United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has made a commitment to reduce our environmental impact as an organization. Going green also helps us keep our overhead low and use funds wisely and efficiently.
We've achieved Sustainability at Work's gold certification. Here are a few things that we did to accomplish this:
- We use reusable kitchenware everyday at internal meetings and events.
- We compost and recycle. These tasks are easier for staff members thanks to a kitchen remodel designed and donated by Neil Kelly.
- We volunteer in the community throughout the year, including sustainability-themed projects on Earth Day.
- We reduced our gas use by 40 percent through the replacement of an older boiler with a high efficiency one. Energy Trust of Oregon provided financial incentives for the upgrade.
- We saved 310,000 kWh of electricity and $24,000 over two years after upgrading our HVAC system.
- Our black and white copier use went down 20 percent in two years since setting copiers to default double-sided printing, and increasing our use of digital documents in place of printed copies.
- We installed a “cool roof” on one of our buildings which helps mitigate the urban heat island effect by reflecting solar energy, thereby creating lower surface temperatures. We also installed insulation under the cool roof which should result in less energy needed to heat and cool the building.
- Carpooling is common. Staff members take the initiative to set up carpools to volunteer projects and events. The last staff retreat had a goal of 100 percent participation in carpooling and achieved 90 percent participation.