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Nonprofits: Reduce Your Energy Use

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Do plastic bottles of water make you cringe? Are co-workers wasting a lot of paper by printing lengthy documents? All of this and more was tackled on February 22, when Direct Energy and Pop City Media hosted a free Reduce Your Use For Good event to educate Pittsburgh-area nonprofits about sustainability practices in the workplace. Three panelists and about 30 nonprofit representatives were in attendance.

The three panelists agreed that leadership sets the tone of an organization. Need an argument to help persuade leadership that certain practices should be put into action? Perform an energy audit by tracking your utility bills and an audit of other processes, such as transportation, and highlight the potential profit gains for your organization.

Want to take immediate action? The following are some things you can implement now: recycling, cutting down on paper use, printing double-sided documents, start composting, provide incentives for employees taking the bus or riding their bikes into work, and more. For energy, think about installing a smart thermostat, motion sensitive lighting, participating in load management or demand response programs and other energy efficiency programs.

One panelist recommended reading “The Big Thirst” by Charles Fishman. One attendee shared that after auditing their transportation, UPS actually re-mapped their drivers’ routes to minimize the left-hand turns made because you have to sit and wait to make left turns, thus wasting more fuel and further polluting the air.

One topic widely discussed was the hiring of fellows from the Student Conservancy Association. For a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee, these fellows can take on a specific role to help create a sustainable workplace via policies and other ways to get everyone on board.

One panelist left the group with the notion that you need to set realistic sustainability goals and to “manage what you measure.”

View the submissions and upload your own video to be considered for a $2,500 Reduce Your Use For Good grant at

Posted: March 01, 2013