Even with all the publicity, many people still don’t care about the environment. And now with the economic crisis, it has gone to the bottom of the list of concerns. Cutting costs and increasing operational efficiencies are now the top priorities. The good news is that in many cases, by cutting costs, you are making your operation greener.

I am an architect in Brazil and the United States. Coming from Brazil, I was raised with concerns about the environment and the impact of deforestation in the Amazon. My intention is to share ideas with you regarding actions that you can take that can help save the planet, the world and reduce costs —something known as the triple bottom line.
Here are a few examples:

After analyzing its package distribution, a Manhattan financial services company found that it shipped over 70,000 packages by overnight air to Manhattan destinations. They found a local courier that would deliver their packages by 10:30 and do it by walking! They reduced their carbon footprint and saved $1 per package!

Another New York company, First Global Xpress (FGX), helps its customers go green when shipping internationally. CEO Justin Brown explains, “The hub-and-spoke system of major shippers is an environmental nightmare. It just doesn’t make sense to ship something from New York City to the Midwest when London is its final destination. FGX ships direct from New York City to international destinations worldwide, and it does it in a greener, more socially responsible way. Shipping direct cuts carbon emissions by 20-25% per package. Depending on the international destination, the savings could be as much as 50-60%.”

At the PARCEL Forum08, we had the opportunity to take participants on a tour of the JohnsonDiversey distribution center, a 550,000 square foot DC in Wisconsin, which is the largest LEED-certified distribution center in the United States. This DC has earned LEED Gold, one of the highest ratings for environmental leadership. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nationally accepted standard for high performance green buildings that balance environmental responsibility, resource efficiency and the comfort and well-being of the workforce. Their cost for air conditioning this huge DC is nothing. They keep it cool with these huge fans that have blades the size you would see on a helicopter.

The bottom line is that green efforts can reduce costs and improve your bottom line.
Vera Angelico, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP is an architect that has been certified by The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. This is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. She has been a speaker at PARCEL, Mailcom, and the National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment. Vera is currently pursuing her PhD at Rutgers and teaches a graduate course in Sustainable Design. She can be reached at vangelico@aol.com.