Over the last 15 years, Really Good Stuff has been committed to helping teachers make a difference with their students. Recently, we have extended that concept to go beyond the classroom by helping to make a difference in the environment. This initiative, which started over a year ago, is aimed at taking the “green” concept to a new level of corporate responsibility.
Finding Ways to Help the Environment
Inspired by Thomas L. Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded, Jim Bennett, our president and CEO, embraced the idea that the company could become a role model in the local business community, investing in helping the environment. Says Bennett, “We are looking at this as a business investment, which offers a financial payback for the company while helping the worldwide good.”
Really Good Stuff’s facilities manager, Jackie Torpey started the initiative in February 2008 by installing energy-efficient flourescent lighting in the company’s 80,000 square foot distribution center in Monroe, CT. From there, we applied for a state Clean Energy Fund grant to invest in solar panels. The grant provided a rebate of approximately 27% after taxes of the project cost. The panels generated enough solar power to account for up to 30% of our energy use and is saving the company $30,000. Clearly, reducing the carbon footprint was also a smart business decision.
But our efforts have not stopped there. We have installed large moving fans throughout our distribution center. The blades are 12 – 24 feet in size and will push the cool area down in the summer and the warm air in the winter. This means we can set a higher thermostat setting, so that a setting of 70 in the summer will feel like 64. We also buy our power at wholesale prices and have started a recycling program which includes reusing boxes as much as possible, using a trash compacter, encouraging employees to bring in their recyclables from home to be hauled away for free and even bicycling to work. Says Ms. Torpey, “We’re challenging ourselves to conserve energy in every possible way. Our next projects are to double the insulation in our roofing, put digital meters on our gas and electric to raise awareness of how much energy we are using and asking employees to share any other energy saving ideas they may have.”
How can your school, homes and community become ambassadors of energy change? Start thinking about small ways to conserve, talk to your school administrators about ways they can save money, and you’ll not only get your own financial payback on your efforts, you will really make a difference for future generations.
If you or your school and community are already taking steps to make environmental changes, we welcome your ideas. Just email us at