Green Industry Articles

10 Earth Day Commitments

Given the pressing environmental challenges facing the world, one day just doesn't seem like enough to celebrate the earth and make long-term environmental changes.

Why not use the day as inspiration and make a commitment to do environmentally friendly activities throughout the year?

Here are just 10 ideas, along with some online resources, that you could try.

1. Green your office--Establish a green team with colleagues to address ways to reduce your office's impact. A recycling program is obvious. Other strategies could entail ridding the kitchen of disposable goods, replacing equipment that hogs energy, improving
lighting and HVAC systems, installing a bike rack, and replacing grass around the office with a vegetable garden or native plants.

2. Shop locally--Swear off buying stuff from faraway places. Just consider the impact that packaging and shipping your goods has on the environment. Instead, shop locally.

Supporting local businesses can enhance your community and offer good networking opportunities. Walking to shops saves energy and you also help neighborhood businesses thrive.

3. Make mini moves--Build new habits that will have an ongoing impact. Those could include the basics, such as switching to CFL bulbs, fixing water leaks, or cutting the phantom power at home.

4. Do an energy audit--Invest in an energy audit to figure out exactly how your house wastes energy. Commit yourself to making some of the changes the auditor suggests, and start setting aside money for costlier upgrades. Find an auditor through RESNET.

5. Go car-free--Reorganize your schedule so you can take public transit or walk to work and errands at least a day a week.

6. Become a locavore--Rely on local food providers for your weekly meat and produce by shopping at a farmers' market or joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. And when it's time for gift giving, consider buying CSA memberships for friends and clients.

7. Share your knowledge--Offer to make a presentation to colleagues at a weekly sales meeting about green changes they can make. Or pass the torch to the next generation by organizing an environmental event at a school or with a Girl Scout troop.

8. Raise your profile--Whether it's a community garden, a rails-to-trails group, or a transit improvement committee, get involved in your community. Your participation raises your profile and connects you with new prospective clients, and your efforts have a direct impact on improving your community.

9. Learn something new--Still fuzzy on the details of programs like LEED or ENERGY STAR? Wondering about new rebates and incentives? Spend just two hours each week getting up to speed on industry programs and trends. One resource for such education is the Green REsource Council's Webinars. All the Webinars are archived online and they include sessions on Energy Star, EPA's WaterSense, USGBC’s REGREEN, LEED for Homes, and NAHB’s Green Building Program. Catch up at your leisure with these one hour, archived webinars.

10. Refer a colleague--Share with colleagues just how you've benefitted by earning NAR's GREEN Designation and urge others to get green education. Discuss the greater knowledge you have to advise clients and how the designation has allowed you to best prepare your business for a changing world in which consumers increasingly value an efficient, sustainable housing stock.

Source: Green REsource Council Newsletter, April 2011