Going green program to kick off on Earth Day

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By Carol A. Clark

Greening up Los Alamos is a focus the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce is concentrating on as Earth Day approaches.

The chamber, the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) and the Los Alamos County Environmental Services Division (LACESD) have teamed up to establish “Going Green.”

LACESD’s Tom Nagawiecki, Becky Shankland and additional PEEC members and the chamber’s Kevin Holsapple developed the criteria for the Going Green program and are evaluating applications from businesses and organizations.

The program recognizes local businesses making strides toward sustainable operations and practices.

Implementing Going Green practices earns businesses several thank you perks including a window decal to let customers know the establishment is doing the right things to help the environment.

The program is free to chamber members, who also receive Going Green buttons on their traffic catcher page, a link to the national Going Green network of chamber member businesses and thanks from everyone for their efforts.

“We know businesses are already doing a lot of these things and feel that it is time they are recognized for it,”  Chamber Member Services Coordinator Katy Korkos said.

“We’re hoping to roll out the program beginning on Earth Day, April 24.”

The chamber will have a booth from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Earth Day Festival held at PEEC, 3540 Orange St. This year’s theme, “What a Difference a Decade Makes,” references PEEC’s 10th anniversary.

Questions to help businesses know what they’re already doing right and areas for improvement are detailed in an application/survey on the chamber’s Web site at www.losalamoschamber.com.

The application/survey attaches points to a variety of questions including whether businesses have had energy and water audits performed by the county or a private entity.

Water conservation measures for businesses to think about embracing include installing aerators in faucets, switching to more water-efficient faucets and toilets, installing water efficient landscaping, installing efficient irrigation systems, installing rain barrels and more water efficient dishwasher equipment.

The survey also questions which, if any, energy conservation measures the business or organization has performed in the last three years.

Some energy conservation examples include switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, purchasing energy star certified appliances, increasing insulation, replacing thin windows, increasing education and awareness among employees, installing motion sensing light fixtures and installing programmable thermostats.

For more information, contact Korkos at 661-4816.