Tag Archives: Earth Week

Is Sustainability Only About Going Green?

Earth day sustainabilityBy David Karwaski

Sustainability is often thought of as “going green,” or being largely focused on natural environmental effects. Photos of polar bears on tiny flotsam of ice come to mind. But the natural environment is only part of the story—one-third of it, in fact. The other two-thirds are social sustainability and fiscal sustainability. Thus, the story isn’t to go green at any cost, but rather to be as green as one can afford to be while keeping an eye towards fairness and equity for people. This openness to all can also provide benefits to the bottom line; a more wide-ranging client base is often better for business than serving a narrow niche. The thought that should come to mind regarding sustainability is balance. Sustainability is indeed a balancing act—a dance between being green and earning green, with open arms to all.

Further, sustainability isn’t the icing on the cake—an add-on outside the primary business model of a parking operation or mobility services company, trotted out to display commitment to a better world. Sustainability should be part of the cake—the eggs, perhaps—integral to the entire operation and considered at each decision point; does this investment create more impact; is it an efficient investment, perhaps reducing energy usage; and does it serve customers well? LED lighting projects for parking structures is a good example of a triple win: LEDs save energy and thus eliminate some GHG emissions and after a payback period, will also help the bottom line while providing a better environment for people to move through. So the next time you hear about sustainability, remember that it’s a balancing act, for you and for your company, not just the polar bears.

David Karwaski is senior associate director, events and transportation, at UCLA. This post is part of a five-day series commemorating Earth Day 2020.


Making the Switch

Earth day sustainabilityBy Conor Burke

“This is not normal.” This quote has been used in many aspects of our lives the last few years, and COVID-19 has made sure this phrase will be with us in the foreseeable future.

As an industry, parking and mobility has been trending to be more green-friendly.

There are a multitude of ways these statements—being more sustainable and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic—are coming together. One manner should be fairly obvious: cleaning our facilities. The recent focus on washing our hands for 20 seconds and disinfecting high-traffic areas should have all professionals looking at their stocks of supplies and thinking about the surfaces customers touch all the time. Switching to certified green-friendly cleaning products can be easy to implement into your facilities. The green certification on these products was earned by having the product tested and quantified from toxicity limits to the energy used to produce them.

Certified cleaning products can help combat the spread of germs and help keep our employees safe in a more eco-friendly way. Parking and mobility professionals should make the conscious switch to green-friendly cleaning products and turn these higher standards into the industry norm.

Conor Burke is operations manager with VPNE Parking Solutions. This post is part of a five-day series commemorating Earth Day 2020.