The use of renewable energy has passed a critical threshold with companies aiming toward making the transition to the use of 100% renewable energy. Environmentalists, ecosystem advocacy groups and the blossoming wind and solar industries are on board pushing for the exclusive use of renewable energy wherever possible.
From a technical standpoint it is seen as being a realistic goal through the use of the Cradle to Cradle principle. The Cradle to Cradle principal entails the use of 100% renewable energy while maximizing an organization’s environmental, social and economic impacts. Cradle to Cradle is a holistic, economic, industrial and social framework that seeks to create systems that are not just efficient but fundamentally waste free. It moves beyond traditional sustainability goals of only reducing negative impacts to instead creating a wholly positive or beneficial mark on the planet.
Leveling up to use 100% renewable energy may seem like a frightening task, but the goal is achievable and can be a goal to progress towards from a company’s current efforts in energy efficiency. Two great examples of this in action are Herman Miller and Steelcase. Both companies are following this path towards reaching larger goals of maximizing the use of renewable energy. Their effort has begun to pay off as they have both been recognized on a national level for their leadership in renewable energy.
Herman Miller, an American manufacturer of office furniture and equipment as well as home furniture uses Green-e certified renewable energy certificates and purchase agreements to provide clean energy sufficient for 100% of its worldwide electricity use in manufacturing, office and showroom operations. The company has engaged in a number of initiatives promoting sustainability such as eliminating harmful chemicals from their products. Their products are designed to be ecologically sound and utilize life cycle assessment, including maximizing the product’s potential for recyclability.
Steelcase, another office furniture company, specializes mainly in file cabinets and safes. The company is the sole investor in a wind farm in Texas and has singlehandedly enabled its construction and played a vital role in bringing it on the grid. The wind farm has expanded the renewable energy available in the state of Texas, fully offsetting the carbon footprint of Steelcase’s operations. On top of that, the company has worked diligently to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37 percent since 2006.
As demonstrated by these leading organizations, shifting to 100% renewable energy is possible. It is simply a matter of setting the goals. The result is not only a reduction of the company’s negative carbon footprint but also the positive influence of the company’s leadership and action.