PowerFlex’s Sustainability Initiative (ESSI) Group

Ella Wynn

In the fall of 2018, several PowerFlex employees began an internal environmental group, the PowerFlex Sustainability Initiative (ESSI). Our mission is to make the day-to-day actions of PowerFlex's employees more sustainable by providing a forum for people to propose and execute internal sustainability initiatives. We foster an environmentally-conscious culture that aligns with the company's broader goal of promoting environmental responsibility through solar energy.We have already accomplished several notable sustainability goals and piloted successful company activities and programs in the span of a few months. Our initial goals were threefold: to increase energy conservation and efficiency at our office locations, to decrease office waste and utilize more recycled materials and to participate in environmental community service.We began to implement simple energy conservation techniques at our headquarters in Manhattan. Since our office already operates with LED lighting, we further encouraged sustainable lighting usage by turning out the lights in unused areas and at the end of the day. We also installed programmable timers for our display TVs that controls turning them off and on at designated times.To decrease office waste, we have implemented ways to reduce and recycle on a daily basis. A “zero-waste” lunch is one of the ways we are working to curtail garbage creation. As a part of this initiative, we have invested in reusable food containers that we bring to local food vendors, who are happy to save on disposable container fees as well. We also discourage the use of plastic bags, disposable napkins and plastic utensils (our office has a supply of silverware). Recycling became another important part of increasing our office sustainability. We replaced the paper in our printers with ones made from 100% recycled materials and clearly marked areas in the office to recycle mixed paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, glass and cartons. Additionally, we have been piloting a TerraCycle initiative that enables us to recycle waste, such as snack wrappers and soft plastics, that cannot be recycled through standard municipal programs.On top of our internal office efforts, ESSI is externally focused as well. We care about the city in which we work and many of us live. To benefit the greater community while getting in some team bonding, we volunteer at Fort Tyron Park with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The group spends the day at the park helping maintain the grounds by painting facilities, cleaning designated areas and gardening. We are now in our second year and hope to pursue more volunteering opportunities like this one in the future.These are the goals that we were able to tackle in just a few months. We are continually working on sourcing sustainable materials for our offices and to use in our projects, as well as retiring our renewable energy certificates (RECs) and buying carbon offsets to compensate for our travel emissions. In addition to these quantifiable goals, we also want to plan more nature trips to appreciate the beautiful outdoors that we are trying to preserve. As we grow as a group and set new goals for ourselves, we hope to make PowerFlex the “greenest” company it can be.On behalf of ESSI and PowerFlex, Happy Earth Day 2019!