“Environmental sustainability” no longer is a new concept and by now, the refrain has become familiar. To save energy in your home, use a programmable thermostat, switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and be sure that your home has proper insulation. These tips are standard practices and an excellent starting point for Hilliard residents looking to be more sustainable without taking out a second mortgage.
The cost-benefit equation becomes more complex when you are spending taxpayer money to operate large public buildings. Lighting upgrades easily can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
This is one of the difficulties the Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission faced when looking at ways to help the city operate its facilities more efficiently. To help with this challenge, the ESC teamed up with local software developer JadeTrack in the spring of 2016.
Using JadeTrack software, we now are able to view a live data stream that shows the “real-time” electricity and natural gas usage at the municipal building, the community center and senior center, the Hilliard Family Aquatics Center and tower lights at the baseball and softball fields in Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park.
The collected data help Hilliard in two very important ways.
First, the data allow us to be able to determine the payback period of energy-efficiency projects so the city of Hilliard can be an effective steward of taxpayer funds. Having this data also provides us with a baseline to judge the effectiveness of those upgrades. As an example of this process, later this spring, all of the lights at the community center and senior center will be upgraded to more efficient models. Using the data we have collected and the known energy requirements of the new fixtures, energy-cost savings from this project should result in a payback period of fewer than five years. The data that are produced after the upgrades will provide the proof and help us to be more accurate in projecting future projects.
The second way that having live data helps us is that we can immediately identify anomalies in energy usage. JadeTrack notifies the city of unusual use patterns and then we try to determine the cause so that the situation can be rectified if necessary. Sometimes the cause is innocuous; for example, a spike in usage one Saturday at the community center turned out to be the result of a Zumba class that cranked up the air conditioning. Other times, these energy-usage spikes can be the result of inefficient equipment or someone forgetting to set the thermostats back for the weekend.
Use of the JadeTrack software already is yielding results for the city. It is making us more efficient in both our energy use and our utility spending. That is good for our environmental footprint and our wallet.
Please check out the live data that are being displayed on wall monitors at the municipal building and the community center. The data also soon will be available on GoGreen-Hilliard.com. The ESC is developing reference information to help residents understand the data.
Pete Marsh is chairman of the Hilliard Environmental Sustainability Commission.
Originally published in Columbus Business First by Carrie Ghose
A sustainability startup that helps large facilities reduce energy bills through behavioral changes rather than expensive equipment upgrades doubled its sales in 2016 with hopes to do so again this year.
JadeTrack LLC, which started with Central Ohio school districts as its first clients, has grown to 35 clients throughout Ohio including the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Cincinnati Public Schools and providing the City of Columbus’ GreenSpot certification program. Revenue figures aren’t disclosed.
“Our goal is to keep doubling up as much as we can,” founder and CEO Ryan Prestel said. “We want to strategically grow this outside of our core market in Columbus, (but) a lot of the cool stuff happening with (Columbus) Smart Cities ( initiative) is going to drive a lot of growth too.”
Prestel spun the company out of Marysville-based Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. in 2011 and launched the software four years ago. JadeTrack monitors clients’ utility bills and real-time sensors of water, gas and electricity usage – automating the process to plan and quantify savings from changes such as programming thermostats and timing lights.
Olentangy Local Schools has saved $1 million over two years, Prestel said, and a network of physician practices can lower its electric bills by 70 percent just by changing how it shuts down buildings after hours.
“It has absolutely been easier to implement in the public sector than the private sector to date,” Prestel said. “It’s starting to shift a little.”
JadeTrack also has opened new sales opportunities by teaming up with heating-cooling companies and other contractors, who use the software to help their clients achieve savings that then can be applied to installing more energy-efficient equipment – and programming it correctly. So far it has four resellers.
“We look at these partner networks as a way to scale quickly,” Prestel said.
The company has grown to nine people from two in 2015. It’s housed at Rev1 Ventures in Columbus.
Carrie Ghose covers health care, startups and technology for Columbus Business First.
ATLANTA, GA AND COLUMBUS, OH — January 18, 2017 — Urjanet, the leading global provider of automated utility data, today announced a partnership with JadeTrack, a sustainability management software platform. Urjanet will provide customer utility bill data to JadeTrack for import into its energy management, sustainability and ESG reporting platform. Leveraging Urjanet’s extensive utility data network, JadeTrack will use data provided by Urjanet to enhance the performance of its platform and generate unique insights at the intersection of real-time and historical utility data.
JadeTrack integrates real-time monitoring and analytics for energy efficiency and sustainability program management. JadeTrack provides a platform for leadership organizations to track, manage and conserve resources including energy, water, waste and carbon emissions. JadeTrack is used by clients across manufacturing, government, education and real estate verticals to manage costs, improve reporting on sustainability impacts, and optimize investments in energy efficiency. Prior to Urjanet, JadeTrack managed utility bill data manually, a time-intensive process for customers that diverted resources away from critical sustainability priorities.
“Urjanet’s powerful technology will quickly resolve the biggest complaint we’ve heard from customers who otherwise love our platform: the painful work of processing data from utility bills to glean actionable insights,” says Ryan Prestel, CEO at JadeTrack. “By integrating automated feeds of our customers’ bill data from Urjanet with our real-time data, our platform produces more valuable insights than ever before.”
Urjanet’s cloud-based platform automatically collects and processes utility data as soon as it is made available by utilities, providing customers with a single feed of their utility bill data from thousands of separate utility accounts. Urjanet provides a comprehensive set of data points covering usage, cost and tariffs in a standardized format, which can easily be used in analytics and reporting systems. Urjanet provides data from more than 3,700 electric, gas, water and waste utilities across North America, Europe, and Asia.
“JadeTrack’s platform is making a real difference in helping clients understand their resource usage and costs, providing significant value through thorough data analysis,” says Sanjoy Malik, CEO at Urjanet. “Urjanet is proud to enable powerful new insights for JadeTrack’s clients while removing barriers to accessing utility bill data.”
Originally written by Kelly Stincer at Tech Ohio.
Most companies understand that making small changes in how they use energy could save them big money and make a positive impact on the environment. The problem is that most don’t know how much electricity, gas and water they’re using until the monthly bill arrives. JadeTrack in Columbus, Ohio, allows businesses to track their energy usage and identify inefficiencies before they become costly problems.
“Real-time data provides better visibility of energy usage, creating accountability for organizations and helping them to identify savings opportunities that they never knew existed,” said Ryan Prestel, CEO of JadeTrack. “Making changes prompted by the JadeTrack system can save a company millions of dollars long-term, and also decrease energy consumption helping to reduce its carbon footprint.”
JadeTrack offers users access to a cloud-based platform to monitor how much energy their facilities are using at any time. They receive alerts when there are opportunities to cut back, and simple reports show trends in energy consumption along with actionable information to help users save.
The platform helped a central Ohio school district save nearly one million dollars in the first two years without a major capital improvement project. JadeTrack allowed Olentangy Schools to identify areas for savings, including a malfunctioning dishwasher that was running 24/7, wasting both water and money.
The concept for JadeTrack started six years ago when Prestel developed an energy software solution for The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, a Fortune 1000 lawn care company. Prestel worked with a team to capture key sustainability metrics, trying to solve the problem using complicated spreadsheets and legacy IT programs. He saw the need for a solution that provided reliable data in a simple format.
While developing the concept, Prestel went to work for the startup CallCopy to develop performance optimization software for call centers. Inspired by the startup culture, he started JadeTrack, which is housed in the business incubator at Rev1 Ventures, a central Ohio partner of Ohio Third Frontier. So far the company has sold the energy and sustainability platform to 25 customers including schools, local governments and corporations such as Scotts Miracle-Gro and The Wendy’s Company.
“Our product is delivering results, and we are aggressively working to continue its improvement,” said Prestel. “We are adding additional automation and functionality to give users more information that they can take action on.”
Prestel says Columbus’ startup community has been extremely supportive of JadeTrack as they continue to advance the technology. The network has enabled him to reach out to prospective customers, entrepreneurial mentors and large corporations that have given the company direction on how to move forward.
“We have a very diverse pool of potential clients in Columbus, ranging from retail to corporate to government,” said Prestel. “Startup mentorship programs in central Ohio have helped JadeTrack capitalize on opportunities, while corporate partners have provided insightful feedback to help us create the best product possible, better serve our customers and continue to grow.”
(Columbus, Ohio) – JadeTrack, with a software product of the same name, announces today they are teaming up with the City of Hilliard to enable real-time monitoring and management of the City’s various sustainability initiatives.
JadeTrack delivers a technology solution that enables organizations to combine and correlate operational and fiscal performance data in order to maximize the value of sustainability, while also reducing operational costs.
As part of the City’s commitment to sustainability, and in celebration of its annual Earth Day event, JadeTrack has deployed its real-time sustainability management technology to monitor electricity and gas consumption at Hilliard’s Municipal Building, Community and Senior Center, the Municipal Park Pool, and Ball Fields.
Pete Marsh of Hilliard’s Environmental Sustainability Commission (ESC), “with Jade Track’s real-time monitoring and dashboard, the city will gain a much clearer picture of how we are using natural resources and energy at our facilities. It will also provide us with the ability to monitor and quantify the results of our efforts to reduce our use of critical resources more accurately than we ever could have before. Transparency is of the highest importance and so by making this information easily accessible to the public, they will be able to see first-hand the results of our work.
Ryan Prestel of JadeTrack states “This is a great opportunity for JadeTrack. It is exciting to see the leadership position the City of Hilliard is taking on sustainability. We’re thrilled about the impact this project will have on our company and our extended community.”
Cradle to Cradle design represents possibly the utmost in sustainability. This design protocol mimics natural systems in an attempt to go beyond simply reducing negative environmental impact and create a positive environmental impact.
Cradle to Cradle design is the brainchild of architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart. In their 2002 book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, they outline the concept of thinking like nature. The natural world has no waste and doesn’t damage itself because everything is reabsorbed in a healthful way. These design principles make it possible for us to achieve the same state with manmade goods. This idea depends on the reusing of materials and the impact those materials have on the environment. All materials should biodegrade efficiently or be continuously reusable, like how glass can be recycled forever. On their website they describe it as valuing “materials as nutrients for safe, continuous cycling” and maintaining “continuous flows of biological and technical nutrients.”
This delicious design protocol is taking its hold, and we’ll show you two examples. Furniture supplier Herman Miller began designing new office chairs using these design principles by replacing the PVC in the arm pads with thermoplastic urethane, TPU, which is a polyurethane substance specifically designed to meet complex construction demands with a primary focus on a sustainable lifecycle. Shaw Industries creates floorings, including carpets, with reused materials that can continue to be reused, resulting in a closed-loop cycle.
As with all sustainable initiatives, you enjoy the co-benefits of a clean conscience and reduced business costs. You also create an excellent competitive advantage and get a foothold in a new, exciting market of businesses wishing to partner with other businesses using Cradle to Cradle design and creating more sustainable products.
MDBC offers workshops for teaching Cradle to Cradle design principles.
They also offer a partnership with interested business owners to tailor design strategies to each individual business.
Certifications exist for Cradle to Cradle sustainable products so customers and investors can be informed. There are five certifications ranging from Basic to Platinum, and you can find out more about them on the MBDC website.
The most efficient way to run your business, whether you are concerned about the environment or your pocket book, is through upcycling your business’ waste. Optimally, there should be no such thing as waste, because your source materials should be used for many things throughout their lifecycle. You originally purchase a material to make a product, then you use leftover material or byproducts as fuel or to create something new. If you don’t have any use for the material yourself, there are many other businesses who might have a high demand for it. You get multiple uses from one purchase, don’t pay to send waste to the landfill, and make money from another business wanting to purchase your business’ waste. This is “waste as a resource.”
Everyone knows about recycling and reusing a material so a new material doesn’t have to be made. Typically, the material degrades each time it is recycled and becomes less useful throughout its lifecycle until it eventually has no use at all. Upcycling is very similar to recycling except you are using a material for a completely different purpose that extends and increases its value.
According to Reliable Prosperity, “Only about 6% of the vast flow of materials generated by Americans, more than a million pounds per person per year, ends up in final products — and only 2% survives after a few weeks.”
We can be making much better use of our source materials and our money with upcycling initiatives.
Businesses can use by-products from their manufacturing processes for other things. You can generate fuel from waste products to sustainably power your business or use waste materials from one manufacturing process to be the source material for another process.
Ford describes their resource-saving strategy on their website, “Between 30 and 40 percent of a typical aluminum coil is turned into scrap during the stamping process. This will now be recycled into new metal for our trucks using the closed-loop system.”
Many waste materials can’t be used by the business itself, but another business may have a high demand for it. You run your business and send your waste and byproducts to one or more businesses that need it.
A brewery might send worms and composting material to a greenhouse.
This is such a valuable proposition that people have started creating eco-parks which helps business owners create the most sustainable supply chains. Some take the form of physical business groupings who benefit from each other’s processes. Others connect virtually, located in separate places but share resources among themselves for mutual benefit. It mirrors a symbiotic relationship in nature.
The brewery and the greenhouse may both send materials to a renewable energy producer who then provides energy to both businesses.
Together, the businesses collectively generate zero waste. While any such relationship is beneficial, the eco-parks where the businesses are located in close proximity to each other provide the maximum benefit because the costs and environmental footprint of shipping waste materials is brought to a minimum.
Upcycling is so big that the city of Austin has created an online database of waste materials generated by Austin businesses to encourage upcycling as part of its 90% landfill diversion by 2040 goal. The database, the Austin Materials Marketplace, features “materials available” and “materials wanted” sections for businesses to communicate their needs with others. According to the AMM website, “As of February 2016, participants have saved or created $75,000 through marketplace activities.”
Zero waste is a term that describes the coveted status of running a business that, put in oversimplified terms, produces no waste. Producing no waste serves both the environment and a business owner’s wallet.
To achieve “zero waste” status, a business will likely do one or all of the following:
The best zero waste policy will reduce the amount of resources and pollutants involved in the production of materials and aid waste diversion by lessening the amount of materials that go into landfills. Below, you can find out how many of the largest companies have reached their zero waste goals.
RB is the company responsible for Lysol, Clearasil, Woolite, Veet, and more. All of their facilities in Europe and North America send zero manufacturing waste to landfills, and 74% of their overall facilities have reached zero waste status.
On their website they say, “We are creating a culture of zero waste and crowdsource waste reuse and recycling ideas that deliver alternative revenue streams and disposal options. For example, our Nowy Dwor site in Poland has turned water from the water treatment plant into organic fertilizer.”
According to their website, Unilever has kept all of the non-hazardous waste from their over 600 facilities from going to a landfill. They go to great lengths to eliminate waste at the source by using less packaging and according to waste360, they also manage waste by inventory management, composting, creating animal feed, recycling packaging, and generating biodiesel fuel. According to Unilever, its waste diversion efforts have resulted in $225 million in savings while boosting social enterprise projects and jobs.
Ford was one of the first in achieving zero-waste-to-landfill goals in individual plants, and they have reduced their overall landfill usage per vehicle by 50% in the last five years. One of their most exciting plans is described on their website, “In 2014, we implemented closed-loop recycling processes as part of the manufacture of the all-new Ford F‑150. Through these programs, described in more detail in a case study, we return production scraps of aluminum and seat fabric directly to suppliers to be recycled into new material. Between 30 and 40 percent of a typical aluminum coil is turned into scrap during the stamping process. This will now be recycled into new metal for our trucks using the closed-loop system.”
They also employ this five step action plan:
“Five Key Actions
Invest – Continue investing in new technologies and programs that minimize waste
Standardize – Standardize how waste is tracked and sorted at each point to make recycling and reuse easier
Identify – Identify the five largest-volume waste sources of waste-to-landfill at each facility
Partner – Partner with suppliers to increase the use of eco-friendly packaging
Enable – Enable local plants to affect waste management change”
GM generated $2.5 billion in revenue between 2007 and 2010 through various recycling activities. One example seen at Pontiac Metal Center in Michigan resulted in the generation of $7.5 million in recycling revenue, including metals, in 2011 alone. Much of the money generated from recycling is also put right back into research and development of clean-energy technology and product innovation.
They reached zero waste to landfill status in 2009 and worked hard to maintain it. In their 2015 Sustainability Report, Ellen Iobst was quoted, “Achieving zero waste to landfill was difficult, but even more challenging is maintaining zero waste to landfill,” said Ellen Iobst, chief sustainability officer and senior vice president, supply chain. “This accomplishment requires creativity, innovation and tenacity from people who are passionate about environmental stewardship. We are proud of our workforce’s efforts to maximize our impact while minimizing our footprint.”
They made a similar comment in their 2014 Sustainability Report found on their website, “In the end, I hope you agree that sustaining a sustainability program over the long haul – as market conditions change – can only be done through exceptional creativity and persistence from committed employees who are passionate about their mission. We are fortunate to have employees like that and this report is a testament to their efforts.”
We applaud all of the organizations who are taking on this challenge and we love Ford’s philosophy on the topic… “Ford pursues ZWTLF as an important component of being a green and sustainable company,” Czich says. “We measure the success to Ford and the environment by the amount of waste diverted from landfills. The reduction of future liabilities that result from landfilled wastes is an additional benefit resulting from ZWTLF initiatives.” For the full article talking about Ford and Zero Waste To Landfill initiatives, click this link.
Integrated reporting and an increase in companies choosing to lead with sustainability is creating momentum for greater adoption of standards…that is, a single source of standards. However, until a time such as that happens, it is good to understand the scope and emphasis of the standards that are out there, and how and when they are applicable to your business. There are many standards bodies; GRI, SASB, CDP, DJSI, FTSE. If corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting is your desired goal, GRI and SASB can be a powerful combination. GRI G4 and SASB are important sustainability reporting guidelines that help you efficiently measure your adherence to your CSR goals and to share that information with interested parties. They make it possible for figures in sustainability reporting to be easily understood and compared by all who read them.
GRI and SASB guidelines address the same issue: The reporting of information pertaining to sustainability. They both also aim to simplify this reporting by focusing on the material business figures that have the greatest impact.
GRI or Global Reporting Initiative
SASB or Sustainability Accounting Standards Board
While GRI and SASB require a little training upfront, they make internal decision-making and information sharing much easier and more rewarding because they focus on the material factors that provide the most concrete and actionable results.
We have all of these grand visions of doing good and improving our business, but we can go about it in unstructured and difficult-to-communicate ways that hinder both our philanthropic and financial success. With GRI and SASB’s carefully planned guidelines, you can more intelligently tackle your goals and communicate your successes to stakeholders.
GRI’s G4 guidelines seem pretty complicated, so they provide plenty of help.
GRI offers an introductory workshop https://www.globalreporting.org/services/preparation/Introductory_Workshops/Pages/default.aspx
and a transparency program to guide you through your first reporting cycle –
Go to the Using SASB page to learn about implementing their reporting guidelines.
Did you know that remodeling is greener than building a new home? By considering green remodeling of your existing home you have already taken an important step toward a more sustainable home. You may have many doubts. You may think that if you don’t fix every problem, you haven’t really “gone green,” or that you have to spend a lot of money to make the greener choices. Every step you take is important. As far as money goes, environmentally-friendly materials do often cost more initially than their competition, but that gets less true every day and the initial cost is often negated by future savings. So, don’t sweat it. Simply consider the many green remodeling options available and do the ones that make the most sense to you.
During the deconstruction process of a home, many materials become available for use in other homes. You can find flooring, moulding, tiles, and much more. Not only are you reusing something old instead of purchasing new, but you are preventing something from going to the landfill. This is a fun and exciting way to do the right thing, though it takes longer than simply going to a store and choosing from the newest selections. This method is cheaper and more fun than buying new for those with the time and patience to use it.
You have probably seen the wealth of space-utilizing upgrades and remodels that are taking over the internet. Well, this is an excellent use for that trend. Instead of adding on a new room and using a lot of materials to do it, you can make the space you already have much more open and usable with smaller, less drastic remodels. One of the most common ideas I see floating around is to use a staircase for added storage space. People make cubbies between the steps or in the space underneath just like it’s an extra closet. This could take the place of a closet, bookcase, or other large items in your home used for storage. Pocket doors and extra shelving space built into existing cabinets can also make your home feel much roomier. Find out more here: http://www.boredpanda.com/efficient-space-saving-design/
So you absolutely require another room? Instead of building out and putting more of a toll on the environment, add the room above.
Here is an example from This Old House:
Consider how much space you really need, not just how much you want. After all, truly eco-friendly means using as few new materials, and creating as little waste, as possible. “A lot of people think their house has to be big enough for a Super Bowl party, even if they’ll never use the space except for that one event,” says Michele. To add just two small bedrooms, a second bathroom, and a modest study/library, she and Michael chose to bump up the attic, raising the roof by a mere 6 feet and leaving the house’s footprint intact.
Energy-efficient and water-saving appliances, low-flow toilets and faucets, and more can make a big dent in your bills and your resource usage. These items get cheaper and easier to find every day. Bear in mind though, if you don’t have to replace your old appliances and plumbing, there may be other ways to make more efficient use of the ones you already have. A faucet aerator, for instance, can make your existing faucet much more efficient for very little cost and no unnecessary landfill additions.
Passive solar design is a method using very old techniques to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home naturally. The sun is already heating your home, every day. The shade also keeps your home cool. Your home can waste this opportunity or take full advantage of it, and passive solar design aims to make sure you can take advantage of it. You can add additional windows, choose concrete floors, use brick walls and plaster, add an awning, or plant a shade tree. It can get a little complicated because there is a sort of science to it, so consult a professional to help you make the most efficient choices. It may require very little change, which is excellent for cost and the environment, but you want it to be done correctly to really give you the benefits you want.
When remodeling, products are going into the home and being manufactured to go into the home. What are they, and how do they affect the environment? Look into this and choose greener options for a significant impact. Choose authentic linoleum rather than vinyl or wood flooring from renewable sources such as bamboo rather than non-renewable sources. Use water-based paints and paints with low or no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). If you want or need carpeted floors, pick a carpet that has been made with recycled or natural materials
If your windows need replacing, select one of the new greener options. If there is nothing wrong with your windows other than the fact that they aren’t “green” enough, it is probably best to stick with the ones you have. You could add a storm window to your existing window rather than purchase a new one, which reduces your demand on new products. Also, one of the benefits of new windows is the low-E tempering that is done today, but you get much of that same effect by purchasing a special window film for this purpose.
The REGREEN residential remodeling program offers an excellent tool on their website. Select the project you want completed, the problems you want addressed, and the stage of your project for tips specific to your needs.
Green remodeling doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive deal. All you really must do is to inform yourself of your options and make the best decision available to you. Every step you take makes an important difference. It may be that you could make very small changes and have a big impact, or you may discover something that improves your remodeling plans in other ways.