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Telling your sustainability story

Telling your sustainability storyAs the focus on sustainability gathers steam, government agencies at all levels are getting in on the act. While some stakeholders may argue with a decision to go green, few will protest moves that save taxpayer money.

That’s why government agencies often wish to make stakeholders aware of these budget-friendly, future-focused decisions—especially the stakeholders who control the purse strings! Cost-saving innovations will often attract media attention, which is a great start. To help keep this message in front of stakeholders, we’ve pulled together a few ideas you can use to tell your sustainability story:

  • Hybrid vehicles: If your department(s) or agency is switching to hybrid vehicles as a budget-friendly, green alternative to traditional vehicles, take the lead from the Burrough of Westwood, NJ in showcasing the potential cost-savings. According to New Jersey Municipalities, the Burrough of Westwood police department’s shift to a hybrid patrol vehicle in 2007 was expected to save the community at least $20,000 per year in gasoline costs.  Keep your budget-friendly investment top-of-mind by creating a hybrid vehicle savings chart on your agency’s website. Encourage residents to check it out by adding your logo and website URL to Corner View Frames, which can be added to each hybrid car in the fleet.
  • Motor conversion programs: Perhaps your municipality is converting motors to gain additional efficiency at a wastewater treatment plant. That’s what the City of Clearwater, Fla., began undertaking in 2008. In the Wastewater Treatment Plant’s report detailing the conversion project, the city projected it will save more than $100,000 per year on the project—and 30,000 gallons of fossil fuels. Showcase the savings—along with water conservation tips to save homeowners money—by highlighting savings achieved on Flat Flex Magnets and inserting them in water bills.
  • New construction: When building a new 1.1 million square-foot campus in Research Triangle Park, NC, in 2002, the Environmental Protection Agency designed its structures to earn LEED Silver Certification. Compared to existing buildings, the projected life cycle cost savings over 30 years would be $138 million. If your agency is building a LEED-certified structure, or undertaking significant renovations that will make it more energy-efficient, consider planning an open house to showcase the features and benefits of the new facility. Staff will look and feel smart in Bamboo Polos for both men and women. Also distribute Recycled Fashion Totes to encourage guests to take home information and tips for making their homes or businesses more energy-efficient.
  • Small changes. Big savings: Even if your activities are primarily focused on smaller projects like swapping out incandescent light bulbs for fluorescent or LCD bulbs, you can still highlight the savings and inspire stakeholder groups to join the effort. At an annual ‘State of the Agency,’ highlight your sustainability efforts with a ‘By the Numbers’ report that shows how many bulbs were swapped out in the last year, cost savings to-date and projected savings over the next decade. Hand out Baby Bend—Lightbulb pencils with information sheets showcasing how much a homeowner can save by following the agency’s lead and changing light bulbs.

Sustain your story-telling
The move toward energy-efficient, sustainable solutions has the potential to save your agency precious resources for years to come. As the savings accumulate, you’ll have more good news to share. Continue to draw attention to your sustainability initiatives by telling your story again and again.

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