Tag Archives: energy conservation

Peterborough Rocks!

The Peterborough region has many economic strengths to brag about. Our close tie to our many lakes and rivers ensure our region is a magnet for tourists. Industries such as General Electric and Quaker are doing well, providing jobs and spurring the local economy, and we have an ever-growing small business community and vibrant downtown.

Businesses large and small are key to the growth of any region, and we in Peterborough are fortunate to have a solid business community.

Our business community is also very forward thinking, which adds to its continued success. When it comes to taking the environment into consideration in day-to-day operations, there are countless examples of local businesses that have stepped up to the plate, serving as positive examples for others.

Examples include Kawartha Chrysler Dodge Jeep Fiat, East Side Mario’s and Merrett Home Hardware who all upgraded their lighting and are now using significantly less energy because of it. One of the largest and most recognizable faces of the retail business community, Lansdowne Place, has worked hard to achieve environmental excellence. They’ve done everything from sending away organic waste for composting to installing a weather-based smart irrigation system to control water usage outside.

To further help businesses go green, Sustainable Peterborough in partnership with the Greater Peterborough Area Economic Development Corporation and the Green Business Peterborough program are launching the Sustainable Business Initiative (SBI).

The SBI is designed to foster sustainable economic activities among our region’s small and medium sized businesses and aims to educate, motivate and empower local businesses.

The SBI kick-off event will embrace the compelling case for sustainability with guest speaker Bob Willard author of The Sustainability Advantage- Seven Business Case Benefits of a Triple Bottom Line. Mr. Willard is a leading expert on quantifying and selling the business value of corporate sustainability strategies and has given hundreds of keynote presentations to corporate, government, university, and NGO audiences. Mr. Willard applies his business and leadership experience from his 34-year career at IBM Canada to engage the business community in proactively avoiding risks and capturing opportunities associated with environmental and social issues.

Mr. Willard identifies three ways to frame the business case for sustainability: improved profit, high return on investment (ROI), and higher share price/market valuation.

Sustainability has become the new buzzword similar to green business. However, as Mr. Willard notes, the success of any corporate sustainability initiative needs to revolve around more than just what is socially correct.  In short, it needs to measure up financially, demonstrating it will increase profit, provide a higher more aggressive return on investment and, for publicly traded companies, must improve share value.

As a business leader with IBM Canada, Mr. Willard actively engages the business community to be proactive in capturing opportunities associated with environmental and social issues.

The SBI is supported by local small and medium size business, those who can speak firsthand about the compelling case for adopting sustainable practices.  Some of these local sustainability champions will participate in a panel discussion at the event on January 17th.  This intriguing perceptive will provide justification for embracing sustainability strategies within our local region.

Since September 2012, the Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce and GreenUP have been running a program for local businesses that supports the SBI. Called Green Business Peterborough, the program recognizes and encourages businesses to formulate goals and a plan of action that will help move businesses down the path to environmental sustainability.

The Green Business Peterborough program will help local organizations, discover how becoming more environmentally sustainable can bring many lasting benefits.  This program will help to identify incentives, opportunities, resources and create a network within Peterborough of mentors and testimonials; further making the case for businesses to embrace sustainability as a corporate practice that leads to success.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Sustainable Business Initiative, be sure to attend the kick off event on Thursday, January 17th at the Holiday Inn in Peterborough.  The event runs 7:30 to 9:30 am and includes a local continental breakfast. The registration fee is $10. Those interested in attending can register online at http://businesscaseforsustainability.eventbrite.com/ or contact Brigid Ayotte 705-743-0777 ext 2160 or by email at ..

This blog appears courtesy of Peterborough Green-Up.

“Be the Change you want to see in the world“ – Mahatma Gandhi

In a previous post, I shared a survey done by Leapfrog Sustainability of over 250 senior business executives worldwide on their views of the relationship between sustainable business and commercial growth.  A whopping 78% of businesses agreed that sustainability is vital to the future growth of their business and 83% viewed spending on sustainable initiatives as an investment rather than a cost.

Those numbers certainly suggest that the need to develop sustainable business practices is definitely on the radar for most organizations.  However, sustainability consultant and former federal Green Party leader Jim Harris, in his October address at the CIMA Canada Conference 2012, noted that this is not the case.  In mid-December, Financial Post reporter Dan Ovsey spoke with Mr. Harris to get his views on what is still preventing businesses from adopting strategies for sustainability.  A transcript of the interview is available online .

In the interview, Harris identified numerous positive examples of how organizations can recognize significant savings, both financial and environmental.  However these proposed changes are often be thwarted because of the up-front capital and profound operational change they perhaps involve.

Harris highlighted the over $500M in savings IBM recognized over a five year period by taking applications on 3,900 Wintel servers with low utilization rates of less than 10% and putting them on 33 mainframes with utilization rates of over 80%. This modification allowed the company to cut electricity costs by more than 80%; they cut the square footage required in their data centres by more than 85% and reduced their licensing costs by 99% because they no longer required operating and anti-virus systems on each of those servers.

So why aren’t other companies following suit? Well, Harris suggested that perhaps it is because in companies of this size you are asking the the head of one department to take on all the cost and risk of change while some other department gets the financial benefit.  In this case, the transition of applications would be implemented by IT department and therefore all costs associated with it would come out of that department’s budget.  In addition any risks associated with the conversion, which in one of this magnitude would include loss or corruption of data, breach of security and/or downtime of systems, would also be assumed by this department. What this department would not see however, would be any financial gain that came from the conversion such as electricity savings.  That would go to the facilities department.

So how and why would organizations foster and develop more sustainable business practices.  In his book, The Next Sustainability Wave, Bob Willard focuses on two drivers, 1) a compelling business case and 2) threatening market forces, that are currently igniting the need for change and providing a vision of business success if the transition to sustainable operations is managed properly.

Bob has written numerous books and papers on the business value of corporate sustainability strategies.  On January 17th, 2013, he will be coming to the Peterborough Holiday Inn to discuss the Business Case for Sustainability.  He will be joined by a group of local businesses who will participate in a panel discussion about how sustainable business practices have enhanced their operations. Tickets are available online or by calling Brigid Ayotte at 705-743-0777 ext. 2160

Greening your Business through Energy Conservation

This morning a number of local businesses were brought together by a joint initiative between the Peterborough Business Advisory Centre and Sustainable Peterborough.  The group gathered at the GPA EDC to hear David Whitehouse, Director Corporate & Customer Services/Conservation Officer of Peterborough Utilities and Alex Mortlock from Green Business Peterborough speak about a number of cost saving programs and incentives for small businesses.

Whitehouse spoke to the group on the Small Business Lighting, Retrofit and Peaksaver plus programs.

The Small Business Lighting program provides qualifying businesses up to $1,000 worth of energy efficient lighting and equipment upgrades as well as access to further incentives.  PDI supplies, installs, cleans up and recycles – making it easier for the business owner.  For more information on eligibility visit the saveONenergy website.

The Retrofit program addresses the capital costs associated with investing and participating in a retrofit program. With the Retrofit program businesses can instal energy efficient measures and earn up to 50% of their project costs.  There are a number of financial incentives available to businesses who replace existing equipment and installing new control systems that will improve efficiency of operations.

The program offers three Tracks to conservation,

  • prescriptive
  • engineered
  • custom.

Prescriptive provides you with the ease of selecting from a defined list of end-use measures with a corresponding per/unit incentive, while the engineered track provides a series of preset calculations worksheets that help you estimate reductions in peak demand and/or electricity consumption that apply to the installation of more energy -efficient equipment or solutions.

For those more complex or innovative solutions, not covered in the previously mentioned tracks. there is the custom track.  The custom track evaluates demand and energy performance on technology, equipment and system improvements. Incentives are paid after installation and once the savings have been measured and verified.

Whitehouse noted that the benefits of these programs are that the reduce operating costs, energy, increase occupant comfort and productivity and adds value to property or asset. Many retrofits pay for themselves in under 2 years which represents pure profit to the business.

Alex Mortlock, from Peterborough GreenUp spoke to the group about a recent program launched through Peterborough GreenUp and the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce called Green Business Peterborough. The program will recognize businesses that have pledged or have implemented strategies for waste reduction, energy conservation and/or any form of sustainable business practices.

There are a host of incentives for business owners to become part of the Green Business Program:

  • Recognition on the Green Business Peterborough website
  • Recognition on the Chamber of Commerce website
  • Recognition on the Peterborough GreenUp website
  • Press coverage, promotional events and special recognition
  • Window decals, certificates and promotional materials for your business
  • Green Business Peterborough logo to use in your advertising

This session was the first of a number of sessions being held over the next year to promote sustainable business practices. They fulfill a mandate set forward by Sustainable Peterborough’s Plan for Economic Development in that it provides the business community with concrete tools from which to build or transition to sustainable business practices.

Keep coming back to our website for more information on how you can save through energy conservation!