By Allison Day,
In early March, before our world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, 54 businesses took the 2020 Green Business on the Hill self assessment led by the Chestnut Hill Business Association and Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.
This second installment of the self assessment consisted of 105 questions covering how businesses handle waste, energy usage, and healthy air quality in their workplace. Of those businesses that took this year’s self assessment, six rose to the top and earned the Three Leaf Award, showing that they try to incorporate environmental values into most aspects of their operations. Twenty-five businesses earned the Two Leaf Award. CHBA’s Executive Director Phil Dawson was excited that so many businesses participated in this year’s self assessment.
Here are lessons learned from six environmentally conscious businesses who scored high marks.
40 West Evergreen: Energy Efficiency in the Workplace
Joyce Ferris and Karen Naughton have employed a long-standing commitment to creating a sustainability-focused co-working space at 40 West Evergreen. Ferris and Naughton gradually replaced old incandescent lights with T-8 lighting fixtures to improve energy efficiency while reducing costs. Other practices include composting, purchasing low-emission materials, and planting street trees to cool the building. 40 West Evergreen is a model for businesses wishing to improve their environmental sustainability.
Glenna Stone: Going Green and Maintaining Design
Glenna Stone founded her interior design company after beginning her career as an engineer in the consumer products industry. Stone’s design philosophy is “Great design is about walking into a space, and every single time feeling one thing: this is as it should be.” To create an environmentally conscious working environment, Stone’s Philadelphia office is outfitted with LED lighting and Energy Star appliances. Additionally, the office recycles all standard items as well as batteries, electronics, ink, hazardous waste and light bulbs.
Mt. Airy Nexus: Co-Working in a LEED Certified Building
Mt. Airy Nexus is a co-working space with an emphasis on sustainability. A point of pride for Mt. Airy Nexus is its LEED Platinum Certification, the highest certification level for a building committed to environmental sustainability. Community manager Sonni Schwartzbach said that “In ‘greening’ our business, I learned the true ripple effect that one business can make a huge difference in the community. Through real-life examples, those who enter our co-working space can become more knowledgeable about sustainability issues.”
Queenie’s Pets: No Need for Harmful Chemicals
Adina “Queenie” Silberstein’s philosophy leads her team to create a stress-free and pain-free environment for their four-legged clients. Queenie’s Pets uses non-toxic cleaning products to make their business more sustainable. They use Green Seal or EPA Safer Choice certified cleaning products to protect the staff, clients and animals from harmful chemicals and fumes. One important part of using safe cleaning products to make sure you do not over-buy.
“While making our business more sustainable, we’ve learned to do a better job of inventorying our supplies and anticipating our needs,” Silberstein said. “We can spend less and thus ultimately improve our profitability while serving the Earth more safely.”
Woodmere Art Museum: Managing Stormwater with Permeable Pavement
Philadelphia is expected to see more rainfall as climate change progresses. To adapt to this future, Woodmere Art Museum has made changes by installing a permeable parking pavement lined with native trees to manage its stormwater. Before heading into the museum, visitors can experience the combination of art and nature on the museum’s grounds. “The addition of outdoor sculpture at Woodmere creates a unique art-meets-nature experience, which is an essential component of our long-range plan,” said Anne Standish, Woodmere’s director of development. “That plan makes palpable our vision to grow Woodmere beyond our walls, integrating the museum’s experience across the landscape.”
Weavers Way Mt. Airy:Business Decisions that are Good for the Planet
Weavers Way Co-op’s mission has been to foster community and environmental stewardship through collective ownership, education, and food purchasing. Their philosophy statement incorporates that the Co-op provides products that “positively impact our bodies, the ecosystem, or other people in the present or future.” “Making business decisions that are good for the planet are almost always better for the financial bottom line of the Co-op,” said Jon Roesser, general manager. “More and more people are making consumer decisions based on values, and environmental stewardship is increasingly important to most consumers.”
The 2020 Green Business on the Hill initiative has shown that incorporating environmental sustainability into a business’s mission statement, daily operations, or office culture equips a business to address environmental issues and climate change. The solutions highlighted here are only a few of the many different steps that can be taken to become an environmentally conscious business. If this has inspired you to “green” your business, contact CHBA’s Executive Director Phil Dawson for more information.
Allison Day is an intern at Boyer Sudduth Environmental Consultants.
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