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Green alternatives for corporations outside don't just stop at the roof though. Natural landscaping can be used to reduce irrigation requirements. Roof drainage can be reclaimed, along with storm runoff, to be used in irrigation.
For corporations that utilize refrigeration systems, these should be retrofitted to reduce or eliminate chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, as part of corporate environmental responsibility. In their place, natural systems, utilizing ammonia or carbon dioxide, produce no ozone depleting effect nor have components associated with global warming. Central refrigeration systems should be designed for ease of disassembly, so that individual components can be replaced, as needed, instead of the entire piece of equipment needing to be replaced ("Greener'").
Both interior and exterior lighting are excellent areas to target for environmentally and ecologically ethical alternatives, for corporations in the 21st century. Light fixtures can be replaced with high-efficiency units. or, organizations may with to simply install high-efficiency bulbs in existing units, to realize energy savings. Minimizing exterior lighting to ground lighting for safety purposes can make a significant impact as well. Occupancy sensors and daylight sensors can help reduce the interior light loads. Occupancy sensors automatically switch on lighting when movement is sensed and turn it off when the room is unoccupied. Daylight sensors, as the name implies, sense natural daylight and automatically dim or brighten lighting depending on the level of ambient lighting available. Each of these alternatives reduce electricity usage, results in reduced energy costs, and reduces the impact electricity generation has on the environment ("Greener'").
Looking at water usage is another alternative corporations can utilize to be more environmentally and ecologically responsible. Thousands of gallons of water can be conserved with the use of low-flow fixtures on sinks and showers. Dual-flush valves on toilets and waterless urinals also can result in significant water savings. These use a sealant liquid to prevent odor, without the use of flush water. Waterless urinals not only reduce water usage but also realize lower sewage and maintenance costs. As mentioned earlier, reclaiming water, such as roof runoff, can be used for irrigation, but also can be used for flush toilets ("Greener'").
A variety of other small initiatives can be employed as environmentally and ecologically ethical alternatives for corporations. Recycling is one alternative that employees will be most familiar with. Not only should recycling containers and areas be set up within the facility, but during any construction or demolition, materials during the process should be recycled as much as possible. Regional materials should be used when possible, to reduce energy utilized by transportation. Cleaning products with minimal volatile organic compound levels can minimize air pollution, as can a corporate-wide no smoking policy ("Greener'"). All of these alternatives can lead to not only enhanced benefits for the environment, but also promote an environmentally responsible image for the corporation, which can then be utilized to differentiate it from the competition, resulting in a win-win situation for everyone.
Regretfully, recent corporate scandals have shaken much of the public's faith in corporate America. With this knowledge, and the knowledge that unrestrained human expansion has led to troubling economic consequences, it is not surprising that corporations are beginning to step forward and take a lead role in the protection of the environment. Corporate environmental responsibility has seen this environmental stewardship begin to transfer from the hands of government, to the hands of the private sector. With a need to measure the costs and benefits of environmentally responsible business strategies, and to facilitate future decision making, the framework of green accounting has been developed. Nations including China, India and Sweden have embraced green accounting and have begun to utilize it to not only further green initiatives, but also advance economic growth. The United States, however, lags behind its international brethren, with most industries still waiting for nationally accepted green accounting guidelines. In the meantime, corporations are moving forward with environmentally and ecologically ethical alternatives. These alternatives run the gamut. Simple alternatives include changing light bulbs in current light fixtures to utilize high efficiency bulbs, using thermostat setbacks in offfice spaces, installing motion-controlled or daylight sensors to control lighting, or the use of low VOC cleaning fluids. More extensive alternatives include implementing LEED-certified building technologies for new facilities to minimize the carbon footprint a new building creates, installing water reclamation systems to be utilized in irrigation or toilets, or installing a planted roof, to minimize the building's effect on the microclimate and wildlife. Whether corporations adopt small initiatives or large initiatives, the effect is one more step towards a new corporate world where environmental responsible is an integral part of corporate governance.
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