The Benefits of Buying Green on Campus and Beyond

Daniel PedersenBy Daniel Pedersen, Ph.D., Green Seal’s VP of Science & Standards

The AASHE STARS program can serve as a road-map to more sustainable purchasing policies. Green purchasing can benefit higher education campuses in many ways, and even drive the sustainability of the broader market.

What’s to be gained from green purchasing? First of all, green products are reliable and cost-effective; the myth that they are more expensive and don’t work as well was debunked long ago. Environmentally-preferable products are specified by half of the state governments in the U.S.; if these products didn’t cut the mustard, states would have dropped them.

Second, any sustainable purchasing on campus can be used to strengthen your green branding, marketing, and alumni/customer relations. As we all know, there is increased interest among students, faculty, and employees in attending a sustainable college. (more…)

The Power of Buying Green on Campus and Beyond

Daniel PedersenBy Daniel Pedersen, Ph.D., Green Seal’s VP of Science & Standards

Summer marks the beginning of the new fiscal year on many campuses – this is a good time to do some housecleaning and review your purchasing policies. Green purchasing is an easy and powerful way for higher education campuses to benefit, and even to drive the sustainability of the broader market.

The principles of green purchasing can easily increase sustainability when they are incorporated into purchasing specs and policies of individual departments or across the entire campus. Your campus can use the AASHE STARS program as a road-map to sustainability; the list of Operations (OP) credits is a good framework for green purchasing. You can make a big difference when you choose products like electronics, cleaning products (such as cleaners, paper towels, and bathroom tissue), and office paper. An emphasis on local items and services reduces transport needs and strengthens the local community, while environmentally-responsible food and beverages and low impact meals can reduce the footprint of dining services. Less frequent purchases – paints, insulation, windows, doors, furniture, and carpets – are important for the sustainability of building operations and maintenance or design and construction.

With a little more thought, campuses can estimate the environmental impact of ownership of items across their entire life cycle (more…)

Our Latest Standard: Restaurants and Food Services, GS-55

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By GS Vice President of Science and Standards

We are very excited to announce that our latest Green Seal Standard, for Restaurants and Food Services, GS-55, was issued on March 12, 2014. It sets the benchmark for eateries that are leaders in sustainability, focusing on the most important life-cycle impacts of the food industry – the sourcing of the food and the waste that is generated from it.
As it turns out that, 95% of the environmental impacts of a restaurant come from the food it purchases, when we consider the full life-cycle of the day-to-day activities of a restaurant. (more…)

Dishwasher Dilemmas

By Daniel Pedersen, Ph.D., Director of Science & Standards

New headshot2Which Dishwashers and Washers Are  Better: High Heat or Low Temperature ?
A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from Cerise Bridges, our Certification Specialist, who conducts certification reviews for service providers: hotels and cleaning companies. She makes sure that our certified service providers meet the requirements in our standards, but she also hears from clients about the challenges they face. This email posed a question that often comes up from Green Seal-certified hotels, because our standard, GS-33, does not address this issue directly:

“Low temp laundry and dishwasher systems vs. high temp systems. With the low temp systems hotels can save energy and water but health codes will usually require them to use a sanitizer or chlorine bleach. The high temp systems use more energy and water but bleach is not required. Hotels are conflicted and ask which is better – using more chemicals but saving energy and water or using fewer chemicals.”

So… seems like a simple question, right? But as it usually turns out when talking about sustainability, the answer is: “It Depends…” Or more to the point: “There’s no Single Right Answer (TM)
(more…)