging. We continue to look at not only our waste stream but
dematerialization as well (e.g. reducing the amount of materials used). Sourcing
materials from the waste stream is effective as well, such as using recycled
plastics. Offsetting CO2 emissions is an excellent way to supplement your energy
reduction efforts to ensure that your business or home eliminates or net reduces
your contribution to global warming. Carbon dioxide offset projects are a way in
which we can "neutralize" business or home emissions by investing in CO2 emission
reduction projects elsewhere in the US or around the world. Typically the offset
investment can pay for itself by the proceeds from energy savings measures in Step
II above. In other words, you can have dramatically reduce your contribution to
global warming, while reaping greater profits.
Trexler and Associates, Inc. is a specialized climate change mitigation firm, providing a wide range of policy and technology services to clients. Through it's Carbon Neutral Portfolio, TAA is organized to quickly evaluate and define your offset needs and options. They can recommend an offset portfolio mix that suits your business's objectives while credibly offsetting your greenhouse gas emissions. Contact them at:Trexler Associates, Inc., 1131 S.E. River Forest Road, Portland, Oregon 97267, 503-786-0559 or www.climateservices.com.
American Forests can help you with a variety of offsetting projects by clicking on their web site at www.amfor.org under "What Corporations Can Do." American Forests, PO Box 2000, Washington, DC 20013, 202-955-4500 or 1-800-358-5748
STEP IV. Report Your Results
In their recent study commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund, the Mellman Group, a Washington, DC-based research institute found that more than 2/3 of all Americans see global warming as a serious threat. By reporting your results, you are informing the public that your business is taking action to reduce global climate change! In addition to inspiring hope in a world that can always use more, your business will likely benefit from these efforts in several ways:
Employee loyalty and lower turnover have a bottom line benefit. Employees feel good about working for a company that demonstrates its commitment to the environment.
Environmental stewardship is a way of adding value to your product or service for your customer. Many studies have demonstrated that a large percentage of consumers if given a choice would prefer to buy from an environmentally responsible company.
Enhance your stock value. Numerous studies suggest that attention to environmental performance can positively affect stock value. With a growing number of stock purchase decisions based on environmental screens, a company committed to proactive environmental practices has a competitive advantage. The value of returns through building market share, employee loyalty, and improved stock performance translates to a healthier bottom line.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Reversing Global Warming is Simply "Good Business"
At Earthwise Excavation, one of our goals is to help spread our vision for a healthier environment to our consumers, our suppliers, even our competitors. By sharing the results of our efforts to reduce global warming, we hope to inspire more businesses and individuals to take similar actions.
Our biodiesel program has us using B30 during winter months(Dec.-Feb.), Increasing
the blend to 100% in March and decreasing during November. We use B100 during the
remaining months and or as long as we can. We currently are Washington States
largest consumer of Biodiesel using in excess of 30,000 gallons a year for both on
and off road machinery.
Supporting cleaner air, your health, our farmers, and sustainability
Currently in Washington State
there are few retail outlets (locations can be found
When you combine these emission benefits with reductions in other air toxins and potential cancer causing compounds, the 78% carbon dioxide reductions from the full life cycle analysis performed by the DOE, and the fact that biodiesel is already less than 15 parts per million sulfur fuel --biodiesel is a very positive step.
Green power generally refers to electricity supplied in whole or part from renewable resources, such as wind and solar, geothermal, various forms of biomass, and landfill gas. By choosing to purchase a green power product, support is given to increased development of renewable energy sources, which can reduce the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas, and oil. Greater reliance on renewable energy sources also provides economic benefits and can improve our national security.
To this effect we have enrolled in Snohomish Counties Public Utility Districts Planet power program. Today 100% of our electricity now comes from the Stateline and Condon wind farms. There is an cost increase of $3.00 per 150kilo watt hour. We combined this program with an conservation plan consisting of switching to energy efficient lighting, employee awareness programs, and a review of energy uses.
The net result of these programs, even with the increase in power costs has seen our energy costs lower due to conservation. The key factor being healthy participation. So kudos to those of you who make the small changes that make a big difference.
In the course of regular business we use batteries for flashlights, pagers, two way radios, laser leveling transit's and receiver. Over 400 plus batteries a year have been eliminated from the landfills due to our implementation of rechargeable. We use top quality nickel metal hydride (Nimh) batteries which give extra life and are ecologically friendlier.
The Nimh batteries are designed for effective recycling and provide longer charge/ recharge cycles. They do not contain mercury, caduim, lead, sulferic acid or arsenic, all highly toxic materials. The initial cost of purchase is substantially higher but with over 100 plus charge cycles the savings are substantial. Let alone the savings in environmental degradation.
It is still difficult to find the high quality Nimh batteries due to the industries continued attempts at doing business as usual. Save yourself money and stop using highly toxic materials by switching over to Nimh rechargeable. Please see our link page for sources.
We use Forest Stewardship
Certified wood which comes from sustainable harvested
In order to receive this certification,
the forests and watersheds have increased
Please use our link page for further information.
THE NATURAL STEP
As a guide for
our environmental work we have adopted the following four system conditions
for a sustainable society.
In October of 1998, we launched our first regional conservation campaign using radio spots with conservation messages to inspire people to join the ranks of real life "Do-ers". This is our way of encouraging people to be involved in causes that will help make the world a better place by taking simple actions that can add up to real social and environmental change. We hope our activism campaign will inspire you to take actions toward a healthier planet and a better world. Let us hear from you!
A Warning from 100 Nobel Prize Winners
The most profound danger to
world peace in the coming years will stem not from the irrational acts
of states or individuals but from the legitimate demands of the world's
dispossessed. Of these poor and disenfranchised, the majority live a marginal
existence in equatorial climates. Global warming, not of their making
but originating with the wealthy few, will affect their fragile ecology's
most. Their situation will be desperate and manifestly unjust.
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel
laureate, economics, 2001
And 85 other Nobel prize winners including recipients from every year between 1972 and 2001. The statement was issued at the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium on the 100th anniversary of the Nobel prize, in Oslo,Norway.
1. Use less fossil fuel. Walk, bike, combine trips, use mass transit or carpool whenever possible.
2. Eat less meat. Meat based diets contribute disproportionately to global and local environment problems as well as your health
3. Fix your car leaks. More oil ends up in our waterways each year from urban runoff than from tanker spills.
4. Use nontoxic Use phosphate free detergents. Change to biodegradable products. Avoid highly processed foods.
5. Let there be light Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, turn out lights, turn down the heat
6. Say no to disposable containers Use permanent drink cups, bring your own bags, take Tupperware out to eat with you.
7. Live the 4 R's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink
8. Register to vote One vote really does make a difference
9. Be green. Buy green. Question your consumption. Choose products with less packaging from environmental responsible business.
10. Vote with your dollar All the factories, refineries, and industrial plants are ultimately producing things for our consumption.
11. Conserve all resources
12. Free your mind Life is simple. Live that way
13. Get the big picture Step way back and take a look
Each day before start up of Vehicle the daily safety and maintenance check will be performed as outlined in the Maintenance category
Engine warm up and cooling periods
1. Millions of gallons of excess fuel and unnecessary pollution is caused each year due to excessive idling. The following policies take into account current scientific understandings regarding warm up times.
2. Warm weather 45 degrees or above Gas engines 1 minute warm up,
1 minute cool down from full load (>80%) 0 minute cool down otherwise. Diesel Engines 5 minutes warm up,1 minute cool down from >40% load
Shut down triggers
Cold weather Below 45 degrees,
Expenses generated through engine wear, pollution, and fuel consumption due to excessive idle policies far outweigh extra maintenance costs for starter systems.