Going Green at JW
Jackson Walker is committed to protecting the environment and preserving resources. The firm's ongoing efforts to reduce the impact of our business on the planet include:
Our Austin Office is managed by CBRE, which is currently conducting a preliminary audit for LEED certification. CBRE has participated in Energy Star since 2002 and is also working towards being carbon neutral by 2010. As a part of these efforts, CBRE plans to seek the Energy Star Award. The building that houses our Houston office, Five Houston Center, has the Energy Star Award and is working toward LEED certification. The Weston Centre, where our San Antonio office is located, is working towards both the Energy Star and LEED certification. The Bank of America Plaza, where we have our Dallas office, has an Energy Star rating of 89.
ABA-EPA Climate Challenge Partners
Several of Jackson Walker's offices have met the standards to become Law Office Climate Challenge Partners in a program created by the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Law offices can participate in the Climate Challenge by joining one of three EPA standards programs (WasteWise, Green Power, or ENERGY STAR) or by adopting best practices for office paper management, including ensuring that 90 percent of paper products used have at least 30 percent post-consumer recycled content, recycling at least 90 percent of discarded paper products, and instituting double-sided printing and copying practices. So far, Jackson Walker's Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Angelo offices have been named Partners in this Challenge by adopting best practices for paper management. The San Antonio office is currently in the process of pursuing Partner status for the Challenge.
All JW offices have replaced styrofoam cups with environmentally friendly cups. The firm's cold drink cups are made of polyactide, a material that is derived from corn. In addition to being biodegradable, this material uses 68 percent less fossil fuel than plastic in its production. The firm's hot drink cups are made with 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber. They are also biodegradable.
More than a decade ago, our Austin office was re-lamped to high efficiency lighting and ballast. In that office we are currently investigating newer types of lighting and technologies. In our Dallas office, our standard building fixtures are reduced mercury lamps, and we are currently evaluating the re-lamping of incandescent lights to fluorescents. Our Houston office relies on energy efficient T8 light bulbs. Additionally, in both Austin and San Antonio, we use motion sensors to minimize lighting usage.
Several years ago, our Austin office installed water-saving commodes and flush valves, which effectively reduced water usage by 50%. Our Dallas office uses variable frequency drives on cooling towers, which save water by controlling evaporation more accurately. These cooling towers are separately metered. In our San Antonio office, the restrooms have automatic flush valves to control water consumption. Our Houston office is currently considering motion controlled faucets.
We are now using recycled paper in all JW offices. The firm is also reviewing our current printer fleet with the intent of incorporating duplex printing where possible. Additionally, the firm discourages the duplication of many internal documents such as phone lists, maps, internal newsletters and other publications. These documents are now distributed electronically via e-mail and through postings on the firm's intranet, which allows employees the same easy access without the waste of printing hard copies.
We participate in building recycling efforts in each of our locations. Our Austin office building has had an active recycling program in place for years. Our Dallas office building recycles batteries as well as "anything that tears." Our Houston office building also has an active recycling program, and our San Antonio office building has a program for recycling fluorescent lights.
Our Austin office participates in Austin Energy's "Load Profiler" program, which allows us to monitor our energy use. Through the program, we can pinpoint unusual or unnecessary loads and react accordingly to control our energy use. Our Austin office has also implemented on-demand cooling. Our Dallas building is being retrofitted to direct digital control for HVAC, while in our Houston office, our HVAC is adjusted for optimum efficiency. In our San Antonio office, the building management is installing an automation system to monitor equipment energy consumption.
In addition to the referenced building actions, we intend to explore, through each of our property managers, the option to raise the base temperature in the firm's space as a means to reduce energy consumption.
Waste Reduction Actions
We eliminated the use of bottled water in conference rooms and break rooms several years ago. We commonly reuse and recycle general office supplies, including three-ring binders, boxes, file folders and packing materials for outbound shipments.
In order to encourage use of mass transit, Jackson Walker currently offers its employees monthly mass transit passes at a discounted rate.
When purchasing new furniture, we take into consideration whether the pieces are made with recyclable materials. As we undergo renovations and other changes in the future, we will continue to expand these practices.
Jackson Walker works with its various suppliers and vendors to determine when more environmentally friendly products may be substituted for existing products. This includes products such as general office supplies and refreshment and vending supplies.
Jackson Walker's management team is committed to identifying and implementing additional procedures and processes that will effectively reduce our firm's carbon footprint. We are proactively seeking more environmentally friendly options for handling our current needs and as we expand and grow, future decisions and plans will be evaluated for their environmental impact.