Reduce: It's the first step toward becoming a sustainable business

Megan Stein is the BEST Awards and Sustainability at Work Program Manager for the City of Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Megan Stein is the BEST Awards and Sustainability at Work Program Manager for the City of Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

One of the biggest environmental improvements a business can make is identifying the resource it uses the most — energy, water, paper, transportation — and working to reduce it.

A typical office-based business consumes large quantities of paper every year, so finding ways to go digital, reuse paper and print double-sided will provide big cost savings as well as environmental benefits. A manufacturer may use little paper but have large water needs, so they’ll see the biggest impact by re-thinking how water is used, reused and disposed of.

Businesses applying for the 2012 Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) Awards demonstrate their impressive work on reducing resources they use most.

The BEST Awards are presented annually by Sustainability at Work, a program of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. The awards recognize companies that exemplify ambitious and creative solutions for sustainability while promoting social, economic and environmental equity for the Portland area.

Data centers traditionally consume vast amounts of energy. This is why Beaverton’s EasyStreet Online Services spent nearly four years researching and designing their new data center, which now represents the most energy-efficient colocation and Cloud services facility in the region. It is estimated that it will use 1,532,634 kilowatt-hours per year less than a traditional data center of the same size — enough savings to power 153 average households for a year. EasyStreet also buys renewable energy offsets for 100 percent of the electricity it uses, thereby supporting further development of alternative energy sources.

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