“Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” This phrase was ingrained into our brains way back in grade school; the three R’s they called it. Hundreds of academic programs and catchy songs have been created to help kids learn how to conserve paper, save energy, and keep the air clean. Jack Johnson even wrote a song about this eco-friendly trend titled “Three is a Magic Number.”
So have we kept true to what this magical phrase has been teaching us all these years?
Let’s take a quick look at a few examples of how companies and communities are working to abide by the three R’s:
Adobe’s newest location in Lehi, Utah has set high standards for eco-friendly initiatives. Not only does Adobe provide employees’ public transit passes, they’ve arranged a shuttle to transport employees to and from the commuter rail station just a few miles from their office. On top of that, the 280,000 square-foot facility is heated by the power generated from the data room servers¹.
Nudie Jeans Co. is a jean company that provides consumer tips on how to reduce, reuse, and recycle their own jeans. They heighten awareness of the unique characteristics of denim and encourage jean owners to milk it for all it’s worth. But when it’s absolutely time to call it quits, the company gives customers an incentive to trade in and recycle their old jeans at any store location for 20% off a new pair. Then they take the old jeans to have them shred and broken down to raw materials in order to create new products².
Euramex Management/Wesley Apartment Homes, a property management company based in Atlanta, Georgia, achieved a more efficient Rent Week by jumping on the eco-friendly bandwagon. Starting in approximately May 2012, they encouraged all residents in their portfolio to pay rent online or use electronic money orders. Within 6 months, an additional 31% of their residents started paying online. Now, they are experiencing 96% overall online-payment adoption and delinquent payments have been reduced by 50%.
Chew on this for a moment:
According to statistics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper every year and 465 trees in an average lifetime.
4 million tons of office paper are discarded every year, enough to build a 12 foot-high wall of paper from California to New York.
In terms of document storage, average filing costs can amount to around $20 per article.
The average search time for hard-copy documents is around 18 minutes.
It costs approximately $125 for every misfiled document, and $350 to $700 to make up for each lost document (And for any large organization, a document is lost about every 12 seconds).³ ⁴
Any of this hitting home?
As demonstrated by Euramex’s success with “Going Paperless,” it’s almost a no brainer as to why companies make the switch and invest in software and integrated platforms to make their office more green. It not only saves Mother Earth, but it inevitably provides greater productivity, customer service, document security, and operational savings⁵.
However, you can’t just rely on technology; your residents need to be on-board. Once your software is in place, introduce new operational requirements to your apartment communities with the resident’s perspective in mind: highlight the convenience and security especially.
Here are are some important first-steps to making your communities more environmentally sound:
Encourage residents to opt-in for email billing/notifications.
Provide online applications and lease signing.
Replace snail-mail, paper rent reminders, and the like with automated email and SMS messaging.
Monitor and maintain unit availability information and unit specs through an online leasing tablet app as opposed to large binders of paper work.
Save yourself the time and money—explore the many new paperless technologies available to multifamily operations. You’ll discover even more ways you can transform your office into a green, eco-friendly environment.