Since launching in 2008, the Go Green initiative has continued to gain momentum. We've transformed our environmental consciousness into practical sustainable practices, thanks to partnerships with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PG&E, United States Green Building Council (USGBC), our local Conservation Corps, and other agencies.
Go Green is focused on direct action in four key areas: energy efficiency, water conservation, recycling and environmental waste reduction. Each area requires education, behavior changes and a strong commitment from employees, property owners, tenants, residents and vendors.
The performance of each Go Green property is tracked on the EPA's Energy Star Program website. "Our goal is to effectively reduce our carbon footprint within the community by understanding current and past energy usage," said Robin Adcock, building manager and energy/sustainability coordinator. "As a result, we can identify opportunities to improve energy performance and gain financial benefits for our clients."
To date, the program has achieved a savings of 266,673 pounds of CO2 and 246 barrels of oil. It has produced an average 229% return on investment for buildings in the program. Successes include a 180,500 sq. ft. office building that is now Energy Star Certified with a rating of 81 and a 122,605 square foot office building that participated in the EEPG Garage Lighting Program.
Several commercial office buildings participate in the Energy Efficient Parking Garage (EEPG) Program sponsored by PG&E. The program has reduced parking garage lighting power by an average of 60% over the last four years by replacing older HID lighting products with more efficient T8 fluorescent products that use less energy, provide better quality light and last longer. The EEPG Program results are remarkable. For example, one Fresno parking garage realized an annual savings of $19,630 and a 124% return on investment.
Manco Abbott's energy efficiency practices—along with recycling efforts and public transportation education for residents—earned the Four Creeks apartment community in Visalia the city's first-ever Visalia Certified Green Business Award.
New satellite-controlled sprinkler systems at many Manco Abbott properties are a smart way to prevent water waste. Special controls regulate watering based on plant type, weather and watering schedules. Usage is monitored and computerized to provide valuable analysis and comparisons of monthly water usage. Low flow sprinkler heads have been installed on many properties to boost water reduction savings and prevent water flow onto sidewalks and streets.
We have installed low-flow toilets and low-flow showerheads (which offer more pressure while using less water) in several apartment communities. This yielded a 10% decrease in water usage in the first year alone. Both owners and residents appreciate the savings.
Recycling requires resident and tenant education about trash disposal practices. Manco Abbott works with the local Conservation Corps through a Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission (FCEOC) recycling program to remove recyclables at commercial and multi-family properties. FCEOC provides recycling containers, picks up, sorts and delivers recyclables for reprocessing, and keeps the recycling funds to maintain this service to the community.
Environmental waste reduction
In addition to encouraging paperless practices, Manco Abbott works with contractors who adopt environmentally friendly practices. For example, we request the use of recyclable carpet and construction materials, as well as low-VOC paint. Whenever possible, we seek eco-friendly options to reduce environmental waste.
Sustainability from the inside out
Go Green doesn't just involve our apartment communities, office buildings and industrial properties. It has become part of our organizational culture. Manco Abbott's corporate office "walks the talk" with paperless systems, recycle bins, use of recycled materials, reduced energy use and is currently transitioning to PG&E eco-buttons on computers.
Robin Adcock's office also serves as a PG&E Information Center with resources and education to inspire property managers. We are currently exploring the latest developments in energy and technology, including new solar technologies. Manco Abbott continues to find new ways to save valuable resources for our properties while conserving our environment for future generations.