While there are numerous go green resources already available to the public, the Indianapolis Bar Association recognizes that attorneys and law firms face unique challenges to going green. There is no one-size-fits all approach to going green and it is the goal of the IndyBar's Go Green Committee to help attorneys and firms to develop strategies that work for them.
About the Go Green Committee
The IndyBar's Go Green committee operates as a sub-committee of the Young Lawyers Division. This committee has spearheaded several local volunteer events and is undertaking various initiatives to guide attorneys and firms to be more environmentally conscious in their daily lives. Do you want to get involved, or do you have an idea to share? Contact committee co-chairs Laurie Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sarah MacGill at email@example.com.
The IndyBar Green Legal Initiative
To encourage Indy legal professionals to go green, the Green Legal Initiative has been developed by the Go Green Committee. This initiative encourages legal businesses, including law practices, legal departments, courts, agencies, legal support services and other members of the community to commit and engage in environmentally responsible business operations.
After committing to engage in "greener" habits, Green Legal Initiative Members will be recognized by the IndyBar at the annual Recognition Luncheon and on the IndyBar website, and will also be provided with the Green Legal logo for print and electronic use when promoting their commitment to green business practices.
Becoming a Green Legal Initiative Member is easy! Just review the documents below and submit your application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go Green Tips
As a service to the bar, the Go Green Committee provides periodic tips in the IndyBar's e-Bulletin electronic newsletter. These tips can also be found below.
With spring's arrival, it's time to tune up that bicycle and bike to work! Indy sports a plethora of safe bike paths to use commuting downtown by bicycle, including the Monon and the White River Parkway, which links up with the Central Canal Towpath near the IMA. Also, the City installed miles of bike paths on surface streets in 2011. Once downtown, the Indy Bike Hub YMCA, located in the City Market, is a great place to leave your bike for the day. The Indy Bike Hub contains a safe indoor parking area, as well as locker rooms, showers, full service bicycle shop and full service fitness center. Thus, it has never been easier to get a full morning workout in Indianapolis, while at the same time avoiding burning four dollar per gallon gasoline. Click here for a map of Indy’s bike trails.
Save up to $75 in energy costs per computer with these simple tips: Put screen savers to rest. Screen savers do not save energy, may actually cause a computer to use more energy, or prevent it from entering sleep mode. Leave remote worries behind. If you need 24/7 remote access, you can still utilize monitor power management features, if it is not possible to remotely “wake” your computer from standby or hibernate mode. Shut down outdated power myths. Frequent shut downs shouldn’t harm your computer, and the small surge of power created when devices are turned on is vastly smaller than the energy used by running the device when it is not needed. Know your notebook. Notebook computers use less energy than desktops, but standby and hibernate features still reduce power draw significantly.
Be sensible about water consumption. Only one percent of all water on the planet is available for humans. Therefore, we must work together to protect our supply. Try to purchase fixtures and products that are water efficient. When you go shopping, look for the WaterSense labels to find water efficient products. WaterSense is an EPA Partnership Program. Try to run the dishwasher in your office (or home) only when it's full. Don't pre-rinse dishes - tests show pre-rinsing doesn't improve dishwasher cleaning, and you'll save as much as 20 gallons of water per load. When you buy a new dishwasher, look for one that saves water. Water-efficient models use only about only about 4 gallons per wash.
Did you know you can recycle steel and aluminum beverage and food cans, empty aerosol cans, glass, #1 and #2 plastics, newspapers and magazines for FREE at Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. locations throughout Indianapolis? Click here to find a location near you!
Greening your Commute—American workers spend an average of 47 hours per year commuting through rush hour traffic.This adds up to 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year, not to mention the countless tons of carbon emissions. We can ease some of this strain by carpooling, taking public transit, biking, walking, or a creative combination thereof. A few examples of how law firms can encourage employees to green their commute include giving a bonus to bike and carpool commuters, special perks to hybrid drivers, or making discount public transportation passes available.
Have a waste free lunch! Consider ditching the plastic baggies or at least using them sparingly. Try using real silverware, cloth napkins and investing in a quality waste free lunch system to decrease the waste and save money!
Next time you grab napkins from the kitchen or from the dispenser at a restaurant, grab one less napkin. Americans consume an average of 2,200 standard two-ply napkins per year, or the equivalent of just over six napkins per day. If everyone in the United States used an average of one fewer napkin per day, more than a billion pounds of napkins could be saved from landfills each year. So, grab and use only what you need.
Some estimates say that the average American lifestyle requires nearly 2,000 gallons of water a day—twice the global average. Moreover, you may be surprised to learn that only five percent runs through toilets, taps, and garden hoses at home. Nearly 95 percent of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy you use, products you buy, and services you rely on. National Geographic has developed a tool to help you gauge how much water you use. Click here to access this great tool.
Let me tell you about a bathroom that, with a few minor changes, could help save the environment. (1) Aerosol air fresheners could be replaced by just about anything; (2) unlimited access to paper towels could be replaced by slow dispensers or an eco-friendly blower; (3) a high powered faucet (from which water goes everywhere) could be replaced by a hands-free modified spout; (4) the light switch - which nobody turns off - could be replaced by an automatic motion light; and (5) next to the trash can, add a recycle bin (you know, for the tainted newspapers and whatnot). See, with just a few small changes you’ll have a bathroom that Greens itself!
Consider switching to soy-based ink for your company's printers. Soy ink is made from soy beans grown in America rather than traditional petroleum-based toner. Soy ink also contains far less volatile organic compounds which are emitted by printers into the office air during every print job. Thus, office employees using soy ink will breathe in less harmful toxins. Soy ink also makes paper easier to recycle due to the fact that it is easier to remove the ink on the page. Soy ink has been used by commercial printers such as newspapers for years, and it is now available for laser printers. For more information about soy-based ink for laser printers, check out http://www.soyprint.net.
Did you know that artificial lighting accounts for 44% of the electricity use in office buildings? That's more than office equipment (24%) and air conditioning (14%) combined! Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you're leaving any room for 15 minutes or more and utilize natural light when you can. If you are worried about a dark office or appearing to be away from work, consider investing in a desk lamp with a compact fluorescent light bulb. These efficient light bulbs use about 75% less energy than traditional light bulbs, last up to 10 times as long, and can still let your co-workers know that you are in the office, just not behind your desk.
Did you know that American businesses throw away an estimated 21 million tons of paper every year? This works out to be approximately 175 pounds per employee each year. To reduce this amount, set your printer's default option to print double-sided. When you are printing documents that must be one-sided, you can easily change the print settings to accommodate the single-sided printing. Also, make sure your firm has a place for paper recycling. Remember, just about any kind of paper in the office (envelopes, junk mail, paper cups, and napkins) can be recycled. If the recycling bin is located close to the trash can, people are more likely to drop their paper product in the recycling bin.
Keep in mind that office equipment uses energy, even when in idle or stand-by modes. To save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, always activate the power management features on your computer and monitor, unplug laptop power cords when not in use and turn off equipment and lights at the end of the day. Consider using a power strip that can be turned off when you're done using your computers, printers, wireless routers and other electronics. And don’t forget to ask your local public utility to perform a free energy audit of your premises. The audit will identify where energy savings can be obtained.
Summer offers many opportunities to Go Green! Ride your bike to the local farmers market and stock up on local foods that travel shorter distances to get to your plate. Use a propane grill rather than a charcoal grill for cleaner grilling. And, turn your air conditioner up a degree or two to save some money and make the planet a cooler place.
When your firm buys ground or whole-bean coffee, look for varieties with organic, Fair Trade, Bird Friendly or Rainforest Alliance certification seals. These labels represent coffee farms that practice sustainable agriculture to preserve or restore rain forest ecosystems. Just one household switching to certified coffee for a year is enough to protect 9,200 square feet of rain forest. If everyone in Seattle switched to certified coffees, a rain forest area the size of that city could be saved every year.
Car exhaust + summer heat and sun = unhealthy ground-level ozone. Reduce your drive time by leaving early to beat the morning rush, carpooling, taking public transportation, or telecommuting—even one day a week. Walk to lunch or brown-bag it, rather than driving, or park and walk in, rather than idling at the drive-thru. Be especially vigilant on Knozone Air Quality Action Days. Find additional tips and information about Indianapolis’s air quality and voluntary clean air strategies at www.Knozone.com.
Summer is good time to think about energy efficiency. Cleaning out your air filters on a regular basis will help make your cooling system more efficient--which also saves you money!
Studies have shown that 30 percent of office workers leave their computers on when they leave at night. Turning off your computer and monitor every night can save $75 in energy costs per year per computer, and as much as 750 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t worry about the myth that turning a computer on and off will damage its chips. A computer will be obsolete long before there is damage to the equipment by cycling the power.
Did you know that by enabling power management features you can reduce your firms’ carbon footprint and save money? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, enabling system standby or hibernating can save $25 to $75 per computer annually. A common myth is that turning a PC on and off reduces its life span. However, the U.S. Department of Energy has concluded that "most PCs reach the end of their ‘useful’ life due to advances in technology long before the effects of being switched on and off multiple times have a negative impact on their service life.” Talk to your IT professional today about enabling power management features.
The average fast-food establishment with 2,000 vehicles per week using the drive-through causes an excess of 57 gallons of fuel per week or 2,960 gallons per year to be consumed. The average bank with a two-channel drive-through system handling 2,000 vehicles per week causes an excess of 62 gallons of fuel per week or 3,210 gallons per year to be consumed. Generally, it uses less fuel to park, turn off your car, and turn it on again than to idle for even 10 seconds. Also, parking will reduce emissions from your vehicle. Challenge yourself to walk in instead of using the drive-through and you’ll generally find it's actually faster—and you get a little exercise too!
Go green and save money by replacing your home’s old furnace. In addition to utility company incentives and tax credits that may already be available, the new Indiana Heating and Air-Conditioning Incentive Program (IHIP) offers rebates of $150 to $1,000 for qualifying Indiana homeowners who replace old furnaces, boilers, air conditioners or heat pumps with eligible Energy Star equipment purchased on or after February 1, 2010. Visit www.INenergyefficiency.com
or call 800-573-3503 to see if you qualify.
Did you know that each year, Americans throw out almost 180,000 tons of batteries? About 14,000 of those tons are rechargeable batteries; the rest are single-use. If we start replacing single-use batteries with rechargeables, we are not only saving money, but ensuring that fewer batteries end up in landfills as well. Once rechargeable batteries reach the end of their usable life, recycling is a great option. For more information about where to recycle your single-use and rechargeable batteries, click here!
Commercial car washes require an average of about 45 gallons of water per car, whereas home washers typically use between 80 and 140 gallons, according to the trade group International Carwash Association. That's a big difference! Federal law also requires commercial car washes to drain their wastewater into sewers, where it normally receives some treatment, versus simply running across the land.