This Saturday is Earth Day, a day to celebrate the environment and explore ways that we can all do more for the earth. And though Earth Day is only a single day on the calendar, we believe it’s a way of thinking worth implementing wherever possible in your everyday life. One of the main tenets of Abt’s overall philosophy is a strong commitment to the environment. In every part of the business, our impact on the environment is weighed and we always attempt to make the decision that’s friendliest to the earth. Those choices are reflected throughout the business, from the infrastructure of our store to the services we provide our customers. In celebration of Earth Day, here’s a look at some of the ways we strive to be green every day.
When building our current showroom—and any time we expand or alter it—signification consideration was put into construction materials and choices in order to maximize environmental friendliness. Some of the green techniques implemented at Abt:
Motion-sensitive LED lights: Every aisle in the warehouse is lit by motion-activated LED lamps. The lights are off by default, and only turn on when someone enters that aisle. And even when on, energy usage is minimal, thanks to the efficiency of modern LED bulbs. With hundreds of these lights throughout the warehouse, this double-whammy of energy conservation helps us significantly reduce our electricity usage.
Skylights: Even when the lights are off, it’s never truly dark in the warehouse during the day, thanks to the dozens of skylights that dot the rooftop. Letting this natural light in supplements the existing lighting, which is another way we can use less electricity during the day.
Solar Panels: Skylights are a great way to take advantage of the sun’s light, but their benefit is limited to the area directly underneath. Another way to take advantage of that big bright ball in the sky is with solar panels. Last fall, we completed construction on our rooftop solar array. Consisting of 1500 solar panels, the entire array will produce around 850 megawatt-hours of energy annually, which is enough electricity to power 80 homes for a year. That’s a significant amount of electricity that we don’t have to get from the grid, which is usually produced by environmentally-unfriendly coal-fired powerplants.
Water Barrel: One of our newest green additions is a 10,000-gallon water barrel that sits in front of the store. The barrel is fed by the store gutters, collecting all of the rain and snowmelt from our roof. That water is then fed directly to our landscaping sprinkler system. The rain barrel has a two-fold effect. First, we use less water irrigating our vegetation, reducing our consumption of freshwater from the municipal water system. Secondly, collecting all of our rainwater lessens our burden on the sewer system during severe storms, the times when sewers can overflow and release pollutants into our rivers and streams.
Our on-site recycling center was created to fill both our own and our customers’ needs for a place to easily and responsibly recycle old electronics, appliances and packaging materials. With the recycling center, we are able to keep an estimated 17-million pounds of waste out of the waste stream each year.
Appliances and electronics: Any time we deliver a new product to a customer, there’s a good chance they have an existing product in their home that no longer works. Instead of putting it by the curb to end up in a landfill, we offer the option to remove the appliance or electronic and bring it back to our recycling center, where it will get sorted and sent off to a company who responsibly disassembles the product and recycles all of the components.
Styrofoam: All foam from product packaging is taken to the recycling center for processing, where a special machine melts it down, removing the air pockets and condensing it into a compact, super-dense plastic material. That raw material is then sold to companies who turn it into a variety of other products, from park benches to picture frames.
Cardboard: Every piece of cardboard is flattened, compacted and fastened into a bale weighing about a ton. On an average week, we will recycle about 80,000 lbs. of cardboard a week, keeping countless tons of it out of landfills.
Even if you’re not expecting a delivery from Abt, or aren’t a customer at all, the Abt Recycling Center is open to anyone who’d like to bring drop off their own packing materials or appliances and electronics for recycling. A nominal fee will be applied to cover the cost of recycling for appliances and televisions. You can find out more info about it on the Abt Green Initiatives page.
Check back all week as we explore ways that you can be more green in your day-to-day life.