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AFE Spotlight
Daisy Gallagher & Virginia Gibson

The Economic Sense of Using Sustainable Technologies

In the 21st century, sustainable economic development continues to be extremely important in the workplace. There are myriad opportunities to reduce waste on the job and not only is it good for the environment but it also offers protection from a wide variety of environmental hazards.

For the past several years, environmental awareness in the workplace has been in the forefront of many employees’ and employers’ minds. According to a National Geographic survey, over 80 percent of employees preferred to work for companies—from the board room to the mail room—that value environmental awareness and practice sustainability in the workplace.

Experts advise that the reduction of workplace-related waste should be implemented into daily operations as well as written into Corporate Social Responsibility Programs (CSR). For guidance, the facilities industry, as well as others, should look to the federal government’s environmental mandates and directives to learn how to create healthy and sustainable work environments.

Executive orders (under both President Obama and former president, George W. Bush) were initiated in 1998, 2007 and 2009. These orders required federal agencies to purchase green products and services to strengthen federal environmental, energy and transportation management. Among the items cited included recycled-content products, energy- and water-efficient products, bio-based products and environmentally preferable products and services.

Procuring agencies used several methods to educate their employees. These methods included preparing and distributing affirmative procurement policies through in-house electronic mail and other in-house media, publishing or posting articles in agency newsletters and on the agency’s home page and the inclusion of the affirmative procurement program (APP) requirements in staff manuals. Agencies also conducted workshops and training sessions to educate employees about their responsibilities under affirmative procurement programs.

In order to educate contractors and potential bidders on these programs, agencies provided lists and information about environmentally sound practices and products. The information on APP has been written about in trade publications and on agency websites, and talked about in-person at tradeshows and during industry-related conferences.

Among other things, APP offers outlines on green purchasing for construction, landscaping, transportation and other industry- related groups. Some examples of approved redesigned and recycled products include commercial matting, containers, commercial carpets, roofing, fenders and pallets, among others.

It’s a Global Matter

Experts project that by 2025, the number of people of living in urban areas will double to more than 5 billion, and 90 percent of that increase will occur in developing nations. It is also projected that 300 “mega cities”—cities with over 10 million inhabitants—will have formed. The explosion and growth of such cities is unparalleled, ecologically disastrous and unsustainable.

In order to protect the earth’s resources, the focus needs to be on conservation and recycling, along with cultivating alternative energy sources. There has been a radical shift to support the search for environmental, economic and social development alternatives that promote healthy and advanced living environments.

According to the National Academy of Science, the earth’s surface temperature has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past century and has accelerated warming during the past two decades. The buildup of greenhouse gases—primarily carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide have continued to rise and the heat-trapping property of these gases are undeniable.

Fuels burned to run automobiles as well as supply heat and power to homes and commercial spaces create 98 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, 24 percent of methane emissions and 18 percent of nitrous oxide emissions.

Increased agriculture, deforestation, landfills and industrial production also contributes a significant share of emissions. In the 1900s, the United States was responsible for about one-fifth of worldwide greenhouse gases. However, by the beginning of the 22nd century—if there are no further controls—carbon dioxide concentrations are projected to reach up to 150 percent higher than current levels.

The creation of technology to support healthy environmental systems is a viable solution to help level the fragile balance between these emissions and the planet.

The Atmosphere

In June 2013, the White House released one of the most comprehensive plans to combat climate change in U.S. history. In a letter that included the details of President Obama’s plan, David Simas, White House deputy senior advisor, warned that the carbon pollution that causes climate change isn’t a distant threat, the risk to public health isn’t a hypothetical and it’s clear we have a moral obligation to act. Simas wrote: “The 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15 years, and 2012 was the hottest one we’ve ever recorded. When carbon pollutes the air the risk of asthma attacks increases. When the earth’s atmosphere fundamentally changes, we see more heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods.”

He continued, “These events also create an economic imperative to act. When farms wash away and crops wilt, food prices go up. Last year, we saw 11 different weather disasters that each cost the United States more than $1 billion. And confronting this challenge isn’t just about preventing disaster — it’s also about moving America forward in a way that creates hundreds of thousands of good, new, clean energy jobs. It’s about wasting less energy, which saves money for every business and every family in America.”

Climate is Changing

Whatever your opinion on what is causing the climate to change, there is no denying it is changing. The 20th century’s 10 warmest years all occurred in the last 15 years of that century with our current century now holding the title as the warmest one on record.

In the Northern Hemisphere, snow and ice has dramatically decreased, the sea level has risen about 9 inches worldwide, and the United States has seen some of the most extreme weather and heavy rains on record. Technologies to combat these deadly weatherrelated emergencies have widespread economic benefits—creating both jobs and revenues from end product sales. By combating noxious greenhouse gases and the warming of our oceans and planet, diseases like the West Nile virus, malaria and encephalitis could also be diminished or avoided. Sustainable technologies can and will enable industry and government to outsource their most difficult and potentially most expensive non-core activity: waste management.

About the Authors:

In early 2013, SUSTAP (SUStainable Technologies and Products, LLC.) Was formed by Daisy Gallagher and Virginia Gibson. These two women have a combined over 45 years in business— running their own corporations and serving clientele in both private and federal sectors.

For over two decades, each has successfully served as federal government contractors providing military and civilian agencies with sustainable marketing and engineering solutions.

Gallagher is CEO of the awardwinning firm Gallagher & Gallagher Worldwide, Inc., which she founded in 1990, and CSO of the premier World Green Energy Symposium (www.wges. us). Gibson is the founder and CEO of the award-winning firm, Reliant Water Management, Inc. She has worked in the renewable on-demand energy and water treatment industries since 1989, and is an AFE national board member. Both women are members of the Navy League and individually serve in leadership positions on several national boards.

The principals of SUSTAP have past performances of working with multibillion dollar enterprises—overseeing millions of dollars in contracting, supporting more than 35 U.S.-civilian federal agencies, and with local, state and municipal authorities. In addition, they have over two decades of working directly with the U.S. Department of Defense as military contractors—in particular the U. S. Navy and U.S. Army—along with providing support by contracting with the largest defense contractors, such as Science Applications International Corporation Inc., BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin. Both women have individually have worked with numerous global entities.

The SUSTAP management team offers its customers the highest standards of quality assurance, excellent past performance, and a long track record in business areas, such as sustainable strategic marketing, environmental engineering, corporate business and government contracting. SUSTAP serves as a contractor and subcontractor to assist private and government sustainable goals. Their product catalog and NAICS codes include energy efficiency technologies for commercial and home use, including LED lighting, meters, water filtration systems, solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and transportation energy efficient retrofits. They also include redesigned and recycled products such as commercial matting, containers, commercial carpets, roofing, fenders, pallets and other similar sustainable technologies.

SUSTAP has offices in Washington D.C., and San Francisco. As a wholly-operated and minority woman-owned enterprise, SUSTAP also offers contracting officers in both private industry and government a solution in meeting their diversity set-aside program. For more information visit, email or call 571. 293.1290