By Alexandra Garcia December 31, 2009

Wendy Deming

Chief of staff, Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice

We’ve created a green team of employees who look at best practices, such as taking used paper to a print shop that turns it into memo pads. All of our printing is double-sided. We installed ceiling fans in all of our offices and motion-sensitive lighting in our restrooms and storage closets. We implemented the FPL audit, installing more efficient light bulbs and putting new tinting on windows to keep the sun’s rays out so we can keep thermostats at 74 degrees instead of 72 degrees.

We put new Energy Star appliances in our kitchen and found out the water cooler uses quite a bit of power, so now our refrigerators have water dispensers. Our water heater is on a timer so when no one is in the building we don’t waste energy. We bought recyclable tote bags for errands. Every desk has a recyclable bin next to it. Employees learn about our program at staff meetings and at orientation. It’s part of our culture here.

James Faix

President, Polaris Property Management

We are a certified green business. We replaced the desktop fax with one that is multifunctional and has a printer, copier and fax machine in one. All of the computers are in sleep mode when not in use, and the lights are turned off when the room is not occupied. We use compact fluorescent lights throughout, have cut back on hot water and set the air conditioning to 80 degrees in order to conserve energy. We donate our used computers and printers when we are finished with them. We cut scrap 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper in half to make scratch pads and print on both sides of the paper whenever possible. Our company car is a Smart Car, which is an ultra-low emission vehicle. All of these things save energy and money for the company.

Lee-En Chung

Founder & President, Ivy Ventures

I reuse paper that is blank on one side and put it in the printer or fax machine. I use only 30 percent to 100 percent recycled paper for my own correspondence and within the company. I print double-sided. My business card is printed on 100 percent tree-free paper, and I pay more for that. I offer to carpool several times a month when I have meetings.

I don’t take anything for granted. Especially with the economic downturn, there are end users who are in need of items and materials that we might just throw away. I save colored and glossy paper that is used in board packets or promotional seminars. I save everything from cardboard rolls from paper towels and toilet paper as well as old newspapers and magazines. I also save bottle caps and wash them. I save fake credit cards, old gift cards and old voided business checks. When I have enough I take them to Girls Inc. in Sarasota so they can use them in their arts and crafts classes. I’ve also taken colored paper to the Tallevast Community Center so the kids could use it for summer art projects.

These sound so quirky, but I think they make a difference.

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