A couple of my co-workers and I recently checked in with AVMA Budget Director Kim Michael-Lee to get an update on what the AVMA is doing to benefit the environment. AVMA started using recycled office paper a while back (it’s both environmentally friendly and cheaper, it turns out!), and we wondered what other eco-friendly efforts might be afoot. Boy, did we get a surprise – a list too long for me to write about in one sitting! So this is just the first installment in a three-part series outlining the AVMA’s recent efforts to “go green.”
The AVMA’s headquarters building in Schaumburg, Ill., has undergone some renovations in recent years, including lighting upgrades, remodeling of washrooms and resurfacing of our parking lot. In all of these efforts, our facilities staff has looked for – and found – ways to be more friendly to the environment.
Here are some of the ways in which our renovations have been kind to planet Earth:
- Parking Lot: 100% of the old asphalt was sent out to be recycled into new asphalt when we had to rebuild the parking lot last year.
- Plumbing: All restroom fixtures are being brought up to today’s standard of low-flow toilets and sinks during our ongoing restroom renovations.
- Construction: During reconstruction of the restrooms, all of the old steel partitions, metal studs, copper piping, brass valves and old wiring are being recycled. Old light fixtures are reused or recycled as needed.
- Painting: All painting at AVMA headquarters is done using low- or no-VOC paints, which reduces emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the environment.
- Lighting: Did you know that every time we upgrade a 2-foot by 4-foot light fixture, we cut our electrical usage by half? AVMA is working to upgrade all of the lighting in our headquarters building. The core of the building is complete, including most areas occupied by AVMA offices; the leased areas of the building are being done as they become available. Also, when we do these upgrades, we install lighting occupancy switches, which turn off the lights when no one is around. These switches also will be installed in all offices as time and budget allows. (Meanwhile, I, for one, always turn off my office lights when I leave for meetings or go home for the day.)
- Outdoor Signage: We have converted the big American Veterinary Medical Association sign on the face of our building from neon lighting to LEDs, cutting the sign’s electrical usage by 77%.