Capital Improvements to $ave Green

Green; what comes to mind when you hear that term?  When I was a kid green meant one of many colors in my large crayon box.  Nowadays it conjures up a whole different slew of emotions, most not as warm and fuzzy as my treasured Crayolas.  I prefer to use the phrase “Socially Responsible”; it implies a certain sense of accountability with regard to society as a whole.  It’s no longer enough to recycle paper and change to fluorescent light bulbs!  In our certification program, Fresh Air Lodging, we base our qualification on four basic tenets:  Capital Improvements, Company Policies, Social Responsibility, and Volunteerism.  I thought I’d take the next few posts to go a little deeper into each of those four areas.

Capital Improvements… that very phrase is enough to send shivers down the spine of any owner or manager of a business!  Obviously no one wants to spend any more than they have to.  But when planned out and executed properly, capital improvements can be a nice little return on investment.  Products like low-flow faucets and toilets are so widely accepted that it’s nearly impossible to find any other type.  Many public restrooms have taken it one step further with automatic faucets and high volume hand dryers.  I like these dryers.  But the old ones, you know the type—where you could blow on your hands and they’d dry faster—are not effective and they take more juice!  Hardly the desired result.

Something most people don’t give much thought to is the settings on washers and dryers.  I’m not talking about rushing out to purchase the newest models, unless that’s in your plan and budget—which is great!  What I am talking about is making sure that you (or your staff) are using the machines properly, at the correct settings, and for the least amount of time and energy.  If you run a business that uses washers and dryers, regular maintenance should be performed to ensure they are set for proper extraction and temperature.  This could be a noticeable cost savings for your bottom line.

Some other capital improvements you may want to consider are:

  • Windows that open vs. fixed closed—fresh air is great!
  • HEPA filters on vacuums, air handling equipment, etc.
  • Use an alternative energy vehicle such as E-85 or electric
  • Occupancy sensors on public/high traffic areas—make sure overrides are available for special events
  • Digital thermostats are more accurate and reliable— they’re great in conjunction with timers for day/night settings
  • Motion-sensing lights on vending machines to reduce electricity consumption
  • And finally, rainwater recycling.  This is a great method of collecting water for plants and gardens, bird baths, fountains, etc.



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