Yesterday I attended the SLO Green Awards where MINDBODY was one of six organizations recognized for efforts in making voluntary environmental contribution by SLO Commerce. The MINDBODY offices use 1/4 the electricity of our former space and our new office was built with LEED certification practices including carpet, flooring, counter tops, and other recycled materials, motion sensors for our lights, and without sacrificing a beautiful space to work in. During the meeting we heard speeches from the other award winners and also Hewlett Packard which is one of the largest green companies around.
One of the recurring themes of the luncheon was that consumer practices drive the market more than anything. In the last few years I’ve become more and more aware of my impact on the environment around me. From food choices, to lifestyle and transportation, we all interact with our environment differently. I like the idea of efficient compromises. I’m not going to live in seclusion off the grid and eat only homegrown food every day. Yet, getting my vegetables from a local farm isn’t so difficult, and it supports my community and tastes good, rather than only buying my veggies when I go to the grocery store. That’s a good compromise to me.
This year I continued my personal commute challenge which started in May 2008 and rode my bike to commute to work and around town as much as I could (I used mycyclinglog.com). When it rains, I drive, but how often does it rain in SLO? Every other week I do a driving grocery run as well. I have commuted 1213 miles on my bike this year, which has saved .5 tons of CO2 (or 1000 lbs). This was about 50,000 calories burned, which translates to 11 pounds of fat not gained in 2009. I also calculated my overall footprint with an online calculator (epa.gov and terra pass have great tools). My home usage was about 2800 lbs per year, transportation was about 3000 lbs driving and 8500 lbs flying (gulp). My electricity usage was 1/7 the average single person household, and my total carbon footprint minus flights for work was 30% of the average American household. Yes, I love numbers and spreadsheets. I think it’s all interesting to say the least. I found I could decrease my footprint further by washing my clothes in cold water (1 load per week saves 49 lbs per year), line drying my clothes (330 lbs per year), replacing light bulbs in my house (70 lbs per lightbulb per year), and composting (I just like the feeling of that one, not sure how much it really saves). I already minimize travel, commute by bike, recycle, and have a energy saving refrigerator and washer in my apartment (among other things). How green are you? Have you ever thought about this? Are there any efficient compromises you can make that wouldn’t terribly impact your life? Do you think making a green effort is worth it?