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Sustainability Resources and Tools

Whether you’re just beginning or far into your sustainability journey, SAGE can help you reach your goals by connecting you with the resources that best suit your needs.

Contact a SAGE Advisor HERE for assistance identifying which resources are best for you. 

 

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There are many simple ways you can use energy efficiently, conserve water, reduce waste, encourage wise transportation choices, and benefit the community through your business. What’s more, doing so will inspire your employees and boost your bottom line by reducing operating costs while improving competitiveness and environmental performance. 

The following resources and tools are organized by sustainability topic:

Conserving energy is one of the easiest ways to reduceoperational costs and see immediate financial returns. Installing energy efficient equipment, adjusting heating and cooling settings, and making changesto operational practices will reduce spending on utilities and  can increaseemployee and customer comfort. Even if you don't own your building there arestill plenty of opportunities to cut energy waste and save money.

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The SAGE Energy Efficiency and Lighting Simple Action Guides are a great place to begin.

Next, consider the following resources and strategies:

Operational tips:

  • Turn off lights when space is unoccupied or when daylight is sufficient
  • Ensure all printer/copiers are switched off or set to sleep mode during non-business hours
  • Install power outlets to reduce energy use and increase efficiency

Get an energy assessment: 

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  • Xcel Energy-Energy and Lighting Assessment: This free assessment identifies ways your business can reduce energy use and costs and provides the flexibility to choose the level of detail you’ll receive from your facility’s energy audit. Learn more about Xcel’s additional financial incentives.
  • United Power-Commercial Energy Audit: This audit provides a detailed analysis of your energy usage and energy saving solutions. If audit recommendations are implemented, United Power will rebate the cost.

Upgrade to high-efficiency, cost-saving lighting and energy equipment

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  • Replace refrigerators more than 10 years old
  • Learn energy saving best practices and tips at ENERGYSTAR
  • Buy energy efficient, Energy Star qualified products or equipment that are equivalent energy conservation certifications
  • Get rebates for energy efficiency equipment and products
  • Improve energy conservation over time with the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool

    Go renewable

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        Hot and dry summers and unpredictable winters makes water conservation an essential activity in the Front Range of Colorado. While water conservation benefits the environment, it can also save your businesses time and money. 

        Start with the SAGE Water Efficiency and Stormwater Simple Action Guides

        Next, take advantage of the following resources and tips.

        Water Conservation Equipment and Actions:

        • Install efficient water devices such as automatic faucets, low-flow toilets, spray nozzles, water-saving showerheads, and efficient waterDrought Icon - Drought Watch.png heaters and water-using appliances.
        • Measure your water usage to detect leaks through tracking your water bill.
        • Educate employees on the importance of water conservation and pollution prevention by promoting water water-efficiency best management practices found in WaterSense at Work

        Outdoor Conservation and Landscaping:

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        • Get a free irrigation and landscape audit: The City provides free outdoor water irrigation inspections that will provide your business with customized recommendations on water efficient landscaping practices, irrigation practices, and additional water reclamation efforts. Contact a SAGE adviser to schedule your assessment. 
        • Quick wins:
          • Use drip and other low-flow irrigation to maximize water infiltration into the soil.
          • Water the landscape in the early morning or overnight to limit water loss to evaporation.
          • Minimize high-maintenance grass and plant drought-resistant plants.
          • Use mulch around plants and trees to retain moisture.
          • Set irrigation system to only water landscaped areas (not walkways and parking areas).
          • Disconnect downspouts to directly water the landscape or lawn.

        Stormwater and pollution prevention: 

        Stormwater is rain or snow melt that flows off roofs, yards, streets and parking lots into streams, lakes, rivers and wetlands, often carrying pollutants. Stormwater is a major threat to water quality in Westminster’s urban areas. Local businesses share in the responsibility of managing stormwater and maintaining filtration and catch basins on their property. 

        Look to the SAGE Stormwater Simple Action Guide and the following actions: 

        • Quick wins:
          • Keep dumpsters and recycling carts covered when not in use.
          • Store hazardous waste indoors or in secure sheds.
          • Have spill response supplies readily available.
          • Install rain gardens in areas of landscape that puddle or flood when it rains.
          • Eliminate use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers as they run-off the land and can contribute to eutrophication 
        • Train employees how to contain spills and report an illicit discharge by calling the Stormwater Hotline at 303-706-3367 or email stormwaterhotline@cityofwestminster.us. Please provide the location, responsible party (if identified), and a description of the source and nature of the illicit discharge.
        • Learn more at the City’s stormwater website 

          By making sustainable resource and disposal choices, your business can cut costs on supplies and raw materials, enhance overall efficiency, lessen your impact on the environment, and convert waste into a valuable product.

          First, consult the Waste Diversion, Waste Reduction, Composting, and Sustainable Purchasing SAGE Simple Action Guides 

          Next, check out the following strategies below:

          Top Actions:

          1. Conduct a Bin audit: Using Eco-Cycle’s Bin Audit Tool, walk through your business, inspect waste containers in different areas of operation, and document your observations. What types of materials are being discarded? Look for areas of high waste, areas such as break rooms and shipping and receiving areas. Are the containers properly labeled? Are they in a convenient location? 
          2. Assess your Waste: Once you've completed your Bin Audit, you'll have the information you need to create your waste reduction plan and prioritize next steps. Contact SAGE to up a FREE waste consultation with Eco-Cycle to better understand and reduce your waste stream. Eco-Cycle offers staff and employee training and engagement programs and green team and sustainability coordinator support. You can also, reach out to a SAGE advisor to schedule a waste training or use the SAGE DIY Waste Assessment
          3. Set up a recycling service and learn about the City’s service offeringsEco-Cycle_logo.jpg
          4. Recycle a pickle jar, create a job: Learn how recycling can create jobs with the Erase the Waste program and access recycling best practices and resources at Recycle Colorado
          5. Dive deeper: Sign-up for an Eco-Cycle waste consultation and access the resources of the "Green Star Business Program" for FREE: expert resource conservation consulting, training and promotion. peer-to-peer support and best practices.

          Waste Reduction:

          Reduction of resources is the most effective way to make a difference in your waste stream and cut expenses. Implement the following actions for immediate wins:

          • Use durable/reusable dishes, mugs and glassware
          • Ensure printers are set to default to double-sided printing
          • Drink tap water instead of bottled water
          • Ask suppliers to reduce their packaging materials in shipments to your business
          • Eliminate single use plastic products such as plastic utensils and straws
          • Buy in bulk to eliminate packaging
          • Buy reusable containers or bottles for condiments instead of single-use packets
          • Consider purchasing “imperfect” produce, i.e., produce with bruises, bumps, discoloration

          The EPA’s Waste Wise program provides resources and recognizes businesses for reducing waste, practicing environmental stewardship, and incorporating sustainable materials management into their waste-handling processes.

          Reuse:

          Repair, resell, rent, and repurpose are all reuse activities. Incorporating "reuse" has huge environmental benefits by extending the life of manufactured products:

          • Use reusable dishware and hand towels in break rooms and kitchens
          • Reuse incoming product packaging such as cardboard boxes and bubble wrap for outgoing shipments
          • Buy durable goods and maintain/repair current products
          • Reuse bags, containers and other items  
          • Borrow or rent items you use infrequently
          • Sell or donate unwanted items instead of throwing them out
          • Buy used items when possible to save money and waste

          Food Waste:

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          Each year, about 40% of the food produced in the United States goes to waste. Food waste and food loss occurs at farms, manufacturers, consumer-facing businesses, and homes. Grocery retailers, restaurants, institutions, and food service providers account for 40% of food waste by weight. Whether it is food leftover on a plate or scraps from prepping for a menu item, there are many opportunities to make changes and cut back waste. This will save food from going to the landfill and will also save money and resources. There are a number of strategies consumer-facing businesses can implement to prevent food waste.

          • Track and manage your food waste: use a log sheet to track which foods get tossed and the reasons why ( i.e. spoilage, over production, etc.) and adjust ordering and production planning to reduce waste
          • Assess your food waste: the EPA’s Food Waste Assessment Tool offers both a Food Waste Assessment and Food Waste Tracking
          • Food Recovery Challenge: participate in this voluntary incentive program to set data-driven goals, implement targeted strategies to reduce wasted food in your operations, and report results to compete for annual recognition from EPA.
          • Donate food to the Denver Food Rescue which repurposes unused food from restaurants, grocery stores, etc. to underserved communities.

          Compost services and best practices:

          • Separate food scraps from the rest of your waste to identify opportunities to better track and prevent food waste.
          • Diverting food scraps from the garbage decreases greenhouse gases from landfill waste while creating a marketable, organic soil remedy that improves the biological, chemical and physical properties of soil. Compost can be used in gardening, landscaping, and agriculture in lieu of using chemical fertilizers.
          • Make sure on-site industrial compost service is provided when offering compostable products/service-ware
          • List of compostable food items
          • List of compost service providers:
          • List of compostable products and service ware

            Hazardous Waste and Hard to Recycle Materials:

            Businesses are legally responsible for knowing if any of their wastes are dangerous and how much they generate. Waste is dangerous when it poses a threat to human health or the environment. Dangerous waste has many forms but can be identified as showing characteristics of ignitability, reactability, explosiveness, corrosiveness and more. Common examples include electronics, batteries and fluorescent lights.

            • General Protocols
              • Label dangerous waste as dangerous waste,flammable, corrosive, toxic or reactive
              • Keep containers closed and use secondarycontainment to prevent spills
              • Know how much dangerous material is kept on siteand the timeframe of accumulation 
              • Look for GreenSeal-approved products that are evaluated and recognized for being lesstoxic
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            • Storing Hazardous Materials
              • Have safety data sheets on file for every type of dangerous material on site
              • Label everything properly
              • Follow warning labels for preventing fires, spills or other hazards
              • Be sure all employees are trained in proper handling, storage and disposal of dangerous materials

            • Disposal:
              • Hazardous Waste : hazardous and dangerous waste should be disposed of through a permitted waste management and recycling facility. It cannot be disposed of in the garbage or in curb-side recycling. Sign up for FREE pick-up here!
              • Hard-to-Recycle Materials: Consult the City’s Hard to Recycle Guide and drop off unusual materials like electronics and plastic bags for recycling and reuse at CHARM Center for Hard to Recycle Materials in Boulder County
            • Reduce hazardous materials: Everyone from manufacturers to retail centers can benefit from eliminating dangerous products. Here are some examples of how to reduce of eliminate your use of hazardous materials
              • Improve efficiency to use a smaller amount of hazardous material
              • Use the EPA’s Safer Choice program to find alternative green products
              • Using technology to replace chemical use (i.e., UV lights in place of chlorine for water treatment)
              • Replace mercury-containing lights with energy efficient LEDs
              • Practice organic landscaping and pest control

            By supporting travel reduction and sustainable transportation programs, you can make a positive difference in the daily lives of your employees, the carbon footprint of your business, and the physical health of the Westminster community.

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            The Transportation Simple Action Guide is a great place to start!

            Next consider the following actions and resources:

            • Promote transit: Employers can provide Eco-Passes which are valid for unlimited rides on all regular RTD bus and light rail service. Employees with an Eco-Pass are five to nine times more likely to ride the bus than employees without one, reducing parking issues and emissions from commuting.

            • Carpool and Vanpool: Employees can split commute costs and reduce emissions by vanpooling and carpooling. WayToGo matches carpool and vanpool riders in the Denver metro area and VanGo offers a Guaranteed Ride Home (GRH) program for members. Commuting Solutions, and Smart Commute Metro North can help your business these and other alternative commute options.

            • Encourage low-carbon and alternative transportation:
              • Make commuting a competition within the workplace and reward employees who bus, bike, or walk to work the most.
              • Provide front-row EV or “carpool only” parking spaces
              • Provide employees with public transportation incentives and directions and carpool incentives

            • Encourage walking and biking and alternative transportation:
              • Provide bicycle parking
              • Participate in bike to work day!
              • Provide showers for employees bikepath.jpg
              • Make commuting a competition within the workplace and reward employees who bus, bike, or walk to work the most.
              • Provide a bike repair stand and toolkit
              • Provide front-row EV or “carpool only” parking spaces

            • Telework: Sign-up for a FREE consultation on how to create, set-up, and communicate your telework policies. Telework Tomorrow helps employers continue expanded telework practices, offering resources and guidance, including an implementation toolkit complete with policy templates and company announcement materials. 

            • Go electric:

            Check out the City’s Transportation & Mobility Webpage for details on transportation and mobility resources, information and plans. 

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            Tap into the expertise and resources of economic development organizations and the local business community. In doing so, you can build your business’ resilience, grow your support system, and open doors to collaboration opportunities that can economically benefit and develop your business. The following are recommended economic development resources and organizations:

            • Westminster Economic Development: The city provides hands-on business assistance, advising, and grants.

            • Westminster Chamber:WestyChamber-logo-2.jpgThe Chamber works to continuously improve the business climate and build opportunities for growth in Westminster and surrounding areas. We accomplish this through programs focused on advocacy, economic development, events, and direct services to our members.

            Connect with local groups, non-profits, and organizations to give back to and benefit the local community and grow connections that can facilitate innovative relationships, projects, and collaborative opportunities.

            Start with the SAGE Social and Community Simple Action Guide then pursue the following opportunities: 

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            • Best for Colorado: Best for Colorado program serves as the hub for corporate social responsibility for businesses throughout the state. It allows companies to network with other mission-driven businesses and share their sustainability journey. Improve practices, connect with participating companies and receive free resources by becoming Best for Colorado today!

            • Volunteer with the City: Identify volunteer opportunities for your business and employees to invest to see the diverse impact you can have on the City organization and community.

            • Adopt-A-Street: Support the beauty and cleanliness of the Westminster community by becoming a steward of a local street.

            • Growing Home: This supports strong families and thriving communities by providing services that Strengthen Families, Nurture Children, and Connect Community.

            • Westminster Legacy Foundation: The Foundation works to close funding gaps that would not otherwise be met in the areas of basic needs, conservation, and arts and culture, with a focus on projects that that give all Westminster citizens the opportunities they need to thrive. As wlfoundation_web-logo.png a business donor, the Foundation provides you with  flexible means of making gifts and bequests to support the charitable causes that you care for most.

            • Rotary Club: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

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            The design and efficiency of your business' structure is essential in reducing utility bills, carbon emissions, and providing an enjoyable space for your employees and or tenants. Check out the following resources below to learn about standards, best-practices, and resources for making your structure more energy efficient:

            • Build Green: Get certified and recognized for building to world-class energy and health standards. Adhering to the LEED and  PassiveHouse and Green Globes standards showcases your commitment to green building while with the WELL program you can prioritize health and safety of employees and customers.

            • Build New, Build Better: Xcel Energy’s Business New Construction Energy Efficiency Buildings program helps ensure you can qualify for rebates for the energy-efficient equipment you incorporate into your additions, major renovations and new construction projects. Access Xcel's full new building and construction programs here!

            • Net Zero Buildings: The Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) provides insights and guides on how to achieve net zero energy buildings. 

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             See below for guides and resources organized by business sector:

            Additional Resources

            Environmental Compliance

            • If you see a spill of unknown material, or containers of unknown liquid, call the City at (303)658-4360 or report to the State here
            • Register complaints, code infractions, and other nusiance reports with the City here
            • The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) provides assistance on environmental compliance and regulations as part of their Small Business Assistance Program

            Pollution Prevention: The Colorado Green Business program provides assistance and support in making Colorado business more sustainable through increasing efficiency and reducing waste. The Program can support your efforts to prevent pollution. Pollution prevention (P2) is any strategy that reduces or eliminates waste at the source by preventing it from occurring in the first place. P2 includes reducing the use of energy, water. This reduces the waste that needs to be managed through recycling, reuse, treatment, or disposal.

            Air Quality: Simple Steps. Better Air. is a public awareness and outreach program created by the Regional Air Quality Council to educate residents in the greater Denver Metropolitan area about ground-level ozone pollution and actions to improve air quality. 

            CONTACT SAGE

            Email SAGE@cityofwestminster.us or call 303-658-2662 to set up an advising session, get your questions answered, and to provide comments.  

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