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UCAR (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research) Leads by Example with Sustainable Efforts

Posted on Monday 7th July 2014
We are pleased to profile the companies and organizations that lead by example in operating their businesses and organizations. The “Lead by Example” profile series is focused on sharing information to inspire and empower decision makers to take action in their own facilities. The information in profiles like this one have come from research and survey outreach focused on four primary areas of sustainability measures:

#1: Waste Removal – (e.g. Recycling)

#2: Climate Control – (e.g. Programmable Thermostats)

#3: Illumination – (e.g. Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology)

#4: Renewable Power – (e.g. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels)

#5: Other Measures:…

The intention of the four primary areas of focus is to start with the easiest and lowest cost initiatives and move towards the higher level of commitment and larger impact energy and CO2 savings measures.

Company/Organization Highlights:

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research ( is a nonprofit consortium of colleges and universities dedicated to research about the Earth and its atmosphere. Its mission is to “support, enhance, and extend the capabilities of the university community, nationally and internationally; understand the behavior of the atmosphere and related systems and the global environment; and foster the transfer of knowledge and technology for the betterment of life on Earth.” The UCAR manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and as a strong proponent of the geosciences, it creates projects and programs to support community education and research. In addition to the research efforts, great changes have been made in the office to become more environmentally sustainable.

Lead by Example Initiatives:

#1: Waste Removal – Recycling: YES – Recycling bins separate from waste disposal in the office; composting bins in every cafeteria, conference room, kitchenette, and meeting room; compostable cafeteria items such as silverware, plates, straws, cups, napkins, etc.

#2: Climate Control – Programmable Thermostats: YES – "Smart" programmable thermostats installed and used.

#3: Illumination – Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology: PARTIALLY – Plans to do so.

#4: Renewable Power – Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels: YES – Solar panels on the roof of the building.

#5: Other Measures: Every employee is offered a free bus pass and a free bike sharing membership. Bike riders have racks, bike storage areas, showers and locker rooms, and there is a bike loaner program of 28 bikes to loan out to staff and visiting scientists There are free shuttle vans that pick up at the bus depots and deliver staff to and from the campuses, and staff from outside the metro area use a van pool to ride share. The sustainability specialists are currently applying for funding to install EV charging stations on all three campuses. Just last week, a team was organized for Bike to Work Day with 125+ riders. There are also occupancy sensors that shut off lights when people leave the room.

Their website goes into further detail about the action they have taken in terms of sustainability:

Please note that for #3: Illumination, organizations are now beginning to review the savings benefits of LED tubes and fixtures over traditional fluorescent tubes and other types of lighting. Challenges to date have included the reliability of imported products, and some U.S. LED manufacturers, such as Independence LED (, have proactively developed educational “LED Boot Camp” programs and provided samples and cost-effective financing programs.

Overall, the “Green” mantra of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle holds true after multiple decades, and new trends towards “Buy Local” are also gaining traction. Domestic and regional purchasing helps reduce the carbon footprint of transportation and also helps create more American jobs. Learn more through the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies - BALLE - (

LED Saving Solutions