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    Entries in Green Business (3)


    Recycle Bank Quantifying Green



    Written by Dr. Tyra Oldham

    November 22, 2011


    Green companies as did search and open source are pushing the boundaries of innovation for environmental outcomes.  Recyclebank has open doors to sustainable integration for commercialization.  “Motivating Everyday Green Behavior With Real Reward” from PSFK brings attention to the green development of service solutions.


    “In 2005, Recyclebank took its first steps by launching a pilot home recycling rewards program in Philadelphia.”

    “Today, Recyclebank has millions of members in the United States and the United Kingdom, and with our recent acquisition of Greenopolis in October 2011, they became the leading online recycling rewards program in North America.”

    Recyclebank is an online platform that rewards individuals with points and cash rebates for making environmentally conscious decisions both on and offline. Users register with the site and can commit to a number of pledges that include using less energy, increasing their at home recycling, or learning how they can be more environmentally friendly in their neighborhood. The platform rewards every-day decisions with grocery store savings, drugstore coupons, and discounts from participating brands”.

    PSFK states, companies such as, “Kashi and Ziploc have really pioneered their partnership to motivate people to recycle their packaging.” 

    “Recyclebank motivates people and communities to take everyday green actions, such as recycling, saving energy, taking more sustainable transportation or learning about how to live greener lives.  We offer points to our members each time they take one of these actions, which they can then redeem for rewards. And today, we have more than 3,000 local and national rewards partners in our roster, including companies like Ziploc®, AVEENO®, Kashi® and Brita®.”

    The goal of these green companies spurs environmental concerns amidst profit. The objective to generate ideas around waste reduction to spur collaborative agreement on energy, lifecycle, recycling and conservation is a company worth watching.

    The opportunity is not only for the large corporate structures but within small to midsize companies to participate which is the larger impact. It is great on the books to show Ziploc and Kashi but in reality small companies are the largest pool of companies in the marketplace.

    Recylebank has to draw down and determine is recycling growth the focus or the investment push. Companies like Recyclebank are big targets for the VC’s and investment companies. As of ole’ innovation companies have been powered by the investment capital than sales growth.

    “Recyclebank realized early on that the digital medium would be key in motivating people on a mass scale to change their behaviors.”

    The larger sea of opportunity is to convert companies to the recycle way to bring about green mindshift thinking to produce sustainable companies that will be the employers and innovators in business. The issue is with the vast amount of websites many small businesses have failed to critically occupy the internet space. The cloud is obtuse and not a real operating space. The digital divide remains firm; and therefore, the objective to capture this large market is a challenge but a worth managing for the long-term.


    The cost of technology is still not affordable, despite price reductions as the cost of fuel, energy and food have increased with the cost of living. Technology is not accessible.  

    If it is Recyclebank’s role to gain ‘meaningful partnerships’ that courtship must go beyond the visible dates. They must think as and eHarmony that the pool of matches are broad and companies are also looking for viable dates (matches) that address their needs for environmental and sustainable impact.

    From The Green CEO of LAND sds.


    Green CEO Interview with Tom Keckeis

     Tom Keckeis, President & CEO of Messer

    Messer Construction Co. is a construction manager and general contractor providing leadership for complex commercial building projects.  In addition to building projects, they are building their communities where they work, live and raise their families.  Therefore, LAND sds is highlighting Messer in this week’s edition of the Green CEO.

    Founded in 1932, Messer has built a premier reputation through outstanding construction experiences and value with a focus on health care, life sciences and higher education. An employee-owned company, Messer ranks nationally as one of the Top 100 largest contractors, as well as a Top 40 green contractor.  Messer was honored with the 2009 International Torch Award for Marketplace Excellence by the Council of Better Business Bureaus for superior commitment to exceptional standards that benefit customers, employees, suppliers and surrounding communities.  In fiscal 2010, Messer put in place approximately $513 million in commercial construction.

    With that in mind, what was the reason behind Messer “going green”? The answer is really simple - they are engaged in environmental issues year round for their customers.  Water and energy conservation, climate issues, and debris management are all areas of strong familiarity to them. “We made a conscious decision to utilize our expertise regarding green building practices as a way to add value for our customers and be a responsible community partner,” states Tom Keckeis, president and CEO.

    In 1997 and 2000, Messer participated in two (USGBC) United States Green Building Council’s pilot projects located in Columbus and Cincinnati. Messer managers began LEED credentialing in 2001 and now have over 70 LEED AP’s or GA’s. In 2003, Messer built the first LEED Certified project in the Kentucky Commonwealth at Berea College, which earned Silver Certification. They have built over 30 LEED projects in the following regions: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Knoxville, Lexington, Louisville and Nashville. One of Messer’s most recent projects in Columbus has submitted for LEED Platinum. The owner is currently awaiting certification.

    In 2004, Messer researched and published a white paper on sustainability. That same year, a “green team” was formed and currently directs the company’s sustainable efforts. In 2009, Messer began their own LEED Existing Building or EB Certified project utilizing internal managers and now has an Energy Star, LEED EB Certified building at the Cincinnati Corporate Office, which has reaped substantial energy savings.

    Additionally, Messer promotes sustainable design and construction by educating the communities in which they live and work, and by participating in local USGBC Chapters. “Lunch & Learn’s” are great educational hour-long opportunities they provide to their partners.  In addition to Lunch & Learn’s, Messer participates in panel discussions on sustainability across industry.

    Now, many may argue that “green” initiatives are a costly addition to any project or process. Messer responds to that by saying, “A green project does not have to cost more if sustainability and/or energy efficiency are project goals from the beginning.”   

    Although projects that decide to become registered or certified through third-party agencies such as LEED, will pay a premium for the project review process.

    When thinking about the future and its sustainability,   Messer has started implementing new delivery methods to meet the needs of owners and changes within the industry. 

    According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) California council, Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is a research-based, project delivery approach that integrates people, systems, business structures and practices into a process that collaboratively harnesses the talents and insights of all participants to reduce waste and optimize efficiency through all phases of design, fabrication and construction.

    By integrating Lean Six Sigma planning prior to space programming and design, the opportunity is available to substantially save on the long-term costs of owning and occupying a building.  This creates long-term efficiencies and sustainability regarding the building’s life-cycle: from design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort.[1] (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (October 28, 2009). Green Building Basic Information. Retrieved December 10, 2009)

    They also recognize that there are developments outside of their scope that affect everyone within the company; these include the economy, technology and our communities.  The economy has challenged everyone in the industry, but it has allowed us to be smarter about our work and push ourselves to continue to advance the construction industry. Technology, in regards to Building Information Modeling has been and is a significant development over the last four years and one in which Messer has made a large investment. By utilizing the latest 3-D technology and software, our in-house BIM group has delivered higher value for owners.

    Additionally, according to the Center of Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Giving USA Foundation, total charitable giving contributions fell 3.6 percent in the year 2010. This staggering statistic illustrates the fact that our country and our communities within it continue to face extraordinary challenges. Yet, in spite of economic uncertainties, Messer has an unwavering commitment to community engagement and support.

    During 2010, Messer and its more than 750 employee-owners invested more than $1.2 million, in a variety of community organizations across the eight regions where we live, raise our families and build. Additionally, the Messer Foundation awarded three $25,000 grants to employee-recommended community organizations.

    Messer’s long-term commitment to participate, invest and give back is part of our company DNA. We firmly believe vibrant communities create inclusive and thriving businesses, which benefit all of us, especially our children and future leaders. 

    Finally, LAND sds asked Messer to rate its green aptitude considering processes, systems, delivery and supply chain - on a scale from one (1) to ten (10), 10 being the highest. Messer responded that they rate themselves at 8.5 out of ten.

    “We have come a long way over the past decade,” states Tom Keckeis, president and CEO.  In 2009, they started the LEED EBOM process in regards to their existing corporate office.  Strategic goals and implementation started between April and September of that year with planning done by Messer’s Building Systems Group.  Project performance was completed between the months of October 2009 and June 2010.  In December of 2010, the award of “certification” was made.

    Modifications to the building included the installation of occupancy sensors in offices and conference rooms, the installation of carbon dioxide sensor for demand-control ventilation, daylight harvesting, moisture sensors for irrigation, and water saving toilets.

    “We felt a strong sense of responsibility to create a building that was healthier for our staff, healthier for the environment and could serve as a leading example for other companies in the region,” states Keckeis.

    Messer is making strides within their industry through education and awareness.


    To learn more about Messer, please visit


    Interview with Myron J. Rivers

    The USGBC Cincinnati Chapter was begun in 2002 by a group of about 25 area architects and engineers and build professionals to bring greater advocacy, influence, education and resources to the green building movement in Cincinnati.

    In speaking with Myron J. Rivers, Executive Director of the USGBC Cincinnati shared that the USGBC Cincinnati primarily functions as a resource to companies and individuals who are interested and committed to a prosperous and sustainable future in our community through cost-efficient and energy-saving buildings.

    While the majority of our members (individual and companies) are those who design and or construct buildings; we like to think that we serve the entire region by advocating for healthier sustainable communities.

    The USGBC’s greatest area of focus is the design, construction and rehab of buildings. With the majority of the US population spending 90% of their time indoors our organization has the ability to advocate on a wide variety of “green” subjects from energy consumption, indoor air quality to job creation.

    The unique value proposition to the community is our education and advocacy of the green build environment. Each year throughout our region hundreds of individuals attain their LEED AP accreditation and go on to create some of the most sustainable office buildings, manufacturing plants, homes and schools.

    Many argue that Green is a costly addition to any project or process. This is a constant concern within our industry and in many cases there can be an additional cost in the creation of a building….initially. What building owners must realize is the cost over time. Over the cost of owning and operating that same building they will be able to see cost savings depending on the improvements made in as little as 2 years and in some improvements the cost savings can and have been fully realized immediately.

    Every year owners are seeing a considerable cost savings to their operations in ways that were not initially thought of. In LEED certified building in California, government agencies have seen an increase in productivity directly tied to day lighting and that with the increased improvements to inner air quality employees have logged fewer sick days and Doctor Appointments which has led to a decrease in many companies’ health care premiums.

    The arguments are still being made on the other side but every year that we see an increase in the amount of LEED certified buildings we have more and more data to support our claims.

    The USGC’s typical use case is not the same as an ordinary for profit-company, we advocate for policy and legal changes for government buildings and educate our members and the community at large on the benefits to creating sustainable communities.

    The next step in service delivery to meet the changes in the industry is to continue to justify LEED certification of buildings in our area. For some projects the additional cost to obtaining LEED may be cost prohibitive. But, we don’t want that to be a detractor from those seeking to increase efficiencies and sustainable measures in design and construction. With even more corporations and private owners adopting the principles of USGBC our cause and influence becomes greater and more mainstream. Even with that realization we still have a long way to go in educating the everyday consumer on the benefits of building and implementing green practices into their daily lives.

    Rivers’ shared the USGBC Cincinnati’s current biggest challenge to green implementation, delivery and practice is not many people know who we are and even fewer can clearly recognize what we do. Our constituency is a fairly homogenous group and we still have some ground to cover in our ability to reach a wide audience. We recognize this as something that could inhibit our message and reach but we stay committed to our cause and continue planning to bring that cause even more mainstream each day.

    Our greatest strength is that within the build industry we have great allies to our causes and it is significant to mention that within every major architecture firm, construction company, and engineering firm in Cincinnati employs LEED accredited professionals.

    Rivers see the three most significant developments effecting USGBC Cincinnati is the economy, the economy and the economy. As national and local economy continue to grow stronger the development and build industry will continue to grow. We must be positioned to take advantage of that growth and help others to understand the importance that they consider green buildings.

    As a newly installed Executive Director we rate our organization on a scale from one-to-ten, ten being the highest green aptitude as a seven (7) because we have adopted and maintained a lot of great sustainable practices; but there is still work to be done. While we are not there yet we continue to reach for the 10!