Green Business Partnership adds 10 new members
SARASOTA COUNTY – Sarasota County’s Green Business Partnership recently added 10 new members to a community of companies that are demonstrating their commitment to a healthy environment for employees and the community at large.
The Green Business Partnership is a collaborative effort of businesses, business organizations and county government. It was initiated through an innovative grant awarded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to Sarasota County and is open to all businesses that implement resource conservation measures and demonstrate a culture of environmental awareness in their business practices. To date, more than 200 local businesses have been certified.
The newest members include:
A. Andre Spalvins, Realtor with Andrews & Associates Realty, who often works from his home-based office and uses environmentally friendly gardening and landscaping practices. His usage of native vegetation and xeriscape designs allowed him to become certified as a Florida Friendly Yard by the University of Florida cooperative extension. The Realtor office has a comprehensive recycling program that includes composting of yard waste and materials.
Enzymedica’s business operations have been “carbon neutral” since 2009. Its facility includes 113 solar panels to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and conserve thousands of kilowatts of energy each month. It was was built using all recycled steel and has solar block shades installed in all office windows. The business is “carbon neutral” certified by Green Mountain Energy, and its virtual IT servers save the company approximately $16,000 in electric and $18,400 in cooling costs each year.
Faith Lutheran Church has created an active green team that meets to discuss programs and projects that include hosting an Earth Day coffee hour, showing Earthbound videos and creating an electronic newsletter with a green tip of the week. The church has an active recycling program that includes battery collection. The staff uses reusable kitchen wares and coffee mugs, and compostable coffee cups are provided for members and guests. The church building features lighting control sensors and was designed to use increased natural lighting during its renovation. It conserves water through automatic turn-off faucets, aerators and low-flow toilets. Its landscaping incorporates Florida native and low-maintenance plants that predominantly rely on rainfall and do not require any fertilizers or pesticides.
Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center’s initiatives include a focus on recycling at all its events, the elimination of plastic bottles, and the support of companies that have a similar commitment to respecting people and the planet. Most of the center’s furniture items are re-purposed. The center also offers a bike rider discount on certain selected shows and concerts.
Harrimans Inc. specializes in solar power system design, sales and installation for homes, businesses and institutions. Its employees participate in a number of practices and programs related to the environment, including recycling cardboard in the warehouse and using heat pumps in the field. The office staff reuses supplies, and each work station has an individual recycling bin. The company works with eco-friendly pest management and cleaning companies and has installed a 5,000-watt PV solar array on its warehouse.
Nutritious You uses packaging that is compostable or made from recycled content. The company’s “Eco-You” program offers a discount for customers who bring their own tumblers and containers. Other measures include recycling of scrap metals, an electronic newsletter and green cleaning via the elimination of abrasive chemicals. A new energy efficient air conditioning system and new hot water heater were installed as part of a recent remodeling, and lighting was updated to more efficient T-8 ballasts and fixtures. An efficient water filter system was installed for healthier cooking and cleaning.
PPi Technologies Group has made a number of improvements at its new facility, which opened in 2014. With the assistance of a comprehensive energy audit, it has installed efficient air conditioning units with duct sock supply systems, switched from T-12 to T-6 lighting fixtures and added several fans to its warehouse areas to increase air circulation. The company is also actively recycling and reducing waste, and it has its own employee putt-putt course that incorporated redundant items from around the facility, including a windmill motor, a bicycle, a water fountain pump and used tires.
Sarasota County UF/IFAS Extension and Sustainability has demonstrated environmental leadership, developing and posting a company policy statement that emphasizes conservation of resources and encourages employees to suggest new conservation ideas. It has instituted a Green Champion program for employee and volunteers. Its Twin Lakes office building is recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED gold facility, and 90 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills and processed for recycling. The building uses 58 percent less water than a new code-compliant office building and utilizes solar water heating, natural day lighting and motion detection lighting to reduce energy consumption.
The Shamrock Pub has developed a program focused on recycling cans, bottles and cardboard. The business purchased a wine dispensing system, uses aluminum cans when possible and generates very little paper in its office operations. It has installed Energy Star televisions in the pub, purchased new energy efficient beer coolers and painted its rooftop white to reflect UV rays.
WSLR 96.5 FM Community Radio incorporates a number of green measures throughout its operation. Furniture is re-purposed and reused; the station also uses only non-toxic cleaning products and has implemented a no-scent policy. WSLR shares a location with the Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center that utilizes LED lighting, a metal roofing system and soy-based spray insulation on the ceiling and walls. It also has a solar water heater system on the rooftop, an instant hot water tank and two 550-gallon cisterns that collect rainwater for reuse.
For more information about the Green Business Partnership, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at 941-861-5000 or email [email protected].