Written by: Chelsea Franza
Living on the beautiful central coast has given Blue Roo a new perspective and love for the place we all call home so he wanted to find a special way to celebrate Earth Day. Blue couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than to visit RRM Design Group, a local design group of architects, civil engineers, landscape architects, planners, surveyors, and LEED accredited professionals that focus on sustainability.
Blue Roo had a great time visiting with RRM Design Group CEO Erik Justesen and IT Manager Nepal Plummer. Justesen said “what is a sustainable company? Its two elements: doing sustainable things and having a sustainable business unit.” RRM is just that, not only do they design buildings and environments that are sustainable and in some cases LEED certified, their own offices are LEED EB certified. LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environment Design is a green building program where anything from homes or offices, to neighborhoods can become certified for green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. In RRM’s case they have become LEED EB certified or LEED for an existing building. In 2000 they moved into the old Hinds factory and immediately started to implement sustainable practices. By 2008 RRM was LEED EB certified, an extensive process to retrofit their existing building to be as sustainable and efficient as possible. “Sustainability is a smart business move,” says Justesen, “you have to pay attention to the little stuff.” Becoming a sustainable company and building is an investment but your savings year to year will far out way any initial costs.
Blue Roo with Nepal and Erick of RRM Design Group.
RRM’s investment in sustainability saves approximately $13,000 a year by incorporating the following practices in their business: reducing energy use, providing employees with extensive recycling programs, water use efficiency programs saving 94,000 gallons of water a year (the equivalent of 24 pools), encouraging employees to bike or drive hybrid vehicles, and so much more. RRM has incorporated multiple practices to reduce energy use including: large bay windows surrounding the office providing natural lighting for employees and circulating fresh air from the outside to keep the office cool. Many of these changes not only reduce energy use but improve the quality of the work environment at the same time. Special plaques line the office walls outlining the steps they have taken to retrofit their building and implement smart sustainable practices.
Plaques like these line the walls of the RRM Design Group offices.
If other businesses would like to take steps to become sustainable and implement green practices, Justesen recommends visiting the SLO Green Business section of the SLO Chamber website. To celebrate Earth Day, Blue Roo hopes everyone has the chance to get outside, let out a little cock-a-doodle-do, and enjoy the SLO life!
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