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Columbia, Tennessee, United States
I am promoting public awareness and education on hoarding, household downsizing, junk elimination, and how you can help the environment by cutting back on all the stuff in your life.

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sustainable Plan


Sustainable Plan

Julie Malone

EPM 4232 Sustainability Policy and Practice

Arthur Purcell

November 17, 2010

Abstract

Creating a sustainable plan is not a simple task. It takes seriously thought and consideration of ideas of how one can help the environment, obtain a reasonable ecological footprint, and provide substance to future generations. This sustainable plan begins with a definition, family background, why a sustainable plan is necessary, eight planned goals to achieve, needed resources, timetable, costs, environmental and social benefits, obstacles, and concluding with an ideal outcome.

Sustainable Plan

A sustainability plan is about developing a process to create a stronger environment, social responsibility, and be bottom-line driven. It is assuring continuous functioning and growth of this planet. Society needs to minimize resource use and maximize resource efficiency allowing future generations to have part of the enjoyment process. Sustainability entails critical resource, and environmental, social and economic components. We need to manage the earth’s resources and get rid of air pollution.

One way of looking at personal sustainability is not dumping one’s personal “pollution” on the next generation. When we are living, we are often hoarders and never get a chance to de-clutter our lives. We often have to die before we release our clutter. This does not benefit our relatives or friends at all since they have the burden of cleaning up our mess, where it becomes a curse. There is not enough money in the world that can help the mental and physical anguish of cleaning up someone’s clutter.

Background

This sustainable plan is about my family and providing various ways we can improve the sustainability of our home. This class is about sustainability, and what a better way of grasping the concept than starting with one’s personal life. I found it time to de-clutter my life and my home. I learned about personal sustainability the hard way: watching grandparents that lived through the Great Depression hoard clothes, chemicals, food, hardware, and wood for over forty years. After their death, I realized there were other folks out there just like them; afraid to throw anything away because they “might need it someday”. That day never arrived but was a learning lesson for me to create a sustainable plan to become eco-friendly.

Why a Sustainability plan is Needed

A sustainable plan is needed when we accumulate years’ worth of “stuff” that could be passed on to another in need. My husband, John, and I accumulated over 40 years worth of stuff. We also inherited my mother’s clutter after her death in March 2009. Being sustainable helps with our environmental footprints; I recently took a test of my footprint and I use three earths just with my needs. I believe that every family is like a little company since we use chemicals, products, electricity, office supplies, food, and dispose of unwanted items. We are all a part of an environmental meltdown (Hart 2010, 8). American families have become consumerists by purchasing electronics, vehicles, clothing and demanding material items. We use raw materials and fossil energy in order to ship products and service. As individual families we contribute to air emissions, dead zones, and waste management by the products we purchase.

Families are used to the industrial revolution with cheaper cars and appliances. The new way of being sustainable is purchasing and using products that will last for years. Similar to a company, families also believe in the “Great Trade-Off Illusion” (Hart 2010, 23) since we believe that we must sacrifice finances to meet social obligations. However, this is not true. We do not need to believe in the make, take, and waste philosophy in a sustainable world. Our lives have become more efficient and we believe in recycling our unwanted items.

When examining at our stuff, I realized that we are part of a non-sustainable consumer-based society. We have extra computer hardware and miscellaneous gadgets for the “just in case days”.

Assessment

  • The first critical step in the sustainability plan is to assess, identify and inventory our lifestyle, activities, and hobbies to determine the associated environmental impacts.

Define Goals and Targets

  • For those actions that have a potential to cause an impact to the environment, I will need to develop goals and targets for the reduction or elimination of the associated negative environmental impacts. I need to maintain balance between my personal lifestyle while taking into account economic, environmental, and social costs and benefits.

Action Plans and Monitoring Plans

  • I will develop an action plan and monitor my family on a daily basis. If such plans need implemented, goals and targets can be edited per my schedule allows. The monitoring plans will measure progress toward meeting sustainability goals.

Implementation Initiatives

  • Each action plan contains implementation initiatives with general actions that will reduce my family’s impact on the environment.

Monitoring Performance

I will use Word documents, along with dates and actions taken to monitor performance.

Goals and Objectives - Realistic and Idealistic

The main goal for this sustainable plan is to get rid of unsustainable products in the house as much as possible, recycle unneeded items, or give away items that we no longer need. Companies and homes are similar; every company has departments, every home has rooms.

Goal 1: Eco-friendly cleaning products

Increase use of 100% environmentally-friendly products by end of FY 2010

Implementation Method:

  • Change laundry detergent to Seventh Generation®, (Seventh Generation 2010) to help with environmentally-friendly ingredients and positive impact on the environment.
  • Hair and body products that is earth-friendly and better on the hair such as Burt’s Bees® Products (Burtsbees 2010).
  • Dawn® dishwashing soap (Dawn-dish 2010) for cleaning dishes and help the wildlife at the same time. Seventh Generation® also produces dish soap.
  • Green Works® All-purpose 97% naturally derived cleaner instead of national brands for cleaning purposes (Green Works 2010).

Goal 2: Energy-efficient

Decrease electricity costs up to 75% by end of FY 2010

Implementation Method:

  • Replace regular light bulbs (incandescent) with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL).
  • We can save more than $40 in electricity costs over its lifetime.
  • Use about 75% less energy than standard incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 10 times longer.
  • Produce about 75% less heat, so it's safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling (Energy Star 2010).
  • Replace regular holiday light bulbs with light-emitting diode (LED) technology (Hart 2010 p 160).
  • LED is extremely energy-efficient (80-90 percent more efficient than incandescent), last 8-10 years, and are durable.

Goal 3: Water Use Efficiency and Management

Obtain healthy drinking water immediately

The mission is to compare Highlands Ranch’s water quality (Highlands Ranch 2009) to a more healthy and environmentally-friendly water, Culligan® (2010) for our water supply.

  • Highlands Ranch treats and monitors its water through fluoride and chlorine, yet it tastes similar to “soap”, which could be caused by either the district water or apartment complex’s pipes.
  • Culligan, on the other hand, uses the Aqua-Cleer® Drinking Water System, the most innovative water filtration system available today. The system features 13 interchangeable water filters that enable the system to be customized to address specific water problems and offers filters that reduce a wide-range of impurities, including sediment, chlorine, lead, radium, and arsenic. We will receive water delivered (20 pound bottles) on a bi-monthly basis. This service will save on the cost of single-serve bottles ($1.00 each) of water and plastic from ending up in landfills, not to mention offers a healthier alternative from drinking sugary drinks.

Goal 4: Downsize and Reduce Goods

Healthier living

The mission is to organize and reduce personal items in the home and garage to better fit our needs and live more functionally by the end of summer 2011. Clutter is visual pollution and tends to keep your mind busy by avoiding life. We need to focus on the important things in life and not on accumulated stuff.

Implementation Method: Organize all items into four categories: Keep, toss, recycle, and donate. Items to be kept: place in container and label. Toss: big garbage bag. Recycling items will need to be separated into paper, metal, cardboard, glass, and plastic. Donated items can be separated by either Goodwill, Cancer Society, Freecycle™ (Yahoo group), and any other organizations.

  • Unwanted vitamins, office supplies, hair products, magazines, food, clothing can be offered on Freecycle™ to provide free items to other family in need.
  • Outdated newspapers and magazines, glass, and plastics can be put in recycle bin to help save on landfills.
  • Donate wigs, hair pieces and accessories to the American Cancer Society to help cancer survivors.
  • Donate fabric to the local hospitals for quilt-making (end of life quilts).

Goal 5: Organize Food

Decrease hoarding for end of FY 2010

Being sustainable means only having enough food that feeds a family now, without hoarding, and giving away excess supply. My husband and I designed an Excel spreadsheet and inputted all of the food supply (canned, boxed, or jars) we possess, organized the food on shelves in order by categories, and will give unwanted food to either food shelters or advertise them on Freecycle™ for others to enjoy. Badly outdated food will either be used immediately or discarded. Foods that are not really necessary will be used up first and not repurchased until we need them for specific meals.

Goal 6: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals

Reduce pollution as a continuous goal

While taking a class on sustainable transportation, one of my assignments was to browse the grocery store’s produce section to learn where and how far fruits and vegetables originated from to arrive at my local store. To my surprise, the major countries include Indonesia and Mexico, but very few from Colorado. This experience taught me to look for locally grown food to be more sustainable.

The goal of organizing our food thereby helps with menu preparation. Also, if food is hidden, it costs money to replace the item and unneeded pollution in the air from driving, when a simple inventory can tell us what we have or haven’t got on hand.

Goal 7: Grow Our Own Vegetables

Healthy bodies

My sustainable plan will include growing my own fruits and vegetables for Spring of 2011. First, my porch will need protected from prying neighbors; chicken wire held my four large wooden sticks will be appropriate. I will purchase various types of vegetation that will grow in a small area (5 x 10 feet) such as tomatoes, lettuce, and bell peppers. My plan will include a watering can, planting dirt, pots, and fertilizer for a safe and happy growth.

Goal 8: Reduce Paper

Clutter and visual pollution

My plan includes organizing paperwork such as past statements and college research, scan important information, shred confidential information, and deposit in recycle bin by Summer 2011.

Resources Needed

The sustainability plan will require the following items: a laptop with an Internet connection, Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, various size bags, cell phone, shredder, and a vehicle (when necessary).

Overall Plan and Timetable

The overall plan and timetable for my sustainable plan will be immediate, continuous, and up to a year to complete, depending on weather and school requirements as well as unforeseen handicaps.

Anticipated Dollar Costs: Short Term, Long Term

The only dollar costs anticipated will be the cost of grocery shopping. All other items I already own, including CFL bulbs and LED Christmas lights. Unanticipated costs will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Environmental Benefits

My sustainable plan will contribute less to landfills and provide other families with extra household items for free. Using environmental-friendly soaps will help with the already eroded sewer systems and any water runoffs that end up in the ocean. Electricity and fuel savings will reduce air pollution significantly. Growing our own vegetables will also reduce fuel (transportation) costs and pollution.

Anticipated Social Benefits

The anticipated social benefits will involve helping people and organizations through household donations. Wigs and hair accessories will help women cancer survivors. Clothing donated to organizations, such as Goodwill, will help train employees, provide jobs, and clothe others in need. Giving to Freecycle™ will provide others in need of food, clothes, and appliances for free.

Largest Potential Obstacles

The largest potential obstacles facing my sustainability plan are time, school, and proper organization. I need to use my time management accordingly in order to re-organize my home and accomplish all of my goals. I will need to schedule my sustainability plan around my college classes. Organization will play an important key in my sustainability plan.

Ideal Outcome

This sustainability plan focuses on nature’s economy since items in my household are going to be reused or recycled, instead of just throwing out items while other people have to rely on the money economy and purchasing nonsustainable products (Hart 2010, 58). The ideal outcome is to decrease my family’s environmental footprint, so that we are using less than one earth instead of three.

References

Burt’s Bees. 2010. Shampoos. http://www.burtsbees.com/natural-products/hair-shampoos/ (accessed October 24, 2010).

Centennial Water and Sanitation District. 2009. 2009 Highlands Ranch water quality report. Highlands Ranch. http://www.highlandsranch.org/
03_p&os/osicfiles/CCR09.pdf
(accessed
November 12, 2010).

Culligan. 2010. Products. http://www.culligan.com/en/faq/. (accessed October 24, 2010).

Dawn. 2010. Products. http://www.dawn-dish.com/en_US/home.do (accessed October 24, 2010).

Energy Star. 2010. Light bulbs (CFLs) for consumers. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product.showProductGroup&pgw_code=LB (accessed October 24, 2010).

Green Works. 2010. All-purpose cleaner. http://www.greenworkscleaners.com/products/all-purpose-cleaner/ (accessed October 24, 2010).

Hart, Stuart. 2010. Capitalism at the crossroads. New Jersey: Wharton School Publishing.

Seventh Generation. 2010. Laundry. http://www.seventhgeneration.com/Green-Cleaning (accessed October 24, 2010).

Critique of The Institute of Museum and Library Services

To: CEQ

From: Julie Malone

Critique of The Institute of Museum and Library Services SSPF
(Submitted as Midterm Examination Paper for University of Denver
graduate seminar 4232 "Sustainability: Policy and Practice," Arthur H.
Purcell, Instructor).

Date: November 24, 2010

Subject: The Institute of Museum and Library Services Sustainability Plan


This is in response to a request from the Executive Office regarding comments on The Institute of Museum and Library Services Sustainability Plan.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums with a mission to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. The IMLS is strongly committed to supporting and complying with the Federal Executive Order 13514 (White House 2009), which mandates agencies to measure, manage, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, along with meeting a number of energy, water, and waste reduction targets for sustainability. As required in the executive order, the agency director has appointed the Chief Information Officer, a member of the senior executive team, to serve as Senior Sustainability Officer (SSO). With that said the IMLS has numerous current and planned initiatives that strongly support sustainability.

The IMLS have set realistic goals and objectives that can be accomplished:

  • Goal 1 Convert to environmentally-green office space

The first goal of greenhouse gas reduction is to develop and maintain an agency comprehensive greenhouse gas inventory, high-performance sustainable design / green buildings, regional and local planning, and water use efficiency and management. The agency manages no fleets nor owns any buildings, but instead leases private office space through a General Service Administration (GSA) long-term lease agreement. IMLS has a staff of approximately 70 FTE’s and 8 contractors, in which all employees and contractors occupy a single floor of leased space and have no field offices. Two years prior to the end of the current lease for office space (2013), the IMLS will initiate a project to find leased space in an Environmentally Green building that will need to meet the minimum requirements of the Executive Order.

The Federal Executive Order 13514 requires a 26% improvement in water efficiency by 2020. IMLS needs to provide information of what the agency plans to do about water use efficiency and management. In comparison, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) uses water-saving devices for potable water sources in their building. ACHP also mentioned having renewable electricity goals as it will take steps to reduce its consumption of non-renewable energy. IMLS needs to follow in ACHP’s steps and push their goals of reducing or converting non-renewable energy to a more efficient type of energy. The Federal Executive Order 13514 is implementing a net-zero-energy building requirement by 2030.

  • Goal 2 Telework, reduce commuting, increase webcasting

For the second goal of greenhouse gas reduction, IMLS will encourage the increasing use of telework by having the Human Resources Director take lead in addressing the existing telework policy to revise it to provide greater flexibility for managers and staff, and review the technology tools used to support remote access.

Note: Nearly 25% of the agency staff telework regularly and will be provided a laptop in lieu of desktop systems and be required to use a virtual private network (VPN) that allows secure remote access from any internet access point. This exchange will be scheduled during the desktop refreshment at the end of FY10 or beginning of FY11.

The IMLS will continue to promote the use of alternative modes of transportation for its commuters other than those that produce greenhouse gases. The agency plans to maintain their current usage level for public transportation, which is at 87% of staff. This percentage is a little lower than the ACHP at 93%, but still a positive move toward helping with greenhouse reduction. This percentage may be lower due to the fact that IMLS encourages employees to telework instead of commuting to work.

IMLS can help reduce greenhouse gases from flying by using webcasting extensively when engaging constituents around the country and reducing staff travel requirements.

The end goal will be to use telework effectively one day per week for at least 50% of all staff over the next three years. This will help the teleworkers balance quality of life and work life, not to mention human factors of less stress and improved personal health. While not measured by the agency, by using increased telework greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced. By having teleworkers it will reduce energy, water and disposable waste that were being wasted by occupied leased office space. While the goal of 50% of all staff teleworking at least one day per week is laudable, to better meet the outlines of Goal 2 and Goal 3 greenhouse gas reductions, this could realistically be increased substantially; potential telework penetration in the IMLS could be 75%-80% of employees’ teleworking up to five days per week without needing to occupy office space through the reduction and/or elimination of paper files, increased use of webcasting, and the use of SmartPhone technologies.

The above goals alone will help the federal target mandate of reducing greenhouse gases (from energy use and other sources) to meet its target of 28% and indirectly by another 13% by 2020, including attributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

IMLS’s CIO office is working with the federal IT community on the Data Center Consolidation Plan and is planning to consolidate the closet data center via interagency agreement or with a private partner over the next two years.

  • Goal 3 Reduce printing and emailing large files

The third goal of greenhouse gas reduction, reduce printing and emailing of large files, will be lead by the Office of the Chief Information.

The new implemented method will be to develop a centralized printing station for groups of 4-5 employees; develop centralized location for posting agency documents and train staff on using a central shared location; set limit for size of internal email attachments, as appropriate.

A printer consolidation plan will be established over the next two years as the agency moves forward with plans to reduce the employee to printer ratio. The current ratio (staff to printer) of standalone printers is 1.1. The goal will be to improve this ratio to 5 to 1 over the next two years. Consolidating printers will help save funds on materials and services and as an expense on the federal budget.

Along with decreased printer use, ACHP increased use of uncoated printing and writing paper containing at least 30% postconsumer fiber (in accordance to the required Executive Order) and reduced in-house printing paper use by changing default settings on distributed printers and copiers to double-sided printing. I would recommend IMLS to add switching paper products and using double-sided printing to save on paper costs to their sustainability goals.

The IMLS Agency Sustainability Plan specifies “Reduce Printing/Emailing of Large Files” under Section 2, Goal 2, Goal B. While the goal mentioned of creating and training employees in the use of a centralized repository for electronic documents is laudable and to be encouraged, it is uncertain how this will reduce or eliminate excess printing of said documents. While emailing large document attachments uses up considerable server storage space and can be seen as a way to prevent having to add additional storage (and hence increase the environmental impact of the electricity consumption as well as the manufacturing, shipping and replacement of said storage), it does not directly address how a centralized storage and retrieval system will prevent employees from printing multiple copies of the same documents, which is the idea behind Sec. 2(e)(iv) of the Executive Order. It is recommended that the IMLS Plan be modified to provide more detail on how policies will be implemented to reduce printing of documents unnecessarily, whether through emailed attachments or a centralized repository.

  • Goal 4 Recycling

The Federal Executive Order 13514 requires 50% recycling and waste diversion by 2015. IMLS has a recycling program in place in coordination with building management and has recycling bins stationed throughout the office space. The IMLS will continue to promote its current recycling program. This is an excellent program that most agencies use including ACHP.

Steps to implement this plan will include the following:

  • Training on the sustainability plan will be provided for all staff during the next year, and the approved plan will be posted on the agency website.
  • The agency director has appointed the Chief Information Officer, a member of the senior leadership team, as the Senior Sustainability Officer (SSO) who will be responsible for overall management of the plan and the related efforts.
  • The executive leadership team will be briefed throughout the year by the agency’s SSO on progress, issues, and other factors affecting the plan. The SSO and other members of the executive leadership team will have a statement incorporated into their performance plans identifying their roles in supporting agency sustainability goals.

The executive leadership team will be responsible for reviewing, prioritizing, and determining which agency policies will need updating to reflect initiatives related to sustainability.

  • The executive leadership team will be responsible for ensuring that all goals of this plan are integrated into agency projects and plans as appropriate.
  • The executive leadership team will be responsible for ensuring that all budgetary needs related to this plan are integrated into agency budget submissions.
  • Agency sustainability goals with associated metrics will be updated every six months to measure against past performance and planned goals.

In order to implement the goals of the sustainability plan, The IMLS executive leadership team will own the responsibility for effective implementation of EO 13514. The team will consist of the agency Director, the Deputy Director for Library Programs, the Deputy Director for Museum Programs and Strategic Partnerships, the Deputy Director for the Office of Policy, Planning, Research and Communications, the Chief of Staff, the General Counsel, the Chief Financial Officer, the Director of Human Resource, and the Chief Information Officer.

When it comes to budgeting there are always holes that need to be filled or adjusted. For example, as I mentioned earlier, there will be an expense for laptops and VPN’s for the teleworkers in the end of FY10 or the beginning FY11; costs will depend on individual needs and responsibilities, such as a particular software license or upgrade. Time will be the judge on any additional expenditure in the budget.

As for building usage, IMLS should show a decrease in water usage and electricity. I believe the IMLS sustainability plan has potential of accomplishing its requirements as long as executive leadership team meet regularly, keep focused on the plan, and educate employees accordingly. It is my opinion that IMLS can mesh with other agencies quite well considering all of the agencies are working toward the same sustainability goal.

While comparing IMLS to ACHP, I noticed that both agencies have an overall similarity of sustainability plans. It was mentioned that the GSA is focusing on an overall “Zero Environmental Impact” goal. IMLS can stride to accomplish this goal but it will take time for the agency to comply.

References:

The White House. 2010. Advisory council on historic preservation. http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/sustainability/
plans
(accessed
October 16, 2010).

The White House. 2010. Federal leadership in environmental, energy and economic performance - executive order 13514. http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ceq/sustainability (accessed November 16, 2010).

The White House. 2010. Institute of museum and library services agency Sustainability Plan. http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/
eop/ceq/sustainability/plans
(accessed
October 16, 2010).