Friday, May 18, 2012

LRA Staff meets to discuss conservation at headquarters

By simply turning off your office light when you leave for
lunch can save a significant amount over the course of
a year. If you're a restaurant owner, are you leaving lights
on in the dining room when you're closed?
This morning, members of the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s newly-formed “Green Team” met to discuss ways to reduce its energy, water and trash costs. The trade association for Louisiana’s restaurant industry operates on funds contributed by restaurants through annual dues paid and continuously seeks ways to be better stewards of those dollars.

“Since I began in 2010, I’ve encouraged the staff to consider ways to reduce costs at the LRA,” said Stan Harris, LRA President/CEO. “I’m pleased to see that the staff has taken the initiative to make cost savings and environmental stewardship a priority for our association.”

The discussion included items that most individuals consider when managing their home energy usage, including turning lights off when leaving a room and running only a full load in the dishwasher. Instituting a recycling program to divert paper, plastics and aluminum from landfills was the highlight of the meeting. The team is investigating options like Phoenix Recycling bins in its 30,000 square foot facility in Metairie which houses a workers’ compensation program (LRA Self Insurer’s Fund) and the association offices.

“Running an insurance company requires retaining certain files for various periods of time,” said MaryBeth Yrle, LRASIF Director of Auditing. “Last year, we began scanning files to reduce the amounts of files stored and while we shred unnecessary paper documents, a third-party company Shred-It does recycle the paper at a paper mill.”

To prepare for these changes in behavior, team members recently met with LRA member Elizabeth Shepard of LifeCity New Orleans to learn the best practices for championing these efforts among their LRA staff peers. While the team was interested in participating in LifeCity’s Green Games competition, the cost associated to do so this year were prohibitive.

“The world, the market and business is changing,” said Shepard. “More and more people, whether they are investors, customers or business owners, are interested in how organizations are impacting our community. Already, the LRA is taking a lead by participating in conferences like the March Global Green Waste Recovery Conference, and LifeCity seeks to help the LRA take that commitment further.”

In an interview this week with WWL Radio, “Millennial generation changing how we eat at restaurants,” which was picked up nationally by CBS Radio, LRA Director of Communications Erica Papillion shared what the 18-34 year olds are looking for when dining out. The first of three concerns is a restaurant’s social responsibility—are the restaurant’s practices good for the environment?
The National Restaurant Assoc.
Conserve Sustainability Education
Program shares money-saving
techniques, action plans and
industry-tried best practices for
restaurant operators.
The National Restaurant Association’s Conserve EducationProgram launched shares industry-tried best practices, money-saving techniques and personalize action plans to inspire restaurant operators to consider conservation as good for the environment and also good for the bottom line.

“I’m thrilled to be participating in this movement at the LRA,” said Alice Glenn, LRA Education Foundation Executive Director. “At home I recycle, set my thermostat to 78 when I’m not home and certainly believe in turning the lights off when I leave a room.”

For restaurants, easy to implement ideas like composting prep food waste, using compact fluorescent bulbs and low-flow spray nozzles and toilets are few ways operators can have an immediate positive impact on costs and the environment.

“The Green Team set a conservative goal of reducing energy costs by 10 percent this year,” said Wendy Waren, LRA VP of Communications. “The team was so enthusiastic that the conference room light was turned off as they exited the meeting, followed by the kitchen and restroom lights.”

The five member team includes Facilities Manager Rich McCurdy, LRASIF Audit Director Marybeth Yrle, LRA EXPO Sales Rep. Peggy Charbonnet, Glenn and Waren.

What steps have you taken to reduce your energy and water usage? Are you inspired to do more? We sure are!

No comments:

Post a Comment