Lawrence’s Sustainability Trailblazers

The World Company and its new website, SunflowerHorizons have partnered with the City of Lawrence, Douglas County, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and KU’s Center for Sustainability to conduct the inaugural Sustainability Trailblazer Competition.

The businesses featured below have nominated themselves as among Douglas County’s sustainability leaders, undertaking projects that enhance their bottom line — as well as the community where we live. They were asked to fill out a detailed questionnaire describing their efforts. In many cases, students from a graduate marketing class on Communicating Sustainability Initiatives taught by Simran Sethi at the KU School of Journalism and Mass Communications actually conducted one-on-one interviews with the businesses to help them fill out their applications.

Lawrence abounds with restaurants, nonprofits, schools, and offices all doing their part to answer the question “What does sustainability mean for us?” They’re serving local food on their menus, changing their light bulbs to CFLs, improving their recycling systems, creating staff “green” teams and more. But sustainability is a path, not a destination. Changing our institutional behavior to more sustainable practices takes both the motivation to change, and good models to follow. On the path to sustainability, We need TRAILBLAZERS. Six organizations were honored as TRAILBLAZERS at the City of Lawrence’s Earth Day Celebration April 16, 2011 in South Park. They're specially noted below.

View Lawrence Sustainability Trailblazers in a full screen map.

Offices

Organizations that are part of a larger entity, or so small as to not have control over many aspects of their sustainability.

KU’s Office of Financial Aid

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
HVAC system has a hibernation mode overnight and on weekends.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
We turn off everything at night — computers, printer, copiers, lights. All light switch plates have reminders to turn off lights. Computers are set to power down and sleep/hibernation after 5 minutes, with an option for 20 minutes, maximum.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We achieved the highest level recognition for KU’s Green Office Certification Program. Our office participates in an annual Green Month focused on educating staff regarding sustainability initiatives at work and home and we increased awareness among staff through educational and sustainable practice implementation. Our office staff shared best practices with other KU offices and with other universities during professional development conferences.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
Our office staff holds an annual local lunch to highlight local food products. We use paper that is 30% Post Consumer Recycled Content and we’ve implemented a scanning system that reduces printing, copying and overall paper usage for all record keeping.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We use a central duplex printer and a multi-function device that allows copy, print, scan and fax, reducing the need for individual electronics. We’ve also set out printer to default to duplex and greyscale. We encourage staff to include in email signature a Green statement requesting that emails not be printed.

Recycles:
Mixed Paper, Newspaper, Chipboard, Cardboard, Aluminum, Steel, Plastic #1 and #2, Glass, Plastic Bags, Phone Books, Batteries, Printer Cartridges

Recycles electronic waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We use surplus furniture, re-purposed from other KU facilities. We also eliminated bottled water usage for our office. Our office kitchen is stocked with re-usable flat and dish-ware, drastically reducing paper goods and we eliminated Styrofoam. We use cloth towels instead of paper towels and have designated one staff member to take then home and clean them.

Prioritizes local, organic or vegetarian food when ordering for events.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

Manages stormwater on their property.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Many things that we wish we could do are somewhat restricted by what KU has the ability to do. Things such as where we get our energy from or purchasing more green products is something we cannot affect easily at the office-level. In an ideal world, KU would be a university leading the way in sustainability efforts and our office, by default, would be a part of that. In addition, however, we think there is always room to improve in areas that we do have control over. We are always looking for ways to train our staff about new opportunities to be green, both in the office and at home. And we are always looking for ways to make our office processes more sustainable.

Golf Course Superintendents Association of America

Has done an energy audit.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
We have an energy management system that shuts down building, and we have control over heating and cooling in all sectors of the building (by wing).

At least some vehicles use alternative fuels.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
We use only local catering companies for meetings with meals and require that they bring in non disposable dishes and cutlery.

Recycles:
We have arranged with Deffenbaugh to pick up recycling on the property. We recycle paper, cans, bottles and electronic equipment. Employees are encouraged to bring their items from home to recycle through the internal system. We have recycling bins throughout the building as well as large ones for Deffenbaugh pick up behind the building.

Recycles electronic waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Water bottles are discouraged and we have filtered water available in the fridge. We have not used Styrofoam for years. We also buy in bulk, and have stopped using cardboard disposable boxes and now use reusable plastic containers for their trade shows.

Prioritizes local, organic or vegetarian food when ordering for events.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Yes, there is a garden on the property with an outdoor picnic area and pond. We’ve turned off the fountain in the pond to save energy. The National Wildlife Federation has a backyard sanctuary program‚ and we are certified through that program. Criteria include habitat for birds, butterflies and water feature.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
The Golf Association of America is an organization of Land Managers of Golf Courses, Superintendents, and those who manage the playing surface to the entire property. In 2006 the GCSAA developed a project to gather a golf course environmental profile. We created a series of five surveys with questions about water, nutrients, pesticides, land use , and energy. Surveys were sent to all 16,000 golf courses and members were invited to participate. The information gathering was completed in the field last year and we are still analyzing two of the surveys. The purpose was to get a base line and defendable data about how the industry operates. From this we identified three areas that we would like to focus on. They are: Water conservation, water quality protection and energy conservation. We recently launched a golf course sustainability effort with other partners in the industry. Our goals are to try to simplify the approach to sustainability, focus on people planet and profit. Our commitment to sustainability is a commitment to continual improvement. We have started to make recommendations in all areas collected and summarized the best management practices in all areas and are offering tools and resources to make advancements in education, research, and on the ground technical improvements. We have been involved in these efforts for 20 years.

Interview conducted by Kimberly McKenna

KU’s Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center — TRAILBLAZER WINNER

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
Recreation Services has been heading up green projects around the building. These green projects include: participating in an Energy Audit, the addition of ReRev, using office products manufactured from 90% recycled materials, using new custodial cleaning products to reduce paper trash and water use, and continued recycling efforts in the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center, outdoor basketball courts and Shenk Field complex.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations (turning off lights, programmable thermostats)?
KU Recreation Services participated in an Energy Audit by Johnson Controls. The purpose of this venture was to identify energy loss, help find ways to decrease energy cost, improve the buildings energy performance, reduce our carbon footprint, and increase comfort though alterative means. The study showed that updating some of our mechanical and electrical systems could have an impact. An example is to add a timer light control system, to use more natural light, and increase the use of solar opportunities for lighting and heating water.

Generating renewable energy on site.

Buying “green tags” that support renewable energy.

At least some vehicles use alternative fuels.

Offers incentives for employees who cycle to work.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
With the help of KU Students, Recreations Services has purchased ReCardio from Sun Quest Renewable Energy. Sun Quest is a renewable energy company which has developed a system called ReCardio. This system converts counterproductive heat into a usable, renewable kinetic heat energy while students perform their regular workout on the Pre Core Elliptical. This student generated energy is then converted to Direct Current (DC) and is sent to the inverter box where it is converted into alternating current (AC); the form of electricity used by homes, businesses and the Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center. A 30-minute workout produces 50 watts of carbon-free electricity. This is enough electricity to power: a laptop computer for one hour, a desktop computer for 30 minutes, and a CFL light bulb for 30 minutes. The electricity can also be used to power Ambler Student Recreation Fitness Center and help reduce the amount of electricity that is purchased from the electric company.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
We prioritize by trying to buy products locally when possible. However, in some instances buying locally-made products is hard to do when dealing with recreational equipment.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
KU Recreation services is reducing waste, water, and gas use in our maintenance and custodial departments by using cleaning products that help reduce water and paper use. KU Recreation Services now uses Envirox, a two in one cleaning solution that uses less water, is petroleum free, and is less toxic for both humans and the environment. This two in one cleaning product allows Recreation Services to purchase one cleaning solution to clean multiple surfaces compared to other cleaning products. In the past, Recreation was purchasing three cleaning solutions to clean multiple surfaces. Along with Envirox, Recreation Services is also using microfiber cleaning towels and mops. These microfibers cleaning products reduce chemical and water consumption by up to 95% compared to traditional mopping techniques. These new cleaning products will help the recreation department reduce the use of disposable paper towels.

Recycles:
Paper, plastic, newspaper, office pack, cartridges, batteries, and cardboard.

Recycles electronic waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
In addition to reducing chemical and water use, Recreation Services is also improving and upgrading the buildings restrooms by installing Automated Touchless dispensing products. This automated system will reduce paper towel waste by 20%. Recreation Services will be making a move to use a coreless tissue system. The coreless tissue paper will reduce packaging waste by 95%. Other efforts that Recreation Services has made to reduce it carbon foot print is with the purchase of a propane weed eater and a Global Electric Motorcars (GEM Car). The propane weed eater runs on propane gas, which uses less gas and oil, emits less harmful emissions, and the propane container can be recycled. With the purchase of GEM Car, Recreation Services will reduce it consumption of gas and reduces the amount of pollutants delivered to the environment.

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Our facility does not participate in the buying and selling of food products. We do offer healthy snack choices in a vending machine.

Conserves water in organization.

Manages stormwater on their property.

Captures rainwater and/or uses grey water in irrigation systems.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

Large organizations

Busineses or groups that control an entire building or buildings.

Lawrence Public Schools — USD 497

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
In addition to conducting several energy audits during the past few years, the Lawrence Public Schools implemented an “education-oriented” energy conservation program in 2003. It is designed specifically for school systems to involve staff in managing energy consumption and generating savings. John Geist, our building services supervisor, continues to educate our staff about the importance of everyday energy-saving measures — turning off lights, unplugging appliances, recycling, etc. Each staff member is expected to participate by doing his/her part to minimize energy waste by following checklists and taking the extra few minutes required before departing a classroom or office to make sure equipment (monitors, local printers, copy machines, speakers, A/V equipent, personal appliances, etc.) is off and/or unplugged.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations (turning off lights, programmable thermostats)?
District energy conservation measures include monitoring utility bills, trimming runtimes on HVAC equipment, purchasing and installing energy efficient windows, lighting, programmable thermostats and equipment, automating the overnight shut down of computers districtwide, and using school breaks for comprehensive shutdowns. All of these measures — by the district and its staff — have enabled the Lawrence Public Schools to realize a cumulative utility cost avoidance of more than $3.4 million. This reflects an energy reduction impact of 191,682 MMBTU or 34,840 equiv. metric tons of CO2. This is equivalent to removing 6,250 passenger cars from use for one year or 891,128 seedlings grown for ten years.

Generating renewable energy on site.

Offers incentives for employees who cycle to work.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
There are a number of school site-based programs that deserve to be highlighted. In 2007, Southwest Junior High earned the Governor’s Renewable Energy Recognition Award from the Kansas Energy Office for providing the school and community a demonstration solar panel system and playing a leadership role in addressing renewable energy in its curriculum. Since its installation that year, Southwest’s Solar4OurSchools (1kW DC) project has avoided 6,360 lbs. of greenhouse gases (CO2) or the equivalent to the energy to power 102 homes for one day or operate a TV set for 31,574 hours. In 2009, Schwegler Elementary principal Jared Comfort received the Governor’s Energy Achievement Recognition Award for Energy Leadership. This award recognized a host of environmental-themed activities planned to celebrate Schwegler’s 50th Anniversary during the 2007-08 school year. In addition to environmental education in the classrooms, Schwegler students sold energy efficient light bulbs and reuseable tote bags as fundraisers. The entire school community participated in an Art for the Sky Project, donning brightly colored T-shirts and performing choreography to mimic fruit and leaves falling to the ground from an “Osage Orange Tree.” Artist-in-Residence Daniel Dancer captured the performance on video from high atop a crane on the school’s playground.

Buildings constructed of sustainable materials.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
Langston Hughes Elementary, opened in 2000, was designed by local GLPM Architects with “green architecture,” using materials and energy in ways that reduce consumption of natural resources. In terms of the selection of materials, its cabinets, for example, are made of Kansas wheat straw molded into panels similar to fiberboard. Even more significant is the use of daylight throughout the building with oversized windows shaded against direct glare and clerestories high on the walls of the school’s large “public” rooms.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Our custodial services staff use recycled products — paper towels, toilet paper and some cleaning products — throughout our buildings.

Recycles:
Our school district works with Deffenbaugh to recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, aluminum, etc. at each of our buildings. Schools encourage their students’ families to use these recycling containers. At New York Elementary, one of our smallest schools with only 200 students, three large recyling containers are filled each week. The school gets the neighborhood involved by sharing information about recylcing with parents, community partners and in the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association Newsletter.

Recycles electronic waste.

Composts food or yard waste.

Offers organic options on menu.

Offers locally-produced options on menu.

Uses soil-conserving and sustainable agriculture practices.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
West Junior High School and its community partner The Merc created a 4,000 square foot garden on the school grounds. In its first year, 2010, the garden produced more than half a ton of food used in the school cafeteria and sold at school markets to community members with 100% of proceeds benefiting the garden project. During the first growing season, the school earned $4,500 on the sale of organic produce. Two Master Gardeners oversee six student gardeners who were interviewed, hired and paid more than $8/hour to tend the garden, especially during the summer months. The school composts food and yard waste for the garden. West Junior High has plans to expand the garden by adding a fruit orchard. The “Growing Food, Growing West” project has inspired other schools to create and/or expand gardens, including Free State High, Central Junior High, Sunset Hill and Hillcrest Elementary Schools.

Conserves water in organization.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
The school district uses aerators on faucets and 1.6 gallon flush valves on toilets. With recent improvements to both high schools’ outdoor athletic facilities and the installation of turf fields, the district has greatly reduced irrigation. Chemicals and fertilizers are no longer used on district properties. Members of the Wakarusa Valley Elementary School community donated funds in October of 2010 for the installation of a solar thermal hot water heating system in the school’s kitchen. This should result in reduced electricity use at Wakarusa Valley and utility cost avoidance for the school district.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Improving student and staff wellness is an important goal of the Lawrence Public Schools. The Lawrence Board of Education offers employees a comprehensive compensation package, including individual health benefits. The Staff Wellness Program is made possible thanks to funding from the district’s health care provider, Conventry Healthcare of Kansas. It includes discounted rates for employee participation in Lawrence Parks and Recreation land, aquatic and dance fitness classes. Some of the times and locations of fitness classes are tailored specifically for district employees. In the fall of 2010, the school district offered free LPRD demonstration classes to encourage employees to enroll in seasonal class offerings. Other excercise options offered through the Staff Wellness Program include participation in Walktober, Walk Kansas and Walk 10,000 Steps. Employees enjoy corporate discounts at local fitness facilities. Free State High has created a cardio room for student and staff use. Hillcrest Elementary works with Body Boutique, a Lawrence Education Achievement Partner, to provide occasional exercise workouts for its staff. Staff Wellness Program coordinator Shelley Lane shares educational information with district employees on an ongoing basis, including promotion of the Kansas Quit (Smoking) Line and a survey to gauge employee interest in a two-session smoking cessation workshop offered by Lawrence Memorial Hospital. The district’s Coordinated School Health Council provides “Wellness Wednesday” healthy lifestyle tips for employees; these are shared via the district’s electonic staff newsletter. Other educational information includes news about Heart Health and National Wear Red Day, the promotion of a free “nurse assist” hotline offered through Coventry Healthcare of Kansas and distribution of a monthly health newsletter, “Wellness Words,” produced by Lawrence Memorial Hospital.In addition, the Staff Wellness Program offers employees an annual health and wellness fair, featuring community vendors, health and wellness education, and the opportunity for blood work, biometric screenings (height, weight, blood pressure and body mass index) and flu shots. Additional flu shot clinics are offered annually to staff and adult family members. Employees may participate at discounted rates in The Merc’s healthy eating and cooking classes and the Weight Watchers at Work program. Employees also may earn a monetary reward for commiting to bicycle to work.The school district’s wellness goals related to students fall into three key areas: nutrition, nutrition education and physical activity. The Lawrence Public Schools’ Coordinated School Health Council (CSHC) provides guidance and oversight of the wellness program.
As a result of nutrition goals, sugared cereals and high-fat, high-sugar items offered as a la carte were removed from the school breakfast and lunch menus. Menus offer reduced-fat salad dressing and a variety of different fruits and vegetables. Current nutrition goals include increasing whole grains, reducing processed foods, reducing sodium content in served foods, offering more local foods, preparing more foods from scratch, and providing menus and nutrition information in Spanish.An ongoing nutrition goal is to encourage foods and beverages served for classroom rewards, parties, snacks and celebrations meet the a la carte guidelines (foods with no more than 4 grams of fat per 100 calories, except nuts or seeds; 9 grams of sugar per 100 calories, except fruit without added sugar; and no more than 200 calories per serving). Additionally, 50% or more of school fundraising activities will NOT involve the sale of food and/or beverages. In the area of nutrition education, Lawrence Public Schools is proud to have a comprehensive health curriculum, aligned with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) Standards for Health Education, provided in grades K-6 and at the secondary level. Each school has a Wellness Committee that functions as the link that connects the district as it seeks to build capacity in this united wellness initiative. These committees will develop and oversee a multi-faceted plan to promote staff and student well-being. Increased physical activity continues to be a focus in our schools. The K-12 physical education curriculum has been aligned with the KSDE Standards for Physical Education. The district recently incorporated another physical education elective, PE Plus!, in the junior high curriculum. In the near future, a committee will convene to study the need for increasing the level of physical education/activity in which students engage. For two years, Lawrence Public Schools have hosted a districtwide wellness event, “LPS On the Move.” During the spring, all schools and support sites are charged with planning a structured wellness event that engages 100% of staff and students in at least 20 minutes of physical activity. As examples, Deerfield Elementary declared a Spirit Day, wore their favorite teams’ colors and took turns walking the perimeter of the school for 20 minutes. Prairie Park Elementary hosted a Walk Out and walked the nature trail around Mary‚ Lake. South Junior High took to its track for sustained walking. Lawrence High challenged students and staff with completing an obstacle course Community partnerships also assist with wellness goals, such as the Get Moving! program sponsored by the Douglas County Community Health Improvement Project. Students track the number of minutes they engage in physical activity outside of the school day and the amount of fruits and vegetables they consume on cards that can be redeemed monthly for swimming and/or bowling pass rewards. Other community partnerships include Kansas Athletics’ “Fun and Fitness with the Jayhawks” and Outside for a Better Inside. Lawrence Parks and Recreation, CHIP, LiveWell Lawrence and the Coordinated School Health Council for the Lawrence Public Schools recently earned the Blue Chip Healthy Community Award co-sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas and Kansas Recreation and Parks Association. The award takes into account all aspects of a community that encourage and support healthy, active lifestyles through programs, initiatives, policies and/or communitywide events. With the award, the Lawrence Public Schools will receive $2,500 to further support efforts related to healthy lifestyles, such as school mini-grants for before- and after-school Marathon and Bicycle Clubs and student intramural leagues.

Ecumenical Christian Ministries

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
Installation of interior storm windows, replacing all singe pane windows with double pane, installation of new highly efficient HVAC (replaced 50 year old system), switched to gas range, installed zone temp. controls, insulation around heating/cooling units.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Recycles:
Cardboard, plastic, metal, newsprint, and we compost food

Recycles electronic waste.

Composts food or yard waste.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We have three gardens that produce food for weekly Veggie Lunch.

Plymouth Congregational Church — TRAILBLAZER WINNER

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
Plymouth changed all its lights to energy efficient bulbs. The building has programmable thermostats. The Church’s sanctuary is not heated when not in use.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations (turning off lights, programmable thermostats)?
The Church utilizes programmable thermostats. Lights are turned off when not needed. Staff and volunteers, with the assistance of Kansas IPL, have coordinated to create a group committed to environmental issues called the Green Team. The Team has four key areas of focus — establishing green practices for building use, educating the community and congregation on environmental issues, advocating for green legislation, and “building faith practices to celebrate the treasure of creation.” One of the Team’s acts was to educate and encourage congregants to participate in Lenten Carbon Fast, in which people fasted from carbon use. The team leader created a blog that laid out specific goals for each day of Lent (e.g., changing light bulbs, reducing junk mail, organizing car trips, and eating meatless), which was sent electronically to participants. The Green Team led a family class called Greening Christmas. Among other activities, team members taught children in the class how to make wrapping paper from the end-rolls obtained from the Lawrence Journal World printing press.

Buying “green tags” that support renewable energy.

Offers incentives for employees who cycle to work.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
There are bike racks available on site. Also, the Church promotes Bike or Walk to Church Month in May or June.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Most of the church furniture is donated and is often used furniture. Low VOC paints are planned for future painting. Energy Star appliances are purchased when replacing appliances. The pilot on the church’s stove is turned off when not in use.

Recycles:
Plymouth recycles paper, aluminum and cardboard. The congregation has moved away from Styrofoam coffee cups to coffee mugs. It has made efforts to dissuade congregants from using Styrofoam during potluck meals.

Recycles electronic waste.

Composts food or yard waste.

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
The Vegetarian Club (comprised of 7th and 8th graders) composts all its food.

Prioritizes local, organic or vegetarian food when ordering for events.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Church events with food always include a vegetarian option. Plymouth is planning a garden dinner. For the garden dinner, members of the congregation plant something in their personal gardens that is later contributed to the dinner. Plymouth has its own “debt-reduction” farmers market on Sunday mornings. Plymouth hosts an annual plant sale. In 2009, the Plant Sale became one part of a larger “Green Festival” at which Plymouth’s Green Team set up booths focused on various environmental issues, including: green landscaping, water conservation, composting and recycling.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Plymouth is planning to use its website to organize carpools. Plymouth donates to: LINC, Habitat for Humanity, Mission Partners, Willow Domestic Violence and Health Care Access, among others. The Church offers use of its building as a venue for charities, meetings, etc. Plymouth’s primary charity is Head Start. Plymouth built an annex to its building so that Head Start would have a home. The Church merely charges Head Start a reduced rental fee. The theology of Plymouth Congregation Church focuses not just on people, but on the Earth. It is a part of the awareness of the congregation and the time we are in — part of the ethical foundations of the Church’s belief system. Plymouth’s Rev Josh Longbottom believes that sustainability is likely the most salient issue within the congregation. According to Rev. Longbottom, the golden rule falls short. Rather, he says, we need to think of humanity’s relationship to the Earth as if we are one whole organism. As he notes, “We are the stewards of Creation.”

Interview conducted by Lainie Decker

Retail

Businesses that’s primary objective is direct delivery of goods and services to consumers.

The Merc — Community Market and Deli — TRAILBLAZER WINNER

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
High efficiency refrigeration rack system. Regular maintenance on coolers: clean out coils, fans, replace gaskets, etc. Reclaimed heat from refrigeration rack (high efficiency model). T8 florescence bulbs. Air curtains. Air lock (built in 2007).

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations (turning off lights, programmable thermostats)?
Turning off lights, computers. Sales floor thermostats are set for optimal cooler efficiency. Pull down curtains on open refrigeration equipment.

Buying “green tags” that support renewable energy.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We use many webinars. Our new van will cut down on multiple vehicles used at one time. We also invite reps and brokers to come to us rather than send many out.

Buildings constructed of sustainable materials.

Has a green building goal, i.e. LEED Certification, for future construction.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

Products sold are sustainably produced.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
Our product standards support locally-made products and local vendors. We're also involved with several events, including the Eat Local Challenge, the Pioneer Event and several others.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
In our 2007 remodel, we used Marmoleum (natural linoleum flooring) for the cafe and customer service area. Our cafe tables are sorghum stocks, while others are bamboo. We used Low VOC paints, and the airlock flooring (carpet tile) is made of recycled tires. We also recycled a giant wall that we demolished in the remodel. Our hand baskets are made in USA from recycled plastic.

Recycles:
We have a storewide recycling program that includes cardboard, plastics, mixed paper, glass and cans. We also are donating vegetable oil to local man for bio-diesel‚ and send our stale bread to a local pig farmer.

Recycles electronic waste.

Composts food or yard waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

Offers discounts to customers using reusable bags or containers.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We've researched air hand dryers and they use so much energy that it didn’t seem beneficial. Our paper towels and toilet paper are 100% recycled. Our take out containers are made from recycled plastic. We had major issues with the compostable take out container concept, but we recycle all unwanted receipts. The water cups in our cafe were replaced with wax coated paper cups‚ and we started using non-disposable plates and cutlery for deli food in 2007. Our class program uses no disposables‚ and the produce department saves Organic boxes for local vendors to use. Our grocery boxes are reused.

Offers organic options on menu.

Offers locally-produced options on menu.

Offers vegetarian options on menu.

Prioritizes local, organic or vegetarian food when ordering for events.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
The Merc has been heavily involved with the West Junior High garden project.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Products produced preserve water quality.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We offer benefits to employees who work at least 30 hours per week and cover 75% of the cost. We pay entry-level workers $8 per hour, but offer benefits on top of that. We also offer an IRA and 401k plan for retirement.

Interview conducted by RaeAnn Handshy

Local Burger

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
We use the heat from the kitchen to heat the customer seating area for 90% of the winter time. We replaced all of our lightbulbs as they went out with compact florescent bulbs about 3 years ago and I think we have only replaced 2 bulbs since we did that.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
Programmable thermostats and compact florescent bulbs.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

Products sold are sustainably produced.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
Definitely! We are always on the search for quality locally produced food and products that are raised, grown or produced in ways that fit within our high standards of sustainability.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We strive to serve food that meets the highest of sustainability standards. Our to-go food is served in bio-degradable biogasse containers and our to-go cups are paper.

Recycles:
Paper, cardboard, chip paper, glass, cans (tin and aluminum), plastics.

Recycles electronic waste.

Composts food or yard waste.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

Offers organic options on menu.

Offers locally-produced options on menu.

Offers vegetarian options on menu.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

Manages stormwater on their property.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We have previously offered health insurance, but there has not been interest until recently. We are looking into healthcare savings accounts and health insurance now.

Interview conducted by RaeAnn Handshy

Free State Brewing Company

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
From the recommendations we’ve received internally we have implemented the use of compact fluorescents and efficient space heating, and have converted older water heaters to enclosed boiler systems. We are currently much more efficient in regard to heat transfer in both the restaurant and the brewing process. In addition, we have implemented a system to recapture heat through an exchanger during the cooling process and use that to heat the water for the next batch. Part of our building is utilizing a recirculating water fan coil system for heating and cooling purposes. This process is more efficient than a standard furnace.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
We have set our HVAC systems to shift significantly during overnight hours. We're extremely conservative with our space heating needs.

Generating renewable energy on site.

Buying “green tags” that support renewable energy.

Offers incentives for employees who cycle to work.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We divert about 30 gallons a week of used fryer oil to individuals who convert the fuel into biodiesel. Our delivery truck is a large diesel vehicle, for which we are actively looking to find an alternative solution.

Buildings constructed of sustainable materials.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
Supporting locally based businesses is a large part of our business practice. We take this into account extensively when purchasing food and selecting vendors for other goods such as t-shirts. All of our bottles at our bottling plant come from Henryetta, Oklahoma which is the closest source of glass production to Lawrence.

Recycles:
We recycle very large amounts of cardboard, paper, glass, etc.

Composts food or yard waste.

Offers discounts to customers using reusable bags or containers.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Most of our food and paper waste is composted. Any napkins, junk mail, newspapers, etc. are processed through a shredder and go into large compost barrels. We transport this waste to a compost site on a daily basis, and have been doing so for about 15 years. The hops from the brewing process are also composted. Finally, the spent grain from the brewing process goes to local farms to be used for livestock feed. We do offer customers reusable bottles. The gallon jugs can be purchased and refilled with beer. Some customers have been re-using the same jugs for 12 to 14 years. We use paper towels in the restrooms, which we believe to be more sustainable than hand dryers that use a lot of energy to operate. In addition, most of our take out containers are compostable.

Offers organic options on menu.

Offers locally-produced options on menu.

Offers vegetarian options on menu.

Uses soil-conserving and sustainable agriculture practices.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We do offer compost for gardeners and spent grain for local farmers. For several years we even had our own tomato garden. We have been a strong supporter of the school gardening projects that took place in Lawrence, and plan to continue to be involved in these projects.

Conserves water in organization.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We have installed a flush system in our toilets in order to reduce the water volume per flush. In addition, we now have aerators on our water faucets, as well as a new technology in our restaurant water system to reduce water waste in our dishwashing.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Free State has been involved in the local food scene in Lawrence since 1974. We have a deep commitment and a deeply engaged value in how we run our business. It's not the most glamorous business — everyone pitches in at every level — but it's a way of life and a way of operating. In addition to offering quality food and beverages to our customers, we want to be sustainable in our operations. We don't want the customer to choose us solely for our sustainability efforts, but we want to make the effort regardless. We want to take a realistic approach to environmental concerns based on science, fact and information. We believe that you can do anything you want, but not everything you want.

Interview conducted by Melissa Kopp

ALL-N-1-Landscape

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
changed light bulbs, turn off lights, passive solar greenhouse, solar thermal outdoor shower. We grow a ton of food so we don't have to drive back and forth to the grocery store, minimize a/c and heating through air sealing, adding insulation, quicker showers, cold showers, turn down hot water heater. We have made many other energy conserving changes. We are considering a ground source heat pump, attic blanket and upgrading windows & doors.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
Turning off lights, quicker showers, cold showers, turn down hot water heater. We use biodiesel fuel and try for efficient routing of maintenance duties and for designer/salesmen. We’ve reduced printing by going toward a paperless office. We have fuel efficient sales vehicles: a honda civic, 1/4 ton toyota, and a very fuel efficient motorcycle. We are even working on a "water powered" fuel cell to run our engines (for trucks, vans, mowers, etc)

Generating renewable energy on site.

Buying “green tags” that support renewable energy.

At least some vehicles use alternative fuels.

Offers incentives for employees who cycle to work.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We promote "relocalized" economy through permaculture and sustainable living/landscaping that totally decreases indirect energy expenditures. Our landscape design/build projects are producing food, fuel, energy, medicine, etc on our client's properties. We sometimes are allowed to incorporate edible landscaping, organic veggie gardens, food forests, passive solar greenhouses, solar thermal hot water heaters, solar ovens, earthen ovens, rain water harvesting systems, green roof landscaping, rain garden drainage solutions, permeable pavers patio/driveways, water conserving sprinkler systems with rain and weather stations, natural building, green building, etc. We are the most sustainable landscaping company around. We got written up in the LJWorld on april 21, 2010. We were also written up in the KC Star "grow section" on april 24, 2008.

Buildings constructed of sustainable materials.

Has a green building goal, i.e. LEED Certification, for future construction.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

Products sold are sustainably produced.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
We own a sustainable/organic/permaculture farm at 3033 Kasold Dr in Lawrence. We built a solar thermal outdoor shower and an outdoor earthen oven out of clay, straw, used glass bottles and reclaimed concrete and lumber. In fact, pretty much everything we build at this location is reused, recycled or built with natural materials found on site. We make our own biodynamic compost, we make our own organic soils; we have a worm farm. We used reclaimed/recycled materials to build a greenhouse and we created our own organic veggie gardens. We grow thousands of pounds of organic veggies each year. We build retaining walls out of the earth using "earth bags". We practice "natural building". We catch the rain and store it and/or use it to water landscaping and gardens. We grade and create swales to passively water our "food forest". We hosted an "advanced permaculture design course" and the "1st annual midwest permaculture convergence" last year. This year, we will bring in world renown permaculture designer Warren Brush, the founder of "Quail Springs Center" in California, to put on another "advanced permaculture design course" on May 17-22. We will also host a "natural building symposium" later in the summer. We install all types of sustainable landscaping projects for our landscaping clients.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Almost everything we do at the farm is to reduce our carbon/petro footprints. You have to see the big picture and culmination of our total efforts. We are on the board of the "sustainability action network". We are on the food garden tour. We are on the permaculture tour. We are becoming "LEED certified". We have 2 "sustainable landscape architects", 1 green builder, and 3 certified permaculture designers on staff.

Recycles:
Everything: waste = food.

Recycles electronic waste.

Composts food or yard waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

Offers discounts to customers using reusable bags or containers.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We compost hundreds of pounds of kitchen scraps and feed kitchen scraps to worms and chickens. We compost grass clippings and leaves. We had 1 of the very highest ratings of "sustainable properties" in Lawrence. We recycle paper, water, used engine oil, fencing, concrete, etc. We are going to print our logos on "reuseable grocery bags" and give them away at The Merc.

Offers organic options on menu.

Offers locally-produced options on menu.

Uses soil-conserving and sustainable agriculture practices.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We produce thousands of pounds of organic veggies and offer them to the public at our farm stand on the county side of the property.

Conserves water in organization.

Captures rainwater and/or uses grey water in irrigation systems.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Products produced preserve water quality.

Products produced preserve water quantity.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Rain harvesting, rain gardens, permeable paver patio/driveways, rain barrels and cisterns, organic lawn treatment programs, biodiesel. We use the well water and rain water to water our veggies.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
What other information about your group or business's efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn't captured above? Corporate gym discount to employees, free "leadership training", free permaculture training, meals on wheels, toys for tots, charity golf tournaments, living wages, healthcare options, the list goes on.

Initiatives

Groups and organizations that are sustainable by virtue of their mission, or who have a mission to improve sustainability in others.

KU’s EcoHawks

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
The building we converted has no HVAC system. When in use, the small appliances —a mini-fridge, stereo, etc. — are powered by solar panels. Our space heater uses KU bio-diesel initiative fuel.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
Our goal is to develop energy conservation in automobiles.

Generating renewable energy on site.

At least some vehicles use alternative fuels.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

Buildings constructed of sustainable materials.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Students are working on competitions that will help develop sustainable product solutions — for the Engineering Expo in Chicago and for a Smart Grid, small scale electrical grid for an EPA competition.

Interview conducted by RaeAnn Handshy

Kansas Land Trust

  • klt.org/
  • 16 East 13th Street
  • 785-749-3297

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
Staff is conscious to turn off lights when not using them. Programmable thermostats are used. Computer monitors are turned off when not in use.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Staff members carpool to land sites and schedules visits and meetings as efficiently as possible. Staff members take advantage of webinars when available.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
Yes, the KLT staff buy local food for events.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Although the offices are rented, the owner of the building used recycled wood to build the floors and windowsills of the building.

Recycles:
Paper is recycled. Print jobs are double-sided.

Recycles electronic waste.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
The KLT staff is working towards reducing the amount of printed materials they use in operations. They are currently moving hard copy records to a searchable digital database.

Prioritizes local, organic or vegetarian food when you’re ordering for events.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Many of the easements that the KLT protects from urban encroachment are farmland. The KLT's mission is to help landowners protect their land, which often includes farmland.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
KLT is dedicated to conserving natural ecosystems, farm and ranch lands and scenic open spaces. KLT works to preserve outdoor recreational opportunities and historic uses of land, which are vital to maintaining the quality of life and economic and environmental well-being of all current and future generations of Kansans. By partnering with the KLT, private property owners can provide for their land's permanent stewardship. According to the KLT, owners can choose to preserve a single special feature on their land, define appropriate limitations on its development, or conserve an entire landscape.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Staff members donate to charities Individually, but not as a group. The KLT partners with other businesses and organizations to do fundraising and educational programs. The KLT is a member of the Lawrence Give Back program. KLT has earned the GuideStar Exchange Seal, signifying that the organization is transparent and proactive in providing information to help its donors make their giving decisions.

Interview conducted by Lainie Decker

Community Living Opportunities — TRAILBLAZER WINNER

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
We have technology settings set to conserve energy on our computers, and our cleaning crews turn off all unnecessary lights. We've also installed motion sensor lights in our restrooms. We installed CFLs in community living homes, but took them out because they broke frequently. We've also set out thermostat settings low with one maintenance regulator.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
We've made efforts at document sharing and are trying to go as paperless as possible.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We've organized carpooling around training travel for employees and board meetings. We also have set up a tele-video system between sites. We use webinars and Skype within our organization and with contractors and outside vendors.

Has a green building goal, i.e. LEED Certification, for future construction.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
Try to use local vendors when possible.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
CLO just recently purchased a farm outside of town called Midnight Farm. The property includes two homes, a 20,000 square foot arena for horseback riding and a greenhouse. A gas well on the property will heat the greenhouse.

Recycles:
The office recycles paper, plastic and aluminum. The recycling is collected and, taken to the Wal-Mart Recycling Center. The Wal-Mart Eco Center is open from 10-8 Monday through Saturday and 10-6 on Sunday. We recycle plastics (translucent #2, color solid #2, #1 plastic bottles and plastic bags), Glass (green, blue, brown and clear), paper (newsprint & magazines, white office paper, mixed paper, chipboard, cardboard and brown paper bags and phone books) and metals (aluminum, tin and steel). CLO employs 14 individuals for recycling programs at the Wal-Mart Recycling Center and a curbside pickup program. Some of these employees are residents with developmental disabilities. Curbside service has 85 residential and 30 commercial customers.

Recycles electronic waste.

Prioritizes local, organic or vegetarian food when ordering for events.

Uses soil-conserving and sustainable agriculture practices.

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Using soil-conservation will be one of the goals at Midnight farm. A horticulturist and volunteers from horticulture groups as well as the local extension office will be employed to evaluate soil and make recommendations regarding the garden.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers healthcare benefits.

Interview conducted by RaeAnn Handshy

Industries

Businesses that create products on a large scale.

Berry Plastics — TRAILBLAZER WINNER

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
Over 5 to 6 years we are retro-fitting our lighting to T5.‚Ä®We're conducting quarterly compressed air audits and have implement compressed air control system. We conduct a weekly evaluation of our electrical usage and have established metrics internally. That's a big component of energy conservation.,We also use hobos — current transducers on equipment — to show energy use over 5 to 7 day periods of time. This enables us to measure single phase draw every minute and record usage.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
We have computer set to auto shutdown if not used after a certain amount of time. We've also installed motion sensors in office areas that are tied to the lighting.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We are constructing a new, additional facility 6 miles west of our current building. The new building will be used for light manufacturing, printing and will dramatically reduce the number of miles driven to transport materials because the current locations are in Kansas City and Topeka. We're working to get to a LEED certifiable design, but we're not sure about applying for certification. We're weighing the costs and benefits of certification vs. investing those funds in additional sustainable design features. A long-term, 20-year lease will allow more innovations such as possibly using a geothermal HVAC system.

Has a green building goal, i.e. LEED Certification, for future construction.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

Products sold are sustainably produced.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?

Recycles:
Paper, plastic wrapping, shrink-wrap, corrugate, skids, pallets, green plastic banding and scraps from plastics in production. We consume some internally or sell it to outside companies to be used in another form of production.

Mulch-mows lawn.

Offers discounts to customers using reusable bags or containers.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
With our customers we have made efforts to reduce the weight of packaging and to re-use packaging. We're also trying to better consolidate the cubic space to reduce the number of truck loads. We've tracked and graphed the total solid waste removed from the facility over the past few years: it's declined. We re-use all plastic byproducts. Excess material and irregular items, for example, are all fed into chipper/grinders that put the plastic back into the system to be processed with new material. There is no waste of the plastic — it is all reused, recycled in-house or sold to recyclers.

Prioritizes local, organic or vegetarian food when ordering for events.

Uses soil-conserving and sustainable agriculture practices.

Conserves water in organization.

Captures rainwater and/or uses grey water in irrigation systems.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Products produced preserve water quality.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
At the new facility we're building, we'll use rain water to fill a 500,000 gallon reservoir to provide for fire suppression services. We use evaporative cooling as part of our manufacturing process. We then recapture, filter and reuse some of that water.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

Interview conducted by RaeAnn Handshy

Minuteman Press

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
Minuteman is implementing all of the audit's recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations (turning off lights, programmable thermostats)?
Minuteman keeps its hot water heater at the lowest setting and turns out all lights when not in use. All light bulbs have been replaced with energy efficient ones. Computer monitors are turned off during the day when they were not in use. At the end of the working day, all computers are turned off completely. Also, all computers are set to the "energy saving" setting. Electrical outlets within Minuteman Press were insulated. The insulation was installed to reduce drafts inside the building and lower the heating/cooling demand. In January 2010, a large energy-inefficient refrigerator was donated to Habitat ReStore and replaced with a smaller, more efficient one. In April 2010, a programmable thermostat was installed. Thermostat settings were increased to 76 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and reduced to 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. On weekends, a thermostat now maintains a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months; a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit is maintained during the summer months. During the summer months, rather than lowering the thermostat settings, ceiling fans are often used to circulate air. Signs were placed throughout Minuteman Press to remind employees to turn out lights when not in use.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

Products sold are sustainably produced.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Minuteman buys used equipment whenever possible. The company switched from petroleum-based inks to soy-based ink, and now uses vegetable-based inks. The initial switch of inks reduced Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) by 22% and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) by 93%, according to air quality tests performed by the State of Kansas Health and Safety Department. Minuteman is now in the process of experimenting with new chemicals and ink to reduce this even more. Minuteman always strives to look for new products that will lessen its environmental impact. Minuteman inventoried all of its chemicals and cleaning products, labeled them all, and got rid of all extraneous chemicals. Minuteman uses all green (non-hazardous) cleaning products. Minuteman offers recycled stock, soy-based inks, and other papers with different environmental attributes. The company reuses boxes and prints on an environmental house sheet.

Recycles:
All paper, glass, plastic, aluminum cans, white stock paper, cardboard, junk mail, newspapers, magazines and polyester printing plates are recycled. In fact, Minuteman recycles 83% of its waste. Minuteman took the extra step of following its waste stream to confirm that it is going to the right places. Our waste goes either to Batliner (mainly paper) or Wal-mart (non-paper). Since implementing our sustainability initiatives, Minuteman now has only two trash bags of waste a week, comprised mainly of food scraps.

Recycles electronic waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
All of Minuteman's computers and electronics are on timers and turn off automatically. Minuteman has invested in software to reduce the number of duplicates and undeliverable addresses in client's mailing lists. Additionally, Minuteman voluntarily uses the National Change of Address database to reduce duplicates and unwanted or undeliverable mail. This process ensures that mailing lists are over 99% deliverable and significantly reduces waste.

Prioritizes local, organic or vegetarian food when ordering for events.

Manages stormwater on their property.

Products produced preserve water quality.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Minuteman limits the chemicals and fertilizers it uses in production, as well as the chemicals used in cleaning products, landscaping, and the salt used on sidewalks. Rainwater capture is a future goal.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Switching from petroleum-based inks has significantly reduced the amount of fumes present at the printing press. Minuteman Invited the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) into the building to perform a safety audit. ‚ OSHA went through the shop and reported everything the shop needed to do to achieve a perfectly safe work environment. As a result, Minuteman's pressroom provides goggles, ear plugs, masks and gloves. Minuteman's presses didn't have safety guards when they were built so the employees built guards for the older presses. Employees routinely document safety meetings. To maintain its SGP certification, Minuteman routinely conducts preventative maintenance for all the processes, safety issues, etc.

Interview conducted by Lainie Decker

Bowersock Mill & Power Company

Has done an energy audit.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
We have added some new insulation and fluorescent lighting. We added light switches so we could turn lights on and off rather than leaving them on all the time. This has helped the usage come down a lot in the last 3 years.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
We have installed energy efficient heat pumps.

Generating renewable energy on site.

At least some vehicles use alternative fuels.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We are currently in a construction phase for our new facility. In an effort to cut down on travel, we are using local construction and engineering firms and frequently use conference calls.

Has a green building goal, i.e. LEED Certification, for future construction.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

Products sold are sustainably produced.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
We try to purchase locally as much as possible, though we don't know how much of what we purchase is manufactured locally. We do our best to help small businesses in the area.

Recycles:
We recycle through Deffenbaugh — paper, glass, cardboard, etc. We also recycle scrap metal.

Recycles electronic waste.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
I see Bowersock as the history and future of energy in Kansas. We were one of the first energy providers, and when every currently operational coal-fired power plant in this state has been retired, we'll still be generating energy with the same equipment here. We exemplify sustainability in that all our equipment is designed to last for hundreds of years. When parts on them break, we just fix the parts and keep moving. We don't rely on fossil fuels to generate our electricity, and we'll be doing it with essentially the same equipment we have here today 100 years from now with very little additional impact.

Conserves water in organization.

Captures rainwater and/or uses grey water in irrigation systems.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

Interview conducted by Melissa Kopp

Deffenbaugh Industries

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

Products made of sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
Thanks to avid recyclers like our customers in Lawrence, we operate a Materials Recovery Facility and recycle tons of plastic, aluminum, paper, and cardboard every month.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We made a conscious decision to bring a much needed service (curbside, co-mingled recycling --- meaning --- put it all in one cart!) to a town in which we offer no other services and to offer the service at a very fair price. We had interest from many residents and answered their interest with a outstanding service offering.

Recycles:
Paper, cardboard, aluminum, and plastic

Recycles electronic waste.

Composts food or yard waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Waste reduction (diversion) is built into many of our pricing models. If you put MORE trash out, you pay MORE. If you put LESS trash out, you pay LESS. We are introducing more and more communities to the joys of curbside recycling which is only natural, as we introduced curbside recycling to the entire Kansas City metro area in 1989. With the area's largest, safest landfill, the Johnson County Landfill, we feel an obligation to ensure that waste is handled responsibly throughout the region.

Conserves water in organization.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
Our truck wash that washes our 300+ truck fleet uses more than 90% recycled water. While that might not sound appetizing, car/truck wash water is some of the worst water (due to the potent soaps and chemicals) so recycling it and reusing it over and over and over is the best thing you can do.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We just opened a free healthcare clinic for our employees on-site this year. The clinic also dispenses free medications for many common illnesses. We have many affordable healthcare options available. We know that healthcare is about choice, and we want to give our employees plenty of choices. With regard to donations, we support many organizations in the communities in which we do business, especially those organizations that have to do with basic needs: food, shelter, clothing. In addition, this weekend we will have more than 50 employees and family members volunteering together at Harvesters food bank for the day.

Government

County and City agencies.

Douglas County Jail

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
Flush control valves in max housing unit allow officers to control how often the toilet can be flushed, which keeps from inmates flooding cells. The County responded to the recommendations that came from a comprehensive energy audit and installed a solar hot water heating system. There is an 8 year estimated payback on the system. Using solar panels to heat some of the facility's hot water saves money and resources.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations?
HVAC regulation Keeping lights and computers off in unused areas. Building has mezzanine lights — don't use due to cost.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

Has a green building goal, i.e. LEED Certification, for future construction.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
We use local food for our kitchen through US Foods, which has a 300 mile radius food sourcing option.

Recycles:
Recycle paper, to CLO Big Blue Recycling Bins — county contracted company. Newspapers, Magazines, Plastic Bottles, Cardboard, Tin Cans from Kitchen also recycled. NO Aluminum on premises.

Recycles electronic waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

Offers locally-produced options on menu.

Offers vegetarian options on menu.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
The Correctional Facility started a garden in an unused space behind the building with the intention of offering an incentive for positive behavior for the offenders housed at the Jail. They used recycled wooden horse fence that was being replaced at a fair grounds to keep the deer away from the garden. They also used a gardening method of covering the ground with Manila paper and rotted hay which held in moisture and eliminates weeding. Labor was provided by several volunteers and the SLUG organization instructed them in gardening methods. Also a couple of work release participants helped out. Seeds and plants were donated from 3 sources last season — a Juvenile detention facility (with whom they have no formal administrative connection) that had a seed growing program, Henry’s farm and the Haskell WPO contributed heritage variety seeds. The project was done with very little investment money from the facility — they only purchased chicken wire, a few hand tools, a hose and a 250 gallon water tank. They do not use a rain barrel at this time. The farm produced 224 lbs of tomatoes during the 2010 growing season.

Conserves water in organization.

Limits chemicals/fertilizers used on property.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
The county commissioners/administrators need to evaluate more sustainability initiatives in our system. The correctional facility is moving to be more sustainable on-site and with offender re-entry — giving tools to for inmates be successful upon release. We would like to prohibit use of water bottles and introduce cleaning products that are more sustainable. Our new hires must serve at Jubilee cafe or Link and we Donate food products that can't be used. Also, our cooks make cookies and donate to nonprofits, like Douglas County Senior Services.

Interview conducted by Kimberly McKenna

K-State Research and Extension Douglas County — TRAILBLAZER WINNER

Has done an energy audit.

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
The audits said we need to upgrade our florescent lighting from T-12 to T-8 ballasts and bulbs, change the few incandescent can lights we have with compact florescent bulbs, weather strip exterior doors, work on water conservation, install programmable thermostats, seal the heating and air conditioning ducts, seal leaks between our ceilings and attic, and put more insulation in the attic. We have started replacing our T-12 ballasts when they burn out to T-8. We have changed our incandescent light bulbs with compact florescent bulbs. We installed aerators in all our sinks. We weather stripped doors that needed to be. We installed programmable thermostats. We have sealed leaks in the ceilings and made some major improvements in sealing the ducts of our heating and air system. We added 10” of natural fiber cellulose in our attic, which should increase the R-value from an estimated R-12 to R-42.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations (turning off lights, programmable thermostats)?
We have our programmable thermostats set to energy saving schedules. We are improving in not turning on lights in a room that is not being used. We are getting close to 100% of our staff turning their computers off at night.

Generating renewable energy on site.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We are increasing the use of conference calls and webinars. We installed a 4.2 kW solar photovoltaic electricity system on our roof to generate some of our own electricity. This was a cooperative effort with the Kansas Energy Office of the KCC. We received a 25% grant for this project. The company we hired to do our energy audit and attic work, ReThink Energy, is educationally minded and is creating videos of the audit and work, which will be used to educate citizens about how they can become more energy efficient. A video was also made of the solar system installation that will be used for educational purposes.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
For some of the meals we prepare, we strive to utilize locally grown food.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We get some of our furniture from the Douglas County used furniture storage shed. When we prepared our ceiling for the insulation project, we utilized 100% of the waste cardboard that came from our solar panel project.

Recycles:
We have had a worm composting bin which uses some table scraps. We have recycling bins for office paper, news paper, tin cans, aluminum, plastic bottles, chip board, batteries, and cardboard. We work with CLO to pick up some of our recycle products, and take the rest to a recycling center. We also worked with Deffenbaugh to do event recycling for the Douglas County Fair.

Recycles electronic waste.

Composts food or yard waste.

Mulch-mows lawn.

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We take our used electronic items (computer equipment) to the Douglas County storage shed, and they take them to a recycling center. We've changed our main copier/printer/fax machine to a new technology that uses cubes of ink (like crayons) instead of powder toner cartridges. This saves quite a bit of packaging waste. We have compost bins in our demonstration gardens. We have changed to using real silverware, glasses, and plates for meals in place of paper and plastic.

Uses soil-conserving and sustainable agriculture practices.

Supports gardening (either on site or in the community).

What other information about your group or business’s food efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We have educational programs and services that promote gardening, through our 4-H horticulture programs and Master Gardener classes. Our on-site gardens use sustainable agriculture practices, and our landscaping utilizes native plants with low water needs.

Conserves water in organization.

Manages stormwater on their property.

Captures rainwater and/or uses grey water in irrigation systems.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We have a demonstration rain garden, rain barrels, and compost bins.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We have instigated morning and afternoon breaks for exercise. Our office manages the Walk Kansas program for Douglas County. We have a grant to work on community Workplace Wellness in our county. We have changed the “culture” at our lunchtime to eating healthy.

Lawrence Transit

Implementing energy audit recommendations.

How is your organization conserving energy in your buildings?
We have a bio-swale, a reflective white roof, a low solar index and lights that turn off automatically. Our efforts were honored recently with a Sustainability Leadership Award.

How is your organization conserving energy in your operations (turning off lights, programmable thermostats)?
As previously mentioned, we have installed automatic lights in our new 13 acre facility.

Generating renewable energy on site.

At least some vehicles use alternative fuels.

Reduces vehicle miles traveled by staff.

What other information about your group or business’s energy efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We have hired contractors to provide energy audit recommendations for our recently constructed administrative facility. This facility was built on 13 acres and is shared with the University of Kansas. We are looking to implement recommendations that are applicable to our budget. The reflective white roof on the new facility has led to a low solar index in our building. We currently have a fleet of 25 buses and over half of them use biodiesel. We will be adding 3 hybrid buses to the fleet in July and hope to add more in the future. Of the three employees in our office, one works half the time from home. A large amount of our communication is done from the office in order to cut down travel and we offer free public transit to employees. We have also greatly improved our bus routes by implementing a centralized fuel station in order to cut dead head (unnecessary) miles.

Buildings constructed of sustainable materials.

Has a green building goal, i.e. LEED Certification, for future construction.

Office furniture and supplies prioritize sustainable materials.

How do you prioritize locally made products?
We try to support local businesses by purchasing from local suppliers when possible.

What other information about your group or business’s materials efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
All of the construction that was done on the 13 acre building was natural and fly-ash was used in the concrete. We are always looking for new ways to do things to become more sustainable in respect to our budget. We cannot get a LEED certification because the university does not use it. We saved $100,000 in furniture costs because all of it was reclaimed. All of our paper products are recyclable and the staff uses hard dishes and utensils in lieu of disposable products.

Recycles:
We recycle all of the paper goods and office products we possibly can. We also recycle our oil and metal products that come from the buses and vehicles.

Has waste-reduction strategies/policies (i.e. default printer settings that reduce ink usage and paper waste, compostable take-out containers, etc.)

What other information about your group or business’s waste efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We are entertaining the idea of implementing a program in which bus fares could be paid for by bringing in a specified amount of recycled goods. This is being done in other cities and is something we would like to see. We print in black and white almost exclusively, as well as using double sided printing, or printing two pages of content per page. We also make a conscious effort to conserve paper by using electronic documents and files whenever possible.

Conserves water in organization.

Manages stormwater on their property.

Discourages purchasing personal water bottles by offering filtered water.

Products produced preserve water quality.

What other information about your group or business’s water efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We conserve water extensively in the way we wash our buses. The process recycles approximately 85-90% of the water used. Our new facility includes a bioswale. We also hope to implement a grey-water capture in the future.

Encourages worksite exercise activities.

Offers worksite stop-smoking or alcohol-abuse support groups.

Offers educational opportunities for employees.

Donates to charitable causes or volunteers.

Offers a living wage to employees ($11.44/hour).

Offers healthcare benefits.

What other information about your group or business’s efforts do you think should be highlighted, or wasn’t captured above?
We encourage participation in the city sponsored wellness program, the Champ Program, as well as the AP Program. There is a “No Smoking” pledge in our health benefit package that can improve the package benefits for those who elect to take it. We offer training programs, software programs, and continuing education programs to employees. We donate substantially to the United Way. The City of Lawrence employees are paid as well as any city in the area and the wage for our drivers is very competitive.

Interview conducted by Melissa Kopp

For the future »

Grasslands conservation program deadline nears

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kansas says Jan. 25 is the deadline to submit applications for the grassland reserve program. ...

For the future »

Support grows for Kansas water policy reforms

The Associated Press Legislators say support is building for Gov. Sam Brownback's proposals to change Kansas policies to conserve the state's water and extend the ...

Research and development »

Bugs may be resistant to genetically modified corn

By Rick Callahan, Associated Press One of the nation's most widely planted crops — a genetically engineered corn plant that makes its own insecticide — ...

Friends of the Kaw »

Happy Holidays from Friends of the Kaw

Thank you to all who gave one of the best gifts to the Kansas River this year – your comments opposing in-river dredging. Hundreds of ...

Making good choices »

Kansas reservoirs filling up with sediment

In this 2007, file photo Frank "Jerry" deNoyelles, KU ecology professor of the Kansas Biological Survey, launches a boat off the banks of Kanopolis Lake southwest of Salina. DeNoyelles is part of a team of researchers that is measuring the silt filling up Kansas reservoirs.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Two federal reservoirs in Kansas have been losing significant amounts of water storage capacity because of sedimentation, according to a study ...

Friends of the Kaw »

Kansas River Water Trail Makes Department of Interior Top 100 List

The America’s Great Outdoors Initiative has been set in motion by President Obama as a way to advance conservation and recreation in the United States. ...

For the future »

Ranch teaches farm to table process

Rock Bottom Ranch in Basalt, Colo., is offering a series of hands-on classes focused on the slaughter and butchering of farm animals.

JANET URQUHART, The Aspen Times BASALT, Colo. - It's one thing to grow a few backyard tomatoes. It's another to raise a pig and serve ...

Friends of the Kaw »

K-State Researchers to Release Kansas River Dredging Study

Dredging operation on the Kansas River owned by Kaw Valley Companies, one of the companies seeking expansion.

Private in-channel dredging operations on rivers like the Kansas River cause deepening and widening of the channel and accelerate erosion of the banks. As a ...

For the future »

Report shows Lawrence meeting goal to lower greenhouse gas emissions

By Chad Lawhorn In the battle against global warming, Lawrence can proclaim it is a good soldier, thus far. A new report from City Hall ...

Friends of the Kaw »

Friends of the Kaw Receives Awards and Focuses on Dredging Concerns

Friends of the Kaw Receives Two Major Awards Patagonia Environmental Grant: Patagonia has awarded Friends of the Kaw a grant for $8,000 dollars in support ...

Making good choices »

Fix-It Chick: Conserve energy by insulating hot-water pipes

By Linda Cottin Hot water loses 2-4 degrees of its heat when left in uninsulated lines. Insulating hot and cold water lines can save energy, ...

For the future »

Apply Today! City and County Launch "Common Ground" Program for Farmers, Gardeners

The City of Lawrence and Douglas County have made 12 sites available for community members to use during the 2012 growing season. The Common Ground ...

For the future »

KC firm helps develop low-cost green housing

KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - A Kansas City architecture firm has teamed up with an area Habitat for Humanity group to develop affordable, green housing ...

For the future »

FACT CHECK: GOP senator gasps for facts on asthma

Dina Cappiello, Associated Press It was a startling claim: Air pollution has no connection to asthma, Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul said on the Senate ...

Friends of the Kaw »

Major Dredging Expansion Threatens Kansas River

Thirteen sand dredging sites on the Kansas River are now up for public comment before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. These sites comprise of ...

For the future »

Businesses hope to increase dredging along Kansas River; environmentalists warn that process is destructive

Several area companies hope to increase the amount of sand and gravel dredged from the Kansas River by 1 million tons per year. But before ...

For the future »

TransCanada says it will reroute planned pipeline

Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Hearing Rally at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center on 14th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue in NW Washington DC on Friday afternoon, 7 October 201

By Grant Schulte, Associated Press LINCOLN, Neb. — Canadian pipeline developer TransCanada will shift the route of its planned oil pipeline out of the environmentally ...

Making good choices »

Free workshop to give tips on weatherization and home energy conservation

Local sustainability advocacy group Transition Kaw Valley will hold a free home energy conservation and weatherization workshop from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday ...

For the future »

US delays massive oil pipeline from Canada

WASHINGTON (AP) The State Department is ordering the developer of a pipeline that would carry oil from western Canada to Texas to reroute it around ...

For the future »

US mulls new route for Canada oil pipeline

Demonstrators against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, protest outside the law offices of Nebraska Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood, in Norfolk, Neb., Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011, while Alex Pourbaix, president of TransCanada Corp.'s energy and oil pipelines, holds a meeting inside with state senators to discuss the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline through the state.

By MATTHEW DALY Associated Press The State Department is considering a plan that would reroute the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada away from ...

For the future »

Local group forming to support a tax on carbon

Most folks want energy costs to go down, so it’s rare to find a group pushing for energy costs to increase. But that’s the intention ...

Research and development »

Renewable energy options to be studied for Farmland Industries site

The former Farmland Industries site on the eastern edge of Lawrence is shown in an aerial photo taken Monday, May 16, 2011.

Federal agencies will spend $35,000 to study how the former Farmland Industries site could one day support the production of renewable energy. On Friday, the ...

Research and development »

Scientists hope to see birth of iceberg

Ben Panzer, a Kansas University PhD student in electrical engineering, works on snow radar equipment in NASA’s DC-8 aircraft as it flies over Pine Island Glacier in West Antarctica. Standing is John Sonntag, Instrument Team Lead for Operation IceBridge.

Radar technology developed at Kansas University is helping NASA scientists track something they’ve never monitored before: the birth of an iceberg. Last month, a crew ...

For the future »

Douglas County investing in long-term sustainability

Upgrades to heating and air-conditioning systems at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center are on pace to save county taxpayers more than $50,000 this year. ...

Making good choices »

Can you tell bottled water from tap?

Lawrence resident Sam Groth signs a pledge to avoid drinking bottled water after taking a taste test to distinguish bottled water from tap on Wednesday at the corner of Ninth and Mass streets. Representatives from Think Outside the Bottle spent part of the afternoon talking with local residents about their drinking choices.

Not all water tastes the same. Or does it? That was the question a group of community organizers were posing to pedestrians on Massachusetts Street ...

Friends of the Kaw »

FOK Annual Dinner & Silent Auction

“Into the Sun – Kaw River” watercolor on paper by local artist and FOK board member Lisa Grossman. Each year Lisa donates one of her Kansas River paintings to the FOK silent auction. This particular watercolor is 8x10” and will be available for bidding during this year’s event.

Friends of the Kaw is hosting the FOK Annual Dinner & Silent Auction on November 17, 2011 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the ...

Making good choices »

Firefighters, medics save energy, thousands of dollars during friendly competition

At  Station #2 at 19th and Massachusetts sits a piece of Lawrence History an American LaFrance pumper and branded it #68 as it came via a box car on the railroad.

By Mark Fagan Turning off lights, computer monitors and treadmills helped Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical trim more than $1,500 from their electric bills during a ...

Making good choices »

Local musician warns of vampire energy through song

Robert Baker isn’t what you’d call an environmentalist. The Lawrence resident is a lifelong musician who was tasked in 2010 with penning the score to ...

Making good choices »

Fix-It Chick: Put a stake through vampire energy-suckers

By Linda Cottin Vampire power is a term coined to describe electrical power wasted by typical household electronics when they are plugged in but not ...

Research and development »

Manhattan, K-State win energy challenge over Lawrence, KU

TOPEKA -- The city of Manhattan and Kansas State University teamed up to win a $100,000 prize by defeating the city of Lawrence and Kansas ...

For the future »

New report provides in-depth analysis of food system in Douglas County area

As a heavy rain falls outside, Douglas County farmer Mark Wulfkuhle, second from right, talks about some of his farming practices at his Rocking H Ranch during the Douglas County Food Policy Council tour of Douglas County farms Friday, Nov. 9, 2010. According to a new report released by the council, there are 1,040 farms in Douglas County, down 36 percent from 1,630 in 1950.

The Douglas County Food Policy Council released a 75-page report today that provided a smorgasbord of information about the food system in Douglas, Jefferson and ...

Research and development »

State makes battle plan for toxic algae

BY CHRISTINE METZ During the past summer, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment tracked toxic blue-green algal blooms in more than 40 lakes and ...

For the future »

Writer calls for better environmental foresight in new book

Bryan Welch

By CHRISTINE METZ In 2007, Bryan Welch nearly killed himself on a twisty mountain road in Oregon. He was on a motorcycle and entering what ...

For the future »

Advocates hope Food Day eventually gains same staying power as Earth Day

Hubbard squash, a plant native to the region, is among the crops being grown by Brett Ramey on the Iowa Reservation near White Cloud. The squash will be used in a variety of dishes this weekend at the Haskell Indian Nations University indigenous food festival. The event is one of many being held over the next week and half in celebration of Food Day.

In spring 1970, at a time when industries could pump and dump practically whatever they wanted into the skies and waters, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson ...

Westar Energy »

Westar begins citywide hookup to smart grid today

John Valdez installs Westar Energy's new SmartStar meters Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011, at the Graystone Apartments in Lawrence.

Starting today, Lawrence will get a little smarter. Well, at least the electric meters in the city will. Westar Energy is beginning the mass installation ...

Making good choices »

Lawrence Electronic Recycling Event, Saturday, October 15th

The City of Lawrence will host an electronic recycling event on Saturday, October 15th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Free State High ...

For the future »

Don't forget: The Homegrown Lawrence Festival starts at 5:30 p.m.

Got Friday night plans? Tonight's Late Night at the Phog, of course, but if you aren't checking out the Jayhawks' first official scrimmage of 2011-2012, ...

Making good choices »

Add a little green to your Jayhawk tailgate

Crowds gathered on the hill near Memorial Stadium to tailgate for Thursday evening's KU football game against K-State.

What’s crimson and blue and green all over? With these tips, we hope it will be this weekend’s tailgate. An 8:15 p.m. start time for ...

For the future »

Pieces of razed buildings find new life at 'clean fill' site

Holli Joyce, stands on the edge of a Kansas City property that borders Interstate 70. Once a 1900s rock quarry, the property is now the site of a clean fill project, which accepts demolition debris with the hope of reusing the material.

Kansas City, Kan. — On a dead-end street in a not-so-nice neighborhood of Kansas City, Kan., a makeshift open air showroom has been set up ...

Making good choices »

Tips for removing leaves the green way

Turner Omelau, 7, left, hides inside a compost bag from his friend Taloa Lena, 6, as the two raked and played in the leaves in front of their houses in East Lawrence, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. The city is encouraging people to compost or mulch leaves rather than burn them or put them in the trash.

We all love the beauty of the changing leaves. What’s less enjoyable is managing them once they fall off the trees. Here are some ways ...

For the future »

Study of possible changes to Lawrence's trash and recycling system creating questions

You thought your trash day was a chore. Lawrence city commissioners are inching closer to their own trash day as a city-appointed task force moves ...

For the future »

EPA administrator job a whole new environment for KU professor

Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks lives in Lawrence and is a Kansas University professor of environmental history. Brooks took on the role of EPA Region 7 administrator in 2010.

Attached to Karl Brooks’ hip is a ringing, buzzing reminder of how much his life has changed in the past year and a half. When ...

Westar Energy »

Westar to offer $100 home energy audit program

Just as the state’s Efficiency Kansas home energy audit program comes to an end, Westar Energy has announced a program that could replace it. Westar ...

Making good choices »

Lawrence writer uncovers homes made from materials destined for the dump

Jessica Kellner, editor of Natural Home and Garden magazine, is pictured on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2011 in the dining area of her Lawrence home. Kellner, who has craftily furnished her own home with many reclaimed items, recently wrote a book about homes made of items that were otherwise destined for the dump.The book is called Housing Reclaimed.

As editor of the Topeka-based magazine Natural, Home & Garden, Jessica Kellner had plenty of stories of families and organizations from across the country who ...

For the future »

Land with historic buildings latest easement for Kansas Land Trust

A 261-acre property in Clay County that houses threatened bird populations and historic structures dating back to pioneer days is the latest piece of land ...

For the future »

Nature advocate inspires Lawrence crowd

Author Richard Louv poses on the dock at the Miramar Reservoir in San Diego Monday June 27, 2005.

In the mind of Richard Louv, the clump of trees at the end of a suburban cul-de-sac is just as important as Yosemite National Park ...

Friends of the Kaw »

Third Annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival

Friends of the Kaw will host the third annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival at 7:00pm on Friday, October 14 at Liberty Hall (646 Massachusetts ...

For the future »

$500,000 grant will help green buses

A $500,000 grant will help “green up” how students in Kansas get to school. Funded through Westar Energy and managed through the Kansas Association for ...

Making good choices »

State honors leaders in sustainability

Across Kansas, businesses, educational institutions and government offices have signed up to become “Green Teams.” Each year, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment recognizes ...

For the future »

Seed money: Homegrown Lawrence Festival raises money to get school gardens growing

Sesha Edie, 5, right, shows her father Brian something she found while playing in the garden while Jessica, left, helps Mira, 2, with a water bucket. Brian is an organizer of the Homegrown Lawrence Festival, Oct. 14. Part of his inspiration for working on the festival, which raises funds to start school gardens, is that Secha will start at public school next year.

How does your garden grow? If you’re a Lawrence school, you grow through grass-roots support. Several student gardens have sprouted up over the past few ...

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