Archive for December 21st, 2011

As you know, The Sustainable Lawyer (TSL) is constantly on the lookout for law firms and offices that are championing sustainability initiatives and discovering best practices on e-waste recycling and green leases. We don’t want to toot our own horn too much, but the BBA taken steps to increase sustainability in its own right. Naturally, the BBA has been recycling cans, bottles and paper for as long as TSL can remember, but the BBA also:

• Weather stripped the main exit and fire doors
• Offers digital copies of all CLE materials (in addition, if CLE materials exceed a certain size, they are only available in digital form)
• Installed energy efficient lighting in its Claflin, Beacon and Foundation rooms (with the Adams room up next)
• Replaced meeting room windows facing Beacon Street with insulated glass to save heating costs

But, as we all know, there’s always more to be done. That’s why the BBA invited Rise Engineering, the Cranston, RI based energy company and NSTAR sub-contractor, to perform an energy audit. The goal was to see where the BBA could save money on electric and gas bills.

After completing the audit, Rise provided the BBA with an informational booklet that included proposed savings, job costs and the simple payback (how long it will take to earn back the cost of the improvements in energy savings). The suggested improvements primarily involved replacing everyday light fixtures with more energy efficient ones, installing a boiler reset control, and insulating pipes. The big surprise was the effect of changing the lights inside exit signs, which will save more than 8,000 kilowatt hours per year (think about it – exit signs are on 24/7 – so making them more energy efficient can really add up in the long run). The BBA has agreed to accept all of the improvements, which will result in the following savings:

Gas: 412 Therms saved with savings of $618 per year. The payback period is less than 6 months.

Electric/lighting: 4,000 watts saved, 15,896 kilowatt hours saved and $2,336.68 saved per year. The cost of the improvements will be paid back in less than 12 months.

The real kicker is the incentives offered to making energy efficient improvements. As part of NSTAR’s Small Business Solutions Program, the BBA will receive 70% off all labor, materials and recycling costs, which accounts for the short payback periods. The numbers speak for themselves. The energy audit is free, the majority of expenses are incentivized, and in the BBA’s case, the cost of the upgrades will be paid for through savings in energy costs in less than a year. It’s not just about going green anymore. It’s about saving money.

Read Full Post »