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What happens when 4,000 people commit to Getting to Zero?

April 23, 2018

By Rachel Bannon-Godfrey

In the spirit of Earth Day, our Stantec Buildings group committed to reduce our daily impact on the Earth; how did we do?

In connection with Earth Day, the Stantec Buildings group committed to Getting to Zero last week, and together we made an impact. Our collective zero goal aimed to reduce our daily impact in the areas of energy, carbon, water, and waste.

A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a first step, and everyone who answered the challenge either took a first step or reminded us that we are already well on our way. The Stantec Buildings group made nearly 4,000 individual commitments to Getting to Zero in one aspect of our daily routine or another, from finding an alternative to the plastic bags in our life, to holding off on running that washing machine for one more night.

We potentially saved 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) of water and 225 pounds (100 kilograms) of plastic over the course of the week.

An overwhelming amount of individual commitments were to reducing water waste and plastic usage, meaning we potentially saved 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) of water—a week’s worth of clean drinking water for 6,000 people—and 225 pounds (100 kilograms) of plastic over the course of the week.

Our team of professionals showed their proven commitment to sustainability by affirming they are already actively engaging in a number of green practices. They also offered their own ideas for Getting to Zero, including teaching others by talking to their city representatives and local restaurants about waste-reduction methods and reminding their colleagues to use BIM software’s review/markup options to avoid printing. Word of mouth is the most effective way we can grow a movement, so please keep talking and teaching.

Here are some of the top commitments from our team:

  1. I will turn off the water while I brush my teeth.
  2. I will bring reusable bags when I go shopping.
  3. I will wait until my laundry basket is full before running the washing machine.

Here are some of the most popular suggestions from our Stantec Buildings team for how we can all help in the goal of Getting to Zero:

  • When showering, place a bucket in the shower with you to collect water before it goes down the drain. Use it to water your indoor and outdoor plants.
  • Ditto for water used to wash vegetables or cook pasta. Keep a pot in your sink and save all that water for your plants.
  • Didn’t quite finish your glass of water? Don’t throw it down the drain, use it to water your plants.
  • At home, use the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down” method for reducing water use. (This was a popular suggestion!)
  • Use your phone camera to keep records electronically or digitally.
  • Save paper by using a digital grocery list app and keep a digital recipe library.
  • And, finally, one person said they would grow a beard instead of shaving, thus saving hot running water. Curious minds want to know: Did you?

Enjoy the suggestions. Try to implement one or two. And remember every week should—and could—be Earth week.

  • Rachel Bannon-Godfrey

    As part of the Corporate Sustainability team, Rachel leads our global social and environmental sustainability integration. Applying the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal framework, she helps our global experts become leaders in climate solutions.

    Contact Rachel
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