Sustainability Beyond The Winery

By Sustainability 
In: Sustainability

We talk a lot about the sustainability efforts in our wineries and vineyards, but that’s not the only place we work to improve our actions. At Kendall-Jackson we have offices full of employees who aren’t crushing grapes or in the barrel cellar on a day-to-day basis. There are a lot of improvements we can make in these spaces that help promote our sustainable mission, and have an impact on the environment.

The sustainability team in our office, headed by Pat Bowman, office services manager, has either enacted or is working on over a dozen initiatives.  A lot of these ideas are things you can likely do at home or at work.  You might have to draw the line somewhere, though, since I’m guessing most of you probably don’t have barrel washers at work.

Energy Efficiency

A few years ago we upgraded all of our office lighting. Since then that technology has improved we are looking at another round of upgrades. We have installed occupancy sensors in all our restrooms and meeting rooms, and hope to have them installed in all offices over the next few months.

Water Conservation

Last month we installed the first dual-flush toilets and super low-flow faucets in some of our restrooms.  We wanted to test out the newest models to make sure they are completely reliable before installing them everywhere – so far the results are looking pretty good.  The faucets alone use 66% less water than they did before.

Satellite Irrigation – Our landscaping irrigation system is controlled by satellites, which forecast weather conditions and only use as much water as is needed.  This upgrade reduced our water consumption by nearly 50% and inspired us to test out a similar system on our vineyards.

Waste Reduction

Junk mail is a big hassle for everyone, and it’s no different at work.  We realized that we were getting magazines for people who didn’t even work here any more.  So our receptionist started contacting organizations that were sending us junk mail or duplicate mailings, and managed to reduce the amount of junk mail we get by nearly 70%.

That’s a lot of paper saved, not to mention gas to deliver it and take it away to be recycled.  If you would like to do the same at home there is a smartphone app called Paper Karma that will help reduce your wasted paper; all you have to do it take a picture of the mailing info and it automatically contacts the company.  How easy is that?

The sustainability team has also purchased battery and light bulb recycling boxes.  Any batteries or CFL bulbs used at Kendall-Jackson, or that employees bring in from home, can be recycled in the office. You can usually recycle these items at a local hardware store, but it’s so much more convenient to just drop it off at the office.

Another item used a lot in the office are toner cartridges.  These are pretty dirty, but can be sent back to the manufacturers to be refilled and reused.  We donate our empty cartridges to our local school district and they can turn them in at office supply stores and get credit in order to purchase school supplies.  Reducing waste and supporting our local schools – a double benefit.

Sustainable Purchasing

When green office products first came out they were typically more expensive and didn’t necessarily work as well as traditional supplies.  That’s no longer the case, and Kendall-Jackson has been transitioning over to sustainable office products over the last few months.

Our mailroom is already using all recycled content packaging and reusing boxes and packaging from previous deliveries.  The rest of the office products are being changed over as we buy new items – there’s no point in throwing away the stuff we’ve already bought just because it doesn’t have recycled content.

Cleaning products are the last big item on our list.  It’s important to keep the office clean and healthy, especially as cold season starts to arrive but some of the cleaning products on the market can actually give off harmful vapors.  We use all Green Seal certified cleaning products to stay clean and breathe easy.

How about you – any suggestions on what you are doing at your workplace that we might be able to add to our sustainable office program?  Leave suggestions in the comments.