We recently shared a glimpse into our Green Team planning process for 2013 and we hinted at a measurement tool that we were working on with True Impact. True Impact is a great organization that provides web-based tools and consulting support to help corporations measure the social, financial and environmental ROI for their corporate responsibility programs and operations. We were thrilled when True Impact agreed to take on the challenge of capturing the impact of our diverse Green Team projects.
The result of their effort is the Green Team ROI Tracker, a tool crafted to calculate the impact of employee-led sustainability projects. This series provides step-by-step instructions for measuring Green Team initiatives. Today we are excited to introduce Sadie Miller, who is responsible for creating this innovative tool. Sadie works at True Impact, where she is responsible for the implementation of the Volunteer and Green Team ROI Tracker measurement and benchmarking initiatives. She brings expertise in civic engagement and policy analysis to her work on social impact evaluation. Sadie earned an MPP in social policy from Brandeis University and a BA in sociology from Smith College. This is our first in hopefully a series of posts designed to help Green Teams and Environmental Forum blog readers better track and measure their eco impact at the office. (–KVT)
Green Teams are a small group of employees committed to conserving energy, reducing waste, and cutting carbon emissions. They understand office resource usage at the local level and have the motivation to make concrete steps toward sustainability. Measuring the environmental impact of Green Team initiatives is essential for communicating the impact of these projects and making lasting change.
Measure change, not footprint
There are many publicly accessible carbon calculators that are designed for household and small business use. However, many carbon calculators focus on an organization or product’s total carbon footprint. Measuring an office’s footprint before and after a single project is unnecessarily complex and fails to isolate your impact in a dynamic energy landscape. In order to report the most valid and reliable results, Green Teams require a focused, project-specific measurement approach.
Use Practical Tools
Electricity usage monitors are a powerful tool for tracking the variable energy usage of electronic devices. By plugging in a Kill A Watt to your outlet, Green Teams can provide precise, real-time information about office equipment like computers, printers, and portable heaters. To scale up environmental tracking across an office, estimate usage and wattage of office computers, monitors, and laptops by sampling office devices or using the manufacturer’s wattage estimates. Similarly, use the average commute of participants when determining the emissions reduced through a new carpool program. This will simplify data collection and clarify your calculations for internal leadership and external stakeholders.
Improve your environmental ROI
Comparing environmental initiatives side by side also helps focus team energy and resources on projects with the most environmental return on investment. For example, compare turning off the office coffee maker and instituting an 8-person carpool program. Turning the average 900-Watt coffee maker off for 6 more hours will save one metric ton of CO2 annually. Instituting a once-a-week carpool program for 8 employees with an average commute of 30 miles, saves more than $3,000 in gasoline and more than 5 metric tons of CO2. The Green Team ROI Tracker helps teams understand the comparative ROI of investing in electricity, transportation, or waste reduction initiatives, so Green Teams can prioritize projects that make the biggest environmental impact.
For more measurement tips for Wells Fargo Green Teams, see our comprehensive Green Team ROI Tracker Measurement Guide.
Please note that calculations demonstrated in this piece are calculated through the Green Team ROI tracker, which includes additional details and referring website on how waste, water, energy, commute and paper savings are determined.