Pittsburgh Office: In order to offset 100% of our Pittsburgh office's electricity consumption, the office purchased Renewal Energy Certificates/Credits (RECs) from 2012 through 2014. RECs represent the energy generated by renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power facilities, and the clean energy attributes of renewable electricity. To determine the number of RECs the office needed to purchase, we had to determine how much energy we were consuming. To do so, we utilized the “EPA Standard Commercial Space Assumption” formula which is based on square footage, and the amount of energy used in the form of kilowatt hours (kWh). Based on this formula, we ended up purchasing approximately $4,500 in wind power RECS to offset our annual electricity consumption during that time.
Silicon Valley Office: When we moved to our new LEED Platinum building, we thought it was an excellent opportunity to implement the LEED standards in our internal kitchen and conference areas. We moved from an office space where everyone was comfortable using disposable single-use kitchen products including plates, cups, utensils, single use water bottles, etc. In our new office space, we equipped each kitchen area with one dishwasher, the pantry area with two dishwashers, along with hot/cold water dispensers. We also stocked each kitchen and the pantry with reusable plates, utensils, water cups, and coffee mugs. We asked our office personnel to place their used items in the dishwasher, or in the sink if the dishwasher is running. Our Office Services performs a weekly sweep to collect dirty plates, cups, etc., from each of the offices. We also created a schedule for our Office Services to load and run the dishwashers four times daily. While it took several weeks for everyone to get used to the new process and schedule, now everyone is comfortable with the new process and we have experienced a culture shift happen in our office towards more environmentally sustainable practices. We use the same reusable products even for our large catered meetings. When people are finished with their plates, etc., they place the dirty items in a lug cart right outside the conference room area. After our initial purchase of items needed to implement our new green and sustainable environment, we have not had to purchase any disposable items for the office (with the exception of items purchased during the COVID-19 pandemic).