Sustainability in what we do, and how we do it

Read the original post at https://www.mncee.org/blog/september-2017/sustainability-in-the-wor...

CEE provides practical energy solutions for homes, businesses, and communities — but that only tells you what we do. Just as important is how we do it.

Our talented employees could be researchers, engineers, program developers and implementers, lenders, or operations staff just about anywhere. But one reason we're all at CEE is because its environmental mission permeates everything we do here,  from thoughtful efficiency goals we pursue outside our walls to sustainability practices we embrace within them.

I think of sustainability as simply striving to live in better balance with the world around me — using natural resources more wisely, giving back when I take away. For individuals and families, living more sustainably requires extra attention to details, smart strategies, and a level of commitment. All doable, and every step counts.

Bringing that same discipline into an office can take even more intention, as well as staff leadership. But given the quantities of resources (energy, water, materials, etc.) consumed in and by offices, the payoff is worth the effort. CEE's commitment to sustainability takes many forms... 

Operational practices

  • In both Minneapolis and St. Paul, CEE rents office space in resource-efficient ENERGY STAR-certified buildings.
  • For staff without paid parking, CEE pays in full for public transit passes.
  • CEE recycles and composts in both its St. Paul and Minneapolis offices.
  • Efficient lighting saves energy (and electricity costs) throughout our offices.
  • We promote efficient computer power management, including computer "sleep policies" informed by CEE’s office plug loads research.
  • Filtered tap water discourages daily use of plastic bottled water.

Organizational culture 

  • Our employee-led "Shift" sustainability committee promotes learning and operational practices that shift staff behaviors toward greater sustainability both at work and at home.
  • CEE's "Bike Crew" club encourages staff biking for commuting and other transportation.
  • Recurring staff trash pick-up days reduce pollution in our North Loop neighborhood and along the Mississippi River.
  • We discourage non-reusable kitchen supplies by providing better staff-led options — for example, cloth napkins are available for all and laundered by staff volunteers.

I feel lucky to be in Minnesota, where many companies care deeply about the environment and make an effort to work sustainably. 

And at CEE, we're especially fortunate to count ourselves among a smaller group of organizations that live and breathe this commitment inside and out — from our mission-driven efforts to improve energy efficiency throughout Minnesota, to internal operations that guide how we work every day.

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