Because of our mission, our concern for our environment, and general thriftiness, we at Equinox have always worked to minimize our consumption of resources such as electricity, fossil fuels, and paper. However, as climate change grows to an even bigger concern, we want to know and do more. We began by learning more about climate change. All of us now know a lot more than we did, and some of us have become real experts. You can reference our dedication in our ‘Response to Climate Change’, which has been on our website for some time.
Since we outlined our basic strategy, we have had an energy audit to determine a baseline of energy consumption from which to compare any success we may achieve in reducing our energy use. Waste Reduction Partners conducted the energy audit for us and helped us determine that our energy use is roughly 25.3 kBTUs per square foot whereas the average used by comparable small businesses in the Asheville area is 93.0! Learning this was a real morale booster; we are doing great – and honestly it’s not surprising – it is important to us to do the right thing. Now the challenge is to do more! We know it can be done, and therefore, we’ve created a plan to address our internal energy consumption and efficiency.
We hired Green Opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of our space by adding additional sealing to windows, walls and doors. We have insulated the pipes to our water heater, disconnected the compressor to an internal water fountain, have plugged up some leaky holes in our walls, and have converted all of our light bulbs to fluorescent and LED. The energy savings won’t be staggering, but every little bit helps, and we want to do all that we can.
We are also implementing a Green House Gas Emission Reduction Policy that includes a variety of ways our conglomerate behavior at Equinox can change to reduce the amount of energy we consume. Changes will include: 1.) increased planning, including carpooling when applicable, to reduce the amount of mileage we accumulate while working and commuting to work, 2.) requiring staff to turn off the power supply to all equipment at their workspace at the end of the day, 3.) converting to electronic documents instead of printed when possible, and 4.) a program to incentivize staff to choose alternative ways to get to work such as using city transit, walking or biking to work, or working from home when feasible. We are optimistic that we can make a greater difference here and tread more softly on this beautiful planet we call home.
We hope to achieve a 25% reduction in our energy consumption and will track the achievement of our target. We hope not only to reduce our green house gas emissions, but to also reduce the cost of doing business. If these efforts do not allow us to achieve our target, we will purchase offsets that will reduce our carbon footprint. Our intention is to find in the ground projects that are local to Asheville and the surrounding area. Ultimately, the point of all our efforts to increase energy efficiency and minimize consumption of resources and their resulting emissions is not to boast a number or meet a requirement, it is to embody our mission as well as to make good on our promise to ourselves and our incredibly precious planet.
-Joyce Brown, Andy Brown, Win Taylor, and Owen Carson-