5 Tips for Reducing Waste in the Office

It’s officially Verde’s favorite day of the year: Earth Day!  While we’ve already helped hundreds of company’s reduce their energy consumption, we thought we would go a step further and help businesses with tips on how to reduce waste in general at work.  Happy readings!

Tip #1: Use reusable mugs and dishware in the office

CupLeaving/supplying reusable mugs and dishware in the office is a great way to avoid the disposables and adds some fun personality in the workplace.  At our office in Ravenswood we have ample supply of really anything you could need during lunch along with a cabinet full of fun and goofy mugs for anyone to use.  (P.S. Many coffee shops also give you a discount for bringing in your own cup.  Looking trendy and saving some dough on your espresso?  No-brainer.)  Here’s a picture of just one of the many gems in our office:

Tip #2: Composting at work

If you step foot into the Verde office’s kitchen you’ll find three bins: a recycling bin, a garbage bin, and a green bin with a lid — the compost bin!  A few months ago Verde utilized the help of Urban Canopy to begin composting any of our food scraps.  The process is simple and leaves everyone in the office feeling a tad less guilty when we happen to find the occasional fuzzy fruit at the back of the fridge.  

Tip #3: Get an energy audit of your building

Outside of the Verde staff, we generally assume that most people don’t think about the energy consumption from the appliances around them like lights and HVAC units, but they should!  Oftentimes (especially in old buildings), there are huge savings to addressing these energy issues while also reducing your carbon footprint.  Verde’s assessments are always free, but we’re offering a special deal right now of 10% off your project when you book an assessment in April.  It’s a feel good action for you and the planet.  Click on the image below to start the process.  You won’t want to wait, the 10% off deal doesn’t last forever!

Tip #4: You’ll never know what you’re wasting the most of unless you look!  Conduct a waste audit

It’s hard to change if you don’t know the details on what you’re changing exactly, so gain some insight by conducting a waste audit.  If you notice a lot of items that you can easily transition out or change to reusables (plastic utensils, cups, unnecessary packaging, etc.) then you can start making the conscious effort to change.

Tip #5: Screen Saver?  More like power-drainer.

For your computer, opt for your screen to automatically power down after a certain time of inactivity.  Not only does this help save a bit of energy, but it’s also better for your screen.  Bam, double-win.

Bringing Energy Efficiency to Park Ridge

About 30 minutes outside the office is Park Ridge, located in Cook County, where we went for our outreach week.  Being proud members of the Park Ridge Chamber of Commerce, we decided to to hit the streets of this great place to let business owners know about not only us, but about the energy efficiency program!  

We started our day at the Allegro Coffee that’s held within the Whole Foods.  There was ample seating for our team (a must when you have a 5-6 person team) and the natural lighting that came in through the huge windows made the area an ideal place to get together.  After the team was fully caffeinated and clear on the plan for the day, we went out in our teams throughout the town.

Both teams were able to meet and talk with a lot of the business owners about the energy efficiency program and the benefits (one guy told us he had just heard of the program last week and had wanted to look into it, what great timing!).  We were also happy to hear that a good amount of people had already heard of the program AND taken advantage of the incentive money.  When that is the case we like to ask business owners how they are liking the switch so far, is the light bright enough, and to hear any other comments they may have.  Constantly improving and learning is something we are a bit addicted to you might say.

The team was able to do some assessments at an auto shop, lawn care business, and many other businesses (we even poked our heads into the Park Ridge Public Works).  We covered a lot of ground, leaving us pretty hungry.  When lunchtime hit, we made our way over to Cafe Orchid for lunch.  Cafe Orchid offers a great selection of Mediterranean food at a more than reasonable price.  

The team hit the pavement for a few more hours, talking to owners of businesses big and small.  Being in the neighborhood, we stopped by one of our analyst’s first projects with Verde, that being the flower store Kiko’s Flowers and Gifts.  Walking in you immediately are greeted with the pleasant smell of fresh flowers (not to mention some great lighting as well) and kind, personable conversation from all who work there.  With time coming to a close for us on our outreach day, we said our goodbyes and made our way to our final destination for debrief: Harp & Fiddle.

Keeping with our tradition of tasty beers for our debriefings, we met at Harp & Fiddle to discuss the day.  With a wide variety of beers from all over, everyone was able to grab something they liked as we discussed outreach and ways to improve for next week.  The atmosphere was cozy and the space was perfect for our team meeting needs.  Will definitely stop back in when we return to Park Ridge!

Bringing Energy Efficiency to Ukrainian Village and East Village

We’re in our third month of outreach and our team is loving the ability to explore all throughout Cook County and the greater Chicagoland area.  This week we decided to increase our workload by going to not only one but two towns: East Village and Ukrainian Village (we made it kind of easy on us though by making them right next to each other, we like to carpool).  We met as a team for breakfast at the Sunrise Cafe where we filled up on omelets and caffeine while we prepped for the day.  

The team working throughout Ukrainian Village went to multiple places and were able to assess the energy efficiency of a car wash, toy store, and health grocer (the analysts took a brief break at the toy store to check out puzzles for research purposes…).  The team at East Village was able to assess some of the businesses within the area, writing up reports to later let them know their total savings if they switched to energy-efficient options.  The reports are extremely accurate, using actual data from that business to show them the savings available and the ROI.

Usually we debrief at a place we have never been before to check out new places (and brews!), but we couldn’t pass up going to Forbidden Root, one of our customers and one of our favorite brewery spots.  Many of us had never been there before, so taking in the menu was an experience in itself.  From Strawberry Basil beer to Rosé beer, we definitely had a lot of unique options.  Waldo, the bartender taking care of us, did a wonderful job making suggestions for us and making us feel comfortable with the beer list.  We were also lucky enough to run into Patrick, the owner, and see how the new energy-efficient add-ons were doing and how he liked them.  Ensuring customer happiness is one of the most important aspects to us — before, during, and after installation.  

Having our fill of beer, we made our way back to our homes to get ready for next week’s outreach!

Bringing Energy Efficiency to Andersonville


Our outreach in Andersonville was a new experience for our team since we were able to work with a town that already promotes energy efficiency within its businesses.  We were lucky enough to meet with David Oakes, the Business Service Manager of Andersonville, at The Coffee Studio and discuss what we do and learn more about their efforts for efficiency.  While sipping some delicious coffee, we were able to learn a lot about the values of the town and the active and involved community (by the end of the talk we were already planning to move there.  Anyone looking for some roommates?).  

After learning about the area, we decided to grab some breakfast at m. henry and oh my word this place is a dream.  The area is cozy and spacious, the staff is kind and quick, and the food is not only aesthetically beautiful but purely delicious.  To prove that point simply feast your eyes on what their blackberry blisscakes look like below.  Truly a work of art. 

alt=”blackberry blisscakes”>After our morning coffee and breakfast, we got to work on bringing energy efficiency to Andersonville.  We were able to go into a lot of really unique businesses, such as The Brown ElephantGeorge’s Ice Cream and Sweets, and Cheetah Gym.  We were able to talk to a lot of business owners about how the combination of the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program and the Andersonville grant could help them tremendously with the transition to energy efficient options for their business.  We were so happy that we were able to inform hard working business people of ways for them to save money and invest their money into business growth, not their electricity bill. 

Bringing Energy Efficiency to Lincoln Park

Last Thursday, on one of the more beautiful days weather-wise in Chicago, our team of experts met in Lincoln Park, for week six of outreach.  We all met at the Bourgeois Pig Cafe in order to fuel-up before hitting the road.  The cafe has a very comfortable, homey vibe that is not only a caffeine-addicts dream, but has food options as well!  It’s basically a one-stop-shop for all your working needs in Lincoln Park.  

Splitting into two groups, the outreach groups went business-to-business to let spread the word on energy efficiency.  We were able to cover a lot of ground in the time we had, talking with business owners of a thrift store, body shop, and even a few apartment building owners (don’t forget, apartment buildings qualify for ComEd incentive money as well!). 

After a successful day in the beautiful Lincoln Park area, we ended our day at HopCat for some beer and their famous crack fries.  Full and content, we dispersed back home, re-charging for next weeks outreach adventure!

Did you know we made an energy efficiency checklist for businesses in Cook County that is filled with ways to save money on your energy bill?

Bringing Energy Efficiency to West Ridge

Our fifth outreach took place down Devon Ave in West Ridge, the heart of Chicago’s Indian and Pakistani communities.  We loved taking in the rich culture and bright colors everywhere as we tried to raise awareness to business owners about energy efficiency.

Devon Avenue is home to a few of our already customers, including Raj Jewels and Punjab Sweets.  We are also happy to announce that Devon Avenue was our best outreach day yet!  We were able to talk to a lot of business owners who were very receptive to how energy efficiency could help their business, both aesthetically and financially.  

To end our day we ate at  Udupi Palace, one of our customers.  We absolutely love showing love to our customers, after all, they are basically family!  The food was unbelievable, with us all trying different things on the menu.  From curry to vegetable uttappam, we definitely did not leave hungry.  If you’re looking for a welcoming, friendly environment with great priced and tasting food, we highly recommend checking out Udupi Palace!

Bellies full, we left Devon Avenue and headed home.  We will be back, however, to check in on the great businesses of West Ridge and to keep helping the businesses of Chicagoland save money $$.

Know a neighborhood or business in Cook County (or even your own business!) that could use our expert help? 

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Verde Energy Efficiency Expert 1801 W Berteau Ave, Suite 202
Chicago, IL 60613

T (779) 333-0821


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