CH2M HILL, a global consulting, design, construction, and operations firm, has decreased per employee paper usage 21 percent between 2006 and 2008 and increased electronic waste recycling by almost 4 percent in 2008, according to the company’s 2009 Sustainability Report (PDF).
Here are some highlights of the company’s environmental performance activities.
Recycling is a top priority companywide: 92 percent of its offices have recycling programs for general items and 97 percent have materials reuse programs. The company recycled 69,830 pounds of electronic waste in 2008, up from 67,161 pounds in 2007.
Over the past two years CH2M HILL has purchased renewable energy credits to offset 15 percent of the company’s North American offices’ total electrical consumption. Nearly 80 percent of the company’s workforce is in North America.
The headquarters campus in Denver consumed 37,806 GJ of electricity in 2008, up from 37,203 in 2007, although it is down from 29,129 GJ in 2005. It’s important to note that the company added more than 10,000 square meters of building space in 2007. The campus produced 9,215 tons of CO2 equivalent in 2008, up from 9,068 tons of CO2e in 2007 and 7,100 tons of CO2e in 2005.
The company is implementing measures to reduce CO2 emissions as well as fuel consumption. As an example, at CH2M HILL’s North Slope operations in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, where engines have to run on high idle to remain functional due to average winter temperatures of -10 and -20 degrees F, the company is building two 21,000-sq.-ft. membrane buildings for the warm storage of vehicles and equipment, which will keep the buildings at 40 degrees F. The company says this will save about 850,000 gallons of ultra-low-sulfate diesel fuel per year, reduce GHG emissions by 9,500 tons of CO2 annually, and reduce maintenance costs by $300,000, based on engine hour reductions.
The North American office operations also set new EMS targets for 2009. These include decreasing paper use per person by 10 percent, expanding e-waste recycling to 90 percent of offices, establishing environmental procurement criteria for 55 percent of all enterprise agreements, and increasing recycled paper purchasing rate to 77 percent.
At the headquarter campus, the aim is to reduce total electricity use by 5 percent, and purchase wind power equivalent for 10 percent of the total electricity consumption on campus.
The company also wants to reduce leased footprint by 5 percent based on square footage through teleworking and mobile workforce development, increase full- and part-time teleworkers by 20 percent and reduce greenhouse gas impacts of overhead travel by 50 percent.
In the area of real estate, the North American operations wants to increase the rating of sustainability criteria for new CH2M HILL sites to 70 percent using the Real Estate Sustainability rating sheet and increase the rating of sustainable finishes in new real estate projects or remodels to 77 percent also using the Real Estate Sustainability rating sheet.
Some of the company’s latest client projects are also helping to reduce CO2 emissions and save water. As an example, CH2M Hill helped save $200 million at one of the U.S. Department of Defense’s largest cleanup sites and reduced CO2 emissions by 4,500 tons annually by implementing innovative remediation technologies
The company is also working with the U.S. Department of Energy to help 25 cities accelerate the adoption of solar energy, and is designing a system that will divert 650 million to 1.3 billion gallons daily of fresh water from the Mississippi River to restore Bayou Lafourche.
Other projects include quantifying ecosystem services for Damascus, Oregon, identifying sustainable ways for an Australian water utility to add 7-13 million gallons per day of potable water to its drought-stricken supply while reducing operating energy and chemical usage, and designing a LEED Silver certified hangar for the U.S. Air Force that will cut energy use by 42 percent and offer a savings of $60,000 annually.