LJWorld Green

Chamber creates ‘green’ task force

Group hopes to reward businesses following checklist

September 14, 2008

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Grow Green Checklist ( .PDF )

LJWorld.com/Green

Welcome to our ongoing project, LJWorld.com/Green. Here you can find tips on how to make your life environmentally friendly and read stories about what others in the community are doing to live a more green lifestyle. Eat local, conserve resources, be green.

When it comes to business, green is the new black. And the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce is hoping more companies will catch on to the trend.

Last week, the chamber launched its Grow Green Checklist, which details 30 steps businesses can take to be more eco-friendly.

They are as simple as eliminating unnecessary paper use and as elaborate as planting drought-tolerant ground cover and shrubs to increase water efficiency.

Businesses - even those not affiliated with the chamber - can earn a special designation for implementing at least 20 of the suggestions on the checklist. Businesses also can include steps not on the list that they are taking to be more environmentally friendly.

Along with the checklist, the chamber formed the Grow Green Task Force, a 15- to 20-member board focusing on green issues.

"You hear about the Portland, Oregons, and San Franciscoes that are taking these great initiatives and making great strides in energy conservation. We thought, 'Why not Lawrence, Kansas?' We've got to start somewhere, and that is what we came up with, is the Grow Green Task Force," said Adam Handshy, who is the chamber's program and project coordinator.

The Grow Green Checklist was narrowed down from more than 100 items. The checklist focuses on recycling and waste reduction, energy conservation and pollution prevention.

The organization selected green measures - such as using refillable containers and permanent ware in break rooms rather than disposable products - that would be relatively easy to apply in the business world, Handshy said.

The goal is to have businesses lessen their environmental impact.

"It's an ever-growing concern and a problem that is not going to go away from here on out," Handshy said. "So why not get involved and try to make a difference just to try to be a greener community."

Comments

Jackson 6 years, 9 months ago

Are the "Greenies" concerned about the 8 astroturf fields and concrete parking proposed by Dist. 497 administration & School board?That will raise both the temperature of LHS & Freestate school grounds, but also of the neighborhood.

SettingTheRecordStraight 6 years, 9 months ago

This green fad might have made some headway with reasonable thinkers in our society had it not been highjacked by the Earth Liberation Front/Sierra Club types on the far left. Now I'm much more apt to just ignore everything associated with this once-promising trend. Too bad.

nobody1793 6 years, 9 months ago

"Are the "Greenies" concerned about the 8 astroturf fields and concrete parking proposed by Dist. 497 administration & School board?That will raise both the temperature of LHS & Freestate school grounds, but also of the neighborhood."There are pros and cons: Astroturf doesn't require watering or fertilizer, or dirty mower engines. And the shade of green of the astroturf will determine how much light is reflected and how much is converted to surface heat. I don't know how much recycled material goes into the partcular astroturf being considered. Would there be concrete parking lots anyway if the fields are grass, and does that influence the question. I suppose you'd have to sit down and do all the complicated life-cycle calculations to objectively determine what is actually better.

pace 6 years, 9 months ago

Good for them, a few simple things can be done. Doing something is better than doing nothing. I don't criticize a beginning because they they are building a bridge rather than asking why weren't they born on the other side of the river. Here is a place that smart people can reduce pollution and save energy and money but keep up with how the world is changing. Smart.

malehrman 6 years, 9 months ago

"This green fad might have made some headway with reasonable thinkers in our society had it not been highjacked by the Earth Liberation Front/Sierra Club types on the far left."I've always thought that the Earth Liberation Front and Sierra Club have been promoting "green" living for many years. The rest of us are just now catching on to the importance. So the popularity of this "once-promising trend" seems more like everyone else has hijacked it from the ELF/Sierra Club.I would agree with ASBESTOS that "symbolism is more important than substance" in many cases where companies claim to be "going green" (see: auto manufacturers for a prime example), but there is also quite a bit of good being done.Nothing will be "sustainable" overnight and no action is or ever will be completely "sustainable." Making better decisions based on the knowledge of both the benefits and consequences of our actions is what is important.

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

Emulate Portland and San Francisco? No wonder the Chamber is losing members. Has the City totally emasculated the Chamber? Sure sounds like it. Too bad the new commission is as business unfriendly as the previous commission.

Ken Lassman 6 years, 9 months ago

The Chamber's baby steps, like a real toddler, should be celebrated. Time will tell if it learns how to walk, or whether this is a greenwashing with no substance behind it. I also see no problem with asking those hard questions that ASBESTOS asked about the apparent cover-up of the brownfields. I certainly can both congratulate the Chamber for taking gestures that shows that it is willing to enter the 21st Century and look toward being helpful to its members in terms of making the shift toward more sustainable businesses (we are WAY behind Overland Park, KC, MO and other cities around the country) while at the same time asking for more information about the brownfield cleanups in the area. They could actually learn a lot from member companies whose attitudes are lightyears ahead of the Chamber as an organization.What I'd like to see is the Chamber setting up a taskforce to attract green businesses to this area, including developing a commercial zoning area that promotes community supported agriculture.

nobody1793 6 years, 9 months ago

"It will happen and it will involve GREENbacks."What is the exchange rate for those and Lawrence "REAL" dollars?

ASBESTOS 6 years, 9 months ago

This "green" stufff is waering a little thin and ringing very hollow. First off this is the "Chamber of Commerce" we are talking about, the minute it becomes cool or marketable for a city they will throw this under the bus in a minute. Second, is this the same Chamber of Commerce that has members that hold the opinion that asbestos is not a problem, and that older contaminated sites do not have to be cleaned up, just change the useage, ala Farmland, and EPA's misguided "Brownfield Program"? Like leaving pollution in the ground and changing use is a good and green thing. How does having recycling containers and changing to CFL lights and riding your bicycle to work offset all the problems with asbestos in buildings in Kansas (and a lot in Lawrence) that are just ignored, and the "Brownfield" change use applications that usually result in polution coming into the building via "vapor intrusion"?With this "rush to Green" symbolism rules over substance. Take Greensburg for instance, EPA and KDHE ignored the Asbestos problems, and burned the debris containing asbestos in a pit, it was not segregated, recycled or reuses, and the carbon foot print of burning an entire towns buildings for no energy gain and to "make the asbestos problem go away" makes that process Far very far from green.. In several other Storms areas the debris was not handled properly either.From the KDHE page: http://kdheks.gov/news/web_archives/2008/06132008a.htmIn June the news release suggests that buildings after 1980 do not have asbestos, however EPA made them change their misleading statment; "*Correction 8/25/08: In the news release above, there is reference to the year 1980 that implies that construction and building materials containing asbestos were not used after that time. This implication is incorrect, asbestos can actually still be found in some building materials today."The point being is you can't go "Green" until you have taken care of the "Brown".Green may be new, cool and in, but the brown issues are laws, and cities and the Chamber of Commerce need to folow existing environmental laws for public health, before we get wrapped around the axxe handle abut changing light bulbs or putting in receyling tubs.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

The Sierra Club is not a far-left radical organization, in my view.If you ignore reasonable ideas to preserve the environment because of perceived radicals, that doesn't seem very reasonable to me.We are already seeing many ways in which our unthinking pollution/destruction of the natural environment creates problems for us as well.Let's all be mindful of our use/abuse of the planet and the precious natural resources it affords us.

Ragingbear 6 years, 9 months ago

~~This "green" stufff is waering a little thin and ringing very hollow. First off this is the "Chamber of Commerce" we are talking about, the minute it becomes cool or marketable for a city they will throw this under the bus in a minute.~~Don't be silly.... The T is getting shut down. How are they supposed to throw anything under it?

pace 6 years, 9 months ago

Hawk your idea of green is a very good example of how education should be part of any green action . While it is true many modern practices are pretty dirty, pooping into a hole in the ground is not one of the modern ways of reducing waste. Maybe you should read up, and then lol you might try to think. Good for the chamber. The heavy industries in town had a nice surprise when they decided to look at ways to reduce pollution and waste. They were successful and saved money.

Water 6 years, 9 months ago

Every summer for 10 years now, I've noticed shops on Mass street prop open their front door, allowing chilly air conditioned air to spill out across the sidewalk. Does this cold air really draw in enough potential customers to increase sales enough to offset the increase in their electric bill? Don't they realize it disgusts some potential customers who then don't shop there? It's economical, it's "Green".....it's just sensible.....shut the door.

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