Gaining valuable and green experience

Gaining valuable and green experience

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Contributors:

William Drake Hill, Business Management and Environmental Sustainability Student, Dalhousie University

Throughout the entirety of the past school year, myself and five other students of different educational backgrounds collaborated on a project for an environmental sustainability capstone course at the Dalhousie College of Sustainability. Our group had been working with a start-up cidery in New Germany, N.S., Meadowood Cidery Co. The family operated business had reached out to the College expressing a need for aid in the form of fresh eyes. We were given the task of working with the team at Meadowood to develop logistical efficiencies, operational blueprints and creative sustainable business practices.

Most of the fall semester was spent brainstorming with minimal constraints in order to create a large pool of ideas and possibilities. When we got back together after the winter break, we began the process of sifting through that pool and honing in on specific ideas that we believed to be the most relevant, practical, etc. Our goal was to provide our clients with a final deliverable that polished the vision they have for their business. We decided in order to achieve this, we would recommend plans that would make the starting process easier for them and their business more economically feasible and environmentally friendly in the long term. We met with architecture firms, natural building gurus and other craft breweries from around the Maritimes to develop concepts for Meadowood in order to find out which options would help them achieve their vision.

By the end of the term our team carefully constructed a 30-page document and 10-minute presentation that outlined the concepts we believe Meadowood should pursue. The obstacle we struggled with most, when assembling our final recommendations, was the proper location for the taproom and the actual brewing process. We decided to present our findings in a format that included three different options for said locations, in order to give our clients multiple perspectives from which they could choose their favorite. Many of our final recommendations were consistent regardless of the brewing location such as:

  • Sourcing lumber for patio locally or even on site
  • Composting toilets Large bay windows for passive heat and lighting
  • The use of natural building materials (i.e.: Hempcrete for insulation)
  • Recycled asphalt for driveway and parking needs
  • Rainwater collection
  • Sourcing energy from renewable sources (solar, wind, Bullfrog Power)

Operating your business while keeping the environment in mind is a practice that is becoming increasingly common and there is no question as to why. Climate change is impacting more people around the world every day, so consumers are now more aware of and concerned about pressing global climate issues. It’s only natural these consumers are more likely to support businesses they believe are trying to do their part by going green. Even if you don’t “buy into” climate change personally, your customers and your employees do and therefore your business should too.

Not only do eco-friendly business practices decrease your impact on our planet, they can also have a positive impact on your bottom line and increase your profit margin. Some of the simplest ways to minimize your environmental impact are reducing unnecessary inputs (paper, water, energy, etc.). If you take a good hard look at your materials and expenses, you can easily chip away wasted resources so you can decrease your costs and reduce the amount of waste your business produces!

And if not for a positive public image or cost reduction, you should go green for the most important reason of all: to keep our planet healthy. We all share this planet and reap the benefits and resources it gives us, and we shouldn’t take advantage of that.

Contact Drake at 902-292-4165 or W.drake.hill@dal.ca.

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