LWS: Green at Work!

Published January 12, 2011

Workplace

A Glimpse Inside the LightWave Solar Electric Office

March 10, 2010

Nashville-based LightWave Solar Electric’s conservation efforts in the office, including recycling and composting, are keys to its green success.

LightWave Solar Electric, based in Nashville, TN, has been installing solar electric systems throughout the state since 2006. The company has installed solar panels on houses, apartments, businesses and schools in the area. (Hey, Nashvillians, if you’re craving a cherry limeade, the Sonic on 8th Avenue has solar panels from LightWave Solar.)

It’s safe to say that this business is environmentally conscious, not only in its product, but also in working to reduce its footprint in the office. Here are a few ways the office is staying green.

Recycling

LightWave 1024x768 A Glimpse Inside the LightWave Solar Electric Office

LightWave Solar Electric is installing solar panels throughout Tennessee and implementing recycling practices in its Nashville office.

At LightWave Solar, recycling is easy. A dumpster outside the office accepts “single-stream” recycling, meaning nothing needs to be sorted. You can toss in phone books, cardboard boxes, office paper, plastic bottles, accepted plastics and cans for recycling. This makes it simple inside the office, too, since employees can throw everything together in one bin, and they don’t have to keep three or four bins for recycling. Also, for in-house memos and papers, LightWave employees print on both sides of the paper. This may not sound so impressive, but it does save half the amount of copy paper that would normally be used for printing.

Energy use

All the light bulbs in the office are energy-efficient bulbs. The temperature on the water heater was lowered to save energy at the office. The server that supports LightWave Solar’s website is run by solar power, and soon the entire office will have solar panels to produce clean energy.

Composting

LightWave Solar employees have a place to collect food scraps for composting. There isn’t a compost bin at the office, but two employees at the company compost at home. These employees take turns bringing a gallon jug full of coffee grounds, banana peels, tea bags and other items home to compost.

Employees

The people that work at LightWave Solar share common environmental beliefs. New employees are examined on their experience as well as their values. This company prefers to hire environmentally friendly workers, and more specifically, solar advocates. Two employees here drive hybrid vehicles, and there are two composters, as mentioned above.

What you can do in your office

Other offices can learn a thing or two from LightWave Solar’s simple practices. If you compost at home, bring in a container to collect food scraps in the office. Make sure you bring in a sign to post beside the container listing items that should and should not be composted. Talk to your fellow employees and tell them how much it would mean to you if they took the time to put compostable items inside the container.

If your office doesn’t use energy-efficient lighting, let your boss or office manager know that these bulbs last longer and use less energy (meaning less money on the electric bill) compared to regular bulbs.

If you are recycling at home and your office isn’t (this has happened to me at two of my jobs), bring in a bin to collect recyclables. You’ll be surprised how many people will toss their cans and scrap paper here rather than the trashcan. Take the bin home yourself and add it to your recycling.

Thanks to Steve Johnson, President and founder of LightWave Solar Electric, for taking the time to tell 1-800-RECYCLING about his practices within the office.


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