Here at NRPA headquarters, we’re invested in supporting the Three Pillars of Conservation, Health and Wellness and Social Equity. We go to great lengths to communicate that commitment to you, our members and beyond, in hopes that solidarity will encourage you and your agencies to undertake projects and promises that also support the Three Pillars in your communities. But, as we all know, it’s sometimes complicated to convey our impact to the residents and leaders of the areas we serve.
NRPA was fortunate to have a great opportunity to do just that at the recently held Green Business Challenge Awards, where we took home the competition’s highest honor of Platinum Certification.
The Green Business Challenge encourages Loudoun County, Virginia-based companies to implement more efficient and sustainable practices. Participation also demonstrates leadership, creating a healthier work environment for employees and minimizing the environmental impact organizations have on their communities. NRPA’s efforts in these areas during the past year were recognized before an audience of our peers October 29 when we were selected as the winner of the Commercial Business Category, besting three other finalists: Verizon, Ayrshire Farms (a working, certified organic local farm that produces a variety of goods) and the Catoctin Creek Distilling Company. Also, in achieving Platinum Certification, NRPA improved over its 2013 showing, when we achieved Gold Certification.
Five categories are in play for the award: education and outreach, energy, water, waste and transportation.
Here’s a snapshot of what NRPA did, and continues to do, to garner this significant accolade:
Energy: NRPA Director of Facilities and Administrative Services Ted Mattingly took pains to upgrade many aspects of our offices, including installing more LED lighting and optimizing performances of heating and cooling systems.
Education and Outreach: Education is a major part of what we do here at NRPA, as evidenced by the almost 300 education sessions at this year’s conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as ongoing professional development opportunities, the Parks Build Community initiative and in-house events designed to inform and engage NRPA staff. Of course, our Earth Week activities were a major highlight here at HQ, affording NRPA staff opportunities to “walk the walk” and give back to the community.
Water: Once again, Ted led the way by undertaking an audit to identify ways to further reduce our water consumption and eliminating all bleach-based cleaning products from our building.
Waste: Although recycling is already a regular practice at NRPA, we took even greater strides to divert trash from our landfills by packing zero-waste lunches!
Transportation: Carpooling to and from work, as well as to and from lunch breaks, helped to reduce the number of staff trips during the day.
As we look to 2015, NRPA is committed to continuing these important initiatives, as well as supporting our members who strive to do the same. Keep us updated about green practices in your community! Leave a comment below, tweet us, or post to our Facebook page with your stories. Together, we can continue to advance the Three Pillars and make 2015 the greenest yet!