EPA Region 3
Date: January 29, 2010
The idea of sustainability is gaining mainstream acceptance partly because many main stream technologies are now much more cost effective, there is an increased desire for the U.S. to become more energy independent, and a broader concern to address climate change.
This is Bonnie Smith at EPA’s mid-Atlantic region and this is Environment Matters, our series of environmental podcasts. Sustainable practices range from relamping using more energy efficient lights, composting food, commuting on public transportation, to installing new more energy efficient heating and cooling systems, and powering buildings with renewable energy sources like wind or solar power. Today, Donna Heron from EPA talks to us about what EPA is doing to help businesses become more sustainable in the mid-Atlantic region.
Donna Heron: Well, first of all, there are a lot of people in the mid- Atlantic region who are working on sustainable issues and there are a lot of projects going on. What we’re hearing and what we are finding is that sustainability is a very important component for businesses. They want to put sustainability in their business plans. They want specific concrete ideas about what they can do, and to take those ideas back to their companies. How to implement them.
They are not so much interested as to what is going on in California or Florida, they want to know what are companies doing who are located here in the Delaware Valley, and who are they working with, and what are their resources.
So one of the things we have done is through a grant to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, we are participating in a series of brown bag lunches, or networking opportunities. We’ve had two so far, one was in the summer, and one in October. The next one will be in Feb. If anyone is interested in finding out when that is they should go to DVRPC’s website. Those workshops had standing room only, the first one had about 75 people, and the second one had 50. We’re expecting that we are going to have more at the third because it’s a broader topic. It’s going to be on utilities - - electricity and gas, and how can those… Well, first of all how those utilities are doing sustainability-wise, but also how can those utilities help businesses reduce their energy costs. What they are finding out is what other organizations and companies are doing. What they’ve accomplished. And how they accomplished it.
Those are the kinds of things.. they are coming, they’re learning, to hear what people are doing, in many cases, they are going to those companies, and those managers who have implemented these strategies, and they are getting advice directly from them asking in some cases for those people to come talk with their boards of directors or their management teams.
Right now, even though we have an economic downturn there is still a lot of interest in sustainability. The phones have not stopped ringing. But, what’s happening is that the people within the companies and organizations are interested in getting the sustainability piece as a part of the business plan they have to do a lot more homework. Because they can’t just go into their manager, or to their company president with an idea. Now they have to come in with the idea, but also exactly how to implement it. How much is it going to cost. What are the projections for how long it is going to take to make our money back. And in some cases, here are some people who are willing to come in and give you their experiences of how we implemented that.
Host: We’d like to encourage your efforts in sustainability, if you have some questions about sustainability feel free to contact us at EPA, you and find us through the web at EPA mid-Atlantic region sustainability. This is Bonnie Smith on environment matters our environmental series of podcasts.