Panel offers advice to businesses on how to go green

PELHAM – At the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce’s March Community Luncheon, local businesses learned about ways to save money by implementing going green.

During the luncheon, held at the Pelham Civic Complex, a panel of local businessmen shared ways in which they have implemented green practices in the workplace and provided tips to those in attendance on how they can make environmentally and economically friendly decisions such as finding ways to recycle, conserve energy, reduce pollution and save money.

The panel consisted of Frank Thomas of Brookwood Baptist Health, William Carroll of Armstrong Relocation and Companies, Scott Shurett of Alabama Power and Steve Roberson of Alagasco.

Thomas said Brookwood Baptist Health has partnered with Gadsden-based CHI Energy Services to help reduce their energy expenses and the health system recycles old electronics such as computers and monitors.

To save gas and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by vehicles, the system has implemented video conferencing. Thomas said seven facilities are linked with video conferencing and when traveling is necessary, hybrids vehicles are used. When traveling on campus, golf carts are used.

Carroll said Armstrong Relocation, which provides moving, relocation and logistics services, has switched from using halogen to LED lighting in their facilities because they’re more cost efficient and they don’t emit as much heat, which helps to keep buildings cooler.

Carroll added that cardboard boxes are either reused or recycled and unwanted desks, chairs and other office furniture are donated to a nonprofit or to local school systems.

“We’ve also started switching from cardboard boxes to plastic crates for moves because we can rinse them out and reuse them,” Carroll said.

Roberson said Alagasco’a biggest effort to reduce its impact is by using compressed natural gas (CNG) in vehicles. CNG is a cleaner fuel with less odor and lower emission levels. Roberson added that the CNG is also cheaper than conventional fuels per gallon.

With a total of 270 vehicles, Roberson said Alagasco has the largest fleet in the state that utilizes CNG.

Shurett said Alabama Power has replaced the roofs of some of their buildings and included insulation underneath the roofs to further help save energy. The company gets their water by pumping it from underground and by collecting rainwater. All of the sinks and toilets in their buildings are low flow.

Shurett said the company makes use of natural exterior lighting and has all of their HVAC equipment tested and balanced regularly to ensure optimal performance. All of their utility trucks are electric and they utilize LED lights and some solar power.

“We always encourage our customers to reduce their impact on the environment so we try to practice what we preach,” Shurett said.

At the end of the luncheon, the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce named Charmaine Dye, of Trade Partner Exchange, as its Ambassador of the Month for March.