When you think about environmentalism, you don’t ordinarily think of big, corporate America. Nine times out of ten, you think of a smoke-filled field with dreadlocked teenagers dancing around to Jerry Garcia. Believe it or not, under that hippie exterior, Jerry Garcia was a keen business man – a corporate entrepreneur through and through. The man even designed neck ties. The lesson? Looks can be deceiving. Just as a hippie icon like Jerry Garcia can be a corporate success story, big business can let its inner hippie out to play from time to time, and when truly BIG business does this, the impact can be staggering.
Take the Willis Tower in Chicago, for example. It’s one of the largest office buildings in the world, with enough floor space to cover more than 77 football fields. In 2009, the property owners asked high-profile tenants Bank of America and United Airlines to lend a hand in their new green initiative. When all was said and done, the Tower was able to conserve approximately 150,000 barrels of oil every year. THAT’S a carbon footprint reduction!
Then there’s the Renaissance Center – the pride of Detroit. In an effort to lessen their environmental impact, the Renaissance Center’s property management company asked high-profile tenants General Motors, Marriott Hotels and Blue Cross Blue Shield to assist in pursuing an official EnergyStar rating for the property. The massive office complex began to employ tactics such as using river water for the cooling system, implementing automatic lighting controls and installing a green roof in order to bring the energy consumption of the 5.6 million square-foot monolith under control.
When big business leads the way, as it apparently has been doing, there can be an enormous positive impact on any regional environmental initiative. Have a look at these other industry-led campaigns that are resulting in a cleaner environment.
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