CLOQUET, Minn. (11/23/10)--Changes in building and business practices in an effort to reach a zero net balance in carbon emissions have resulted in an annual savings of $13,200 at Members Cooperative CU (Duluth News Tribune
Nov. 17). “We’ve discovered that making changes that are friendly to the environment are also friendly to our bottom line,” said Ralph Hamann, vice president and chief financial officer at the $288.5 million credit union. “We have more work to do, but we are on our way to becoming a carbon-neutral organization.” The Cloquet, Minn.-based credit union:
* Switched to a more efficient lighting at its Cloquet branch office (savings: $1,800 a year in electrical costs); * Switched from compressed-air keyboard cleaners to vacuum-style keyboard cleaners (savings: $800, plus harmful hydroflourocarbons aren’t released into the environment); and * Installed a sophisticated heating, ventilation and cooling system in the credit union’s 8,000-square-foot call center; the system pulls heat from the call center’s data servers and sends it to employees’ work stations, cutting heating costs to less than $150 per month in winter (savings: $10,000 per year).
Although Members Cooperative CU started making sustainable practices a priority in 2004, it boosted efforts this year after staff completed seven months of training with Sustainable Twin Ports, a nonprofit grassroots group dedicated to furthering sustainability through education, networking and action.