Environment Week 2017

Environment Week 2017 Closing Remarks

Thank you for your participation in Environment Week 2017. Your participation in this annual event, however small or large, contributes to our company goal of preserving and restoring the natural resources of the world. SSC’s offices honored this year’s theme of “Reducing Our Carbon Footprint” in various ways. Photos and descriptions of each site’s activities are included below. Please take a moment to view the photos and the following closing suggestions on how to reduce our carbon footprint.

Dallas

Ann Kingsborough designed the office area where employees share their examples of how they work at home and at play to improve our environment.

 

May Lee is completing her contribution to the employee shares. May and her family make compost for their garden as well as recycling paper and plastic.

 

Hiroshi Igarashi signs the Environmental Week pledge agreeing to replace use of paper cups with the hot or cold tumbler provided by Sekisui to all employees for use in the office.


Sandy Deaderick has provided and maintained plants for the Dallas office for a number of years. Her plants not only provide ascetic beauty in the office setting, but also to improve the air quality as plants need CO2 to thrive. Sandy’s maintains plant in common areas and individual offices.


Brian Williams consults with Sandy on care for the plant located in his office.

Tarragona

The reforestation team at the Tarragona plant smiles for a photo.

 

The pines, oaks and aromatics plants planted adjacent to the Tarragona plant will grow to improve the quality of life for the people in who live and work in the area.

 

Sekisui Tarragona rolls up their sleeves to reforest the area around the plant. The site also gave employees an Environmental Kit including a reusable bottle, recyclable bags, and a reusable cap.

Calvert City

Calvert City Maintenance Department


Calvert City Staff preparing to do the plant cleanup for Environment Week.

 

Rene Tucker at the plant cleanup.


Lagan Croft gives Ricky Ringstaff his Environment Week Tumbler.

 

The Calvert City team members enjoying breakfast after the Environment Week cleanup.

Pasadena

All copy paper at the Pasadena site has been replaced with recycled paper. Becky Dalton replenishes the printer with fresh, recycled paper.

HTC

The books used for HTC Environmental Week 2017

Suggestions on How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

1. Reduce Your Trash Output

Landfills are an incredible source of greenhouse gases and pollution. Recycling the basics can cut the amount of garbage you send to landfills by up to 50% or more.

Several waste management services now have low-cost recycling programs, and if yours doesn’t, look for a local recycling facility that picks up or accepts drop-offs. Many are free, and some items like cans could even net a small amount of money.

Green Ideas:

  • A household of 4 could reduce their footprint by 1,930 lbs. per year by recycling plastic, glass, magazines, newspapers, and aluminum and steel cans (EPA).

2. Make Recycle & Reuse Your Motto

In addition to recycling trash waste, think about other ways your family can recycle and reuse to reduce consumption of resources and greenhouse emissions. From old clothes and toys to old furniture and packaging materials, see what can be given a new life or donated rather than discarded.

Green Ideas:

  • Paint, reupholster or refinish old furniture instead buying new.
  • Transform packaging materials into art projects or creative containers.
  • Repair furniture or tires before replacing.
  • Donate things in decent shape you no longer have a need for.

3. Go Paperless

Even though paper is recyclable, the less you use, the better for the planet. Rather than getting piles of mail you just trash or never look at, choose paperless for all of your statements, newsletters and bills.

Several banks and billing companies offer small credits for paperless billing. Most will still send you important documents by email, and you can always print them if you need to.

Green Ideas:

  • Get in the habit of taking notes and making lists on your PC or smartphone, use a chalkboard, or opt for reusable paperless note takers like AquaNotes or Boogie Boards.
  • Switch your bills over to paperless billing.
  • Only print what is absolutely necessary. Saving things via PDF or emailing yourself documents can reduce a lot of waste!

4. Pass on Plastic

Plastics, especially new plastics, are a big drain on finite petroleum resources and major contributor to greenhouse gases. Try to reduce the amount of wasteful plastics your household uses by opting for greener, reusable materials.

Green Ideas:

  • Swap disposable plastic water bottles and containers for aluminum, glass, or reusable ones made of recycled plastic.
  • Use a water filtration system at home to reduce plastic bottles and jugs.
  • Use cloth grocery totes instead of plastic bags.

5. Get Growing

Trees and plants consume CO2 and help purify the air, offsetting a portion of carbon emissions. An adult tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of CO2 per year, and can even reduce household heating and cooling costs by providing shade and insulation.

If you have a yard, consider planting trees, shrubs or even a garden packed with superfoods to reduce your footprint. If you don’t have a yard, you could seek out a community co-op garden or look for local volunteer planting groups or events.

Green Ideas:

  • Many cities host tree planting or gardening events, particularly for Arbor Day and Earth Day.
  • Non-profit organizations CarbonFund.org and EarthDay.org also plant trees for you for tax-deductible donations of about $1 each.

6. Watch the Thermostat

One easy way to reduce your family’s carbon footprint is to simply be conscious of your thermostat’s settings. When you aren’t home, set your thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter to conserve energy. If you can, program it to adjust automatically.

You can also use ceiling fans and air fans in the summer to reduce AC costs, and use low-energy space heaters and bundle up to save on heating. Colder temperatures are good for sleep, so keeping thermostats low during winter can have multiple benefits!

To sleep comfortably, use seasonal bedding and breathable pajamas. Efficient heating and cooling mattress pads like the ChiliPad can also keep you comfortable without hiking up energy bills.

Green Ideas:

  • In the winter, turn your thermostat down 8 degrees when you’re not home and at night to save $35 per year and reduce CO2 by 361 pounds (EPA).
  • In the summer, turn your thermostat up 4 degrees when you’re not home and at night to save $35 and reduce CO2 by 1031 pounds.

7. Use CFL or LED Lights

Spiral-shaped, energy-saving Compact Fluorescent light bulbs cut energy usage significantly compared to incandescent bulbs. When incandescent bulbs burn out, replace them with low-watt CFLs or LED lights instead.

Green Ideas:

  • Replacing even three 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with 13-watt CFLs can save you $18 per year and reduce your carbon footprint by 183 pounds (EPA).

8. Opt for Efficient Appliances

From refrigerators to dishwashers and computers to water heaters, appliances account for a big share of your family’s carbon footprint, and your energy bills.

When it’s time to replace old appliances, look for the Energy Star label to compare efficiency and find options that save on energy and/or water. Big strides have been made in the past 10 years, and you could even save money over time by upgrading old, inefficient appliances.

Green Ideas:

  • Replacing an old fridge with a new Energy Star model could save you $43 and cut emissions by 443 pounds per year (EPA).
  • Enabling your computer’s “sleep” function can save $12 and 126 lbs. of CO2.
  • Washing 2 loads of laundry per week on cold saves $13 and 133 lbs. of CO2.

9. Choose More Sustainable Goods

Look for home furnishings and mattresses made with low-VOC and sustainable materials when you buy new. Volatile organic compounds in paints, glues and foams outgas into air, and many also disperse significant greenhouse gases in manufacturing.

Sustainable, plantation-grown woods, bamboo, glass and metal offer greener solutions for furniture. Organic cotton and other renewable natural fibers offer better choices for fabrics and textiles around the house as well.

Green Ideas:

  • Some companies use low-VOC materials and reduce petroleum usage by substituting plant oils, which offer greener alternatives to traditional products.

10. Park Your Car

Another small change your family can make to reduce carbon footprints is to simply drive less.

The average person puts 240 miles on their car each week. Carpooling, biking, or riding public transit even one day can have a big impact. You can also try to incorporate more walking and biking as a family to reduce auto mileage.

Performing regular maintenance on your car ensures exhaust emissions are in check and that you are getting optimal gas mileage. When you need to buy a new car, look for a vehicle that gets at least 25 miles per gallon (the industry average of 2013), or opt for a hybrid model.

Green Ideas:

  • Driving 20 fewer miles per week saves 1,062 lbs. of CO2 and $175 (EPA).
  • Performing regular vehicle maintenance saves you $124 and 892 lbs. of CO2.
  • Compared to a vehicle that gets 20 MPG, one that gets 25 MPG saves $354 and 2,549 lbs. of CO2 per year, while one that gets 30 mpg saves $591 and 4,248 lbs. of CO2.

With over 7 billion people currently calling planet earth home, it’s easy to think that our actions won’t make a difference. However, if every person made minor changes to their daily routines, small savings can make a huge impact.

Just by driving 20 fewer miles per week, performing regular vehicle maintenance, adjusting your thermostat, enabling your computer’s sleep function, washing two loads of laundry on cold, recycling waste, and replacing three incandescent lights with CFLs, your family can reduce it’s CO2 footprint by 5718 pounds or nearly 3 tons per year.

Additional changes like choosing 10% green power can save an additional 2148 pounds per year, while replacing single pane windows with Energy Star windows can save an additional $150 and a whopping 8841 pounds per year.

As you can see, there are so many ways, both big and small, that you and your family can contribute to a healthier planet. Reducing your family’s carbon footprint is as easy as making a few conscious changes to your daily routine and making wiser choices as a consumer.

What’s your biggest motivator to go green? What do you think is most important about the eco-friendly movement? How would going green impact your lifestyle?

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