As part of the US economic recovery, residential housing market values and housing starts are watched closely as a key indicator to economic growth and stability. Last week, Freddie Mac released its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for December, showing projections for modest but steady gains in both home value and housing starts in 2013.
These projections are good news for US home owners and for the thousands of businesses that depend upon new home construction, renovations, and an active home buyer/seller market. CarbonFree® Business Partner Clear Estimates is one of these businesses; one that has maintained a five-year commitment to operating in a carbon emissions-neutral environment.
Clear Estimates, a father-son owned and operated business with three decades of experience, offers a cloud-based construction estimating software that enables contractors and home renovators to manage efficient and cost-effective home building and improvements projects. Clear Estimates allows contractors to accurately anticipate the labor, materials, and their related costs that will be required for all aspects of a construction project and automatically drafts professional proposals ready for client presentation.
The Clear Estimates website serves as the business storefront, and their products are only distributed digitally. For the past three years Clear Estimates has implemented a “paperless” operational philosophy, limiting its carbon emissions footprint to the electrical energy required to run the computers and servers used for developing the product and supporting customers. To address the impact of their energy consumption emissions, Clear Estimates partnered with Carbonfund.org five years ago to neutralize their remaining operational emissions by supporting renewable energy projects each year.
"We chose Carbonfund.org because of its solid reputation," confirms Nolan Orfield. "As the leading nonprofit carbon offsetting organization it is clear they are a reliable resource for any business or individual hoping to protect our most important asset, the environment."
Carbonfund.org is pleased to announce that 2013 will bring big program anniversaries for about one hundred of our small business partners. The CarbonFree® Business Partnership program, launched in 2007, makes it easy and affordable for businesses of all sizes to enhance their sustainability by joining the program either at pre-set donation levels based on employee size, or by calculating and mitigating actual annual operational emissions. The program benefits include promotion of this environmentally responsible initiative through displaying the CarbonFree® Partner logo, maintaining a Partner Page on the Carbonfund.org website and being featured in online blogs and e-newsletters written by Carbonfund.org.
Our 5th and 6th year anniversary partners include the spectrum of businesses – healthcare/nutrition, eco-tourism, product retailers, technology service providers, and a variety of start-up product and service companies. What these businesses have in common is demonstrated leadership in a long-term commitment to ensuring that their products, services and operations are offered to their customers in the most sustainable way possible.
“When we designed the CarbonFree® Partner Program, we wanted to make it a very simple, easy-to-understand program that fit the budget of any business, regardless of age, size or industry,” explains Carbonfund.org founder and president Eric Carlson. “These one hundred businesses celebrating their 5th or 6th anniversaries help to confirm that we’re doing what we set out to achieve.”
In honor of the renewal anniversaries for these CarbonFree® Business Partners, Carbonfund.org developed a unique 2013 CarbonFree® Partner logo featuring the number of years the business has been in the program. We’re also planting trees on behalf of these anniversary Partners – 50 and 60 trees planted for the 5th and 6th anniversaries, respectively – as an additional way to acknowledge their long-term commitment to helping win the fight against climate change and supporting our carbon reduction projects around the world.
Watch www.carbonfund.org/blog for features of our CarbonFree® Anniversary Partners, starting in December and continuing throughout 2013.
As the environmentally-inspired movement towards banning or charging for paper and plastic shopping bags continues to spread, shoppers need convenient solutions for carrying their reusable bags with them wherever they go. During the holiday shopping frenzy, it’s even more important to remember to take along reusable shopping bags rather than wasting resources on paper or plastic store bags.
CarbonFree® Partner flip & tumble came up with a great solution -- a reusable bag that compacts into a stretchy pouch, cinching the full-sized shopping bag into a small ball in seconds. Shoppers can stash flip & tumble bags in their cars, briefcases and backpacks in order to have a reusable bag handy when needed.
Consideration of the environment is very important to the folks at flip & tumble, so neutralizing their annual business emissions was a logical step. "We partner with Carbonfund.org to continue to foster our initiative to be an environmentally conscious company," explains Anna Hebel, Product Manager at flip & tumble.
As a CarbonFree® Business Partner, flip & tumble is leading the reusable shopping bag industry as an environmentally responsible company. They’ve made the commitment to reduce carbon emissions where possible then mitigate their remaining carbon footprint by supporting Carbonfund.org’s emissions reduction projects. Do your part this holiday shopping season by bringing along reusable shopping bags and patronizing businesses that offer eco-responsible products and environmentally focused business operations.
According to the Carbon Disclosure Project, cloud computing can help companies realize $12.3 billion in energy savings and reduce carbon emissions by 85.7 million metric tons annually by the year 2020. This staggering carbon emissions reduction figure is equivalent to mitigating the emissions from almost 181 million barrels of oil each year.
These compelling statistics are creating a surge in cloud computing options and providers; the challenge is to find the right provider offering the breadth of computing services, systems security and deliver the flexibility required by each business.
Chicago-based Steadfast Networks offers an additional benefit to its customers by operating in a CarbonFree® environment. Steadfast Networks calculates the annual carbon emissions from all base operations and neutralizes those emissions by supporting Carbonfund.org’s carbon reduction and clean air technology projects. Steadfast Networks also provides a CarbonFree® option to all customers by calculating and mitigating specific operational emissions through Carbonfund.org for each customer’s dedicated or co-located server energy consumption.
"At Steadfast, we're always looking for new ways to reduce our environmental impact. Carbonfund.org fit organically into our business model and so it was pretty much a “no brainer” for us," explains Karl Zimmerman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Steadfast Networks.
Steadfast Networks specializes in highly flexible cloud computing, including options for dedicated servers or collocation services at their fully redundant data centers in Chicago and New York. The facilities used by Steadfast Networks are highly engineered to assure reliability and maximize energy efficiency, resulting in a significantly reduced carbon footprint. Their status as a CarbonFree® Business Partner sets Steadfast Networks above the competition for companies seeking the most environmentally responsible options for cloud computing solutions.
Carbonfund.org seeks to partner with businesses that subscribe to the same mission of solving the climate crisis. The goal of achieving a clean energy future is more complex than simply meeting carbon emission reductions targets. Any solution needs to be sustainable, and sustainability is one of the cornerstones of Carbonfree® business partner TCX Investment Management Company.
The global TCX Fund provides protection and risk control against currency devaluation in frontier market currencies for major development finance institutions to microfinance institutions and other institutions investing in the communities of many emerging market countries, such as Cambodia, Kenya, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Peru, and Vietnam. This translates into providing a mechanism to absorb the risk of extreme currency value fluctuations so these institutions can assist local businesses with the startup funding they need. TCX is able to make real contributions to sustainable development and to improving the living standards in communities in some of theleast developed countries on our planet.
TCX maintains a Sustainability Policy requiring that the businesses they assist also meet environmental sustainability goals.A key tenet of the TCX policy maintains that any projects receiving funding should pursue development for the needs of the present population without impairing the ability of future generations to meet community needs. All projects are expected to include pollution prevention and abatement, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable natural resources management.
Carbonfund.org and TCX have partnered to help TCX reach its own operational emission reduction goals. In the past three years, TCX Investment Management has neutralized a total of almost 460 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions created by its annual operations – the equivalent of removing 82 passenger vehicles from the road for a year – in part by supporting Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy projects."We chose Carbonfund.org because of their verified programs, pricing and easy-to-use customer friendly services," confirms Bill Piccolo, Operations Manager for TCX.
TCX’s operational emissions neutralization program supports Carbonfund.org’s renewable energy projects, and in doing so, enhances air quality and promotes new technology development that will continue to reduce carbon emissions and hasten the transition to a cleaner energy future. Carbonfund.org looks forward a continued partnership with TCX in pursuingthe paired goals of sustainable development and environmental stewardship.
LEI Electronics and EcoAlkalines™ are ecstatic to be able to announce that EcoAlkalines™ Batteries, the World’s first Landfill safe, Certified Carbon Neutral Alkaline Batteries have been certified meet LEED standards.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® Green Building Program is a voluntary, consensus-based global rating system for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) with the intent on providing building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions. LEED is based on a credit system and points are allocated based on the potential environmental impacts and human benefits of each credit. Under the current LEED credit system, EcoAlkalines™ batteries can help earn one prerequisite and one point under the LEED category of Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) rating system.
For more information on LEED standards visit www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CategoryID=19
Eco Alkalines™ have been reviewed by a LEED AP third party – Above Green, LLC. Above Green has provided us with a LEED certified technical statement which explains exactly which prerequisites and points Eco Alkalines™ batteries can be used to count towards.
As per Above Green, LLC:
“ EcoAlkalines are the world's first certified carbon neutral batteries. Manufactured with 0% Mercury, 0% Lead, 0% Cadmium – EcoAlkalines™ set the standard for responsible disposable alkaline batteries. Because of these qualities, EcoAlkalines are considered an environmentally preferable product. If you own and operate a LEED Certified building, include EcoAlkalines™ as part of your purchasing policy, and earn points toward certification and recertification of your facility.”
Applicable Credit Category and Credit Name
Number of Points
MRp1: Sustainable Purchasing Policy
MRc1: Sustainable Purchasing - Ongoing Consumables
- Materials and Resources Prerequisite 1 ("MRp1"): Sustainable Purchasing Policy requires facilities managers to develop a comprehensive purchasing plan, which sets goals for the purchasing of environmental friendly products.
- Materials and Resources Credit 1 ("MRc1"): Sustainable Purchasing - Ongoing Consumables focuses on the implementation of MRp1, specifically in the procurement of environmentally friendly ongoing consumables, including batteries.
Carbonfund.org is pleased see one of our Carbon Neutral Certified Products recognized by the USGBC as meeting LEEDs Green Building Program Standards and congratulates LEI Electronics on this achievement. For more information about EcoAlkalines™ please visit: http://www.leiproducts.com/eco-alkalines and to learn more about Carbon Neutral Certification through Carbonfund.org please visit: http://carbonfund.org/offset/product-certification.