2017 was a big year for Office Furniture Warehouse. It’s also been a busy year in East Chattanooga. When we moved in at the beginning of January, Office Furniture Warehouse was one of two businesses in an underutilized area of warehouse space and open lots. Now, we’ve got neighboring businesses up and down the street with more development on all sides. So, we’re trying to grow our efforts in sustainability in tandem with our business & community. We’re firming up our green business infrastructure & community relationships. We’re discovering new ways to make an impact and meeting new friends with which to do so. Most importantly, we’re continuing to learn how far the impact outweighs the investment.
Waste Reduction & Energy Savings
Partnership with Empower Chattanooga
Empower Chattanooga is a program coordinated by our friends at green|spaces. It’s aimed at distributing energy savings kits & educations, edifying low-income residents of select areas with low- and no-cost ways to reduce monthly utility expenses. The areas covered by the program (East Chattanooga, East Lake & Highland Park) were found to expend approximately 43% more energy than average households in Chattanooga.
“Green” is somewhat inherent to used office furniture – by extending it’s useful life, it’s kept out of the landfill. By contributing the value of an energy savings kit/education to Empower Chattanooga for each pre-owned or refurbished chair sold over $100, our support of Empower Chattanooga is aimed at multiplying the effects of local sustainability efforts.
In the fourth quarter of 2017, we performed the necessary alchemy to convert 27 pre-owned or refurbished office chairs to energy savings kits & educations. This brings our yearly total to $1,144 – we’ve given ourselves until April to reach our goal of $2,400. Anybody need a place to sit?
green|light & Republic Services
green|light is another program coordinated by green|spaces, providing third-party “green business” certifications to Chattanooga businesses. We received our certification in 2017, and are using the program guidelines to streamline and better quantify our efforts in environmental stewardship. Businesses are given a checklist with key areas for implementing sustainable practices. Each business must meet certain prerequisites, then a requisite number of what could be described as “elective credits” that best fit the organization.
For instance – our environmental policy is primarily focused on purchasing practices, utility efficiency & waste management. These are all integral to our operations: we’re a dealership operating in a large facility that processes a significant volume and variety of waste. Specifically, contract furniture generates a lot of recyclable metal & corrugated cardboard waste. Through a partnership with Republic Services, we’ve managed to streamline our waste management – now, we’re working on quantifying the impact to tie it back to our sustainability initiatives. With some guidance from green|light coordinators, our percentage of recycled waste will continue to trend upward!
Boyce Station Neighborhood Association
Our East Chattanooga facility is in the footprint of the Boyce Station Neighborhood Association. Boyce Station is in the second year of organization, partnering with local non-profits and coordinating resident efforts to revitalize the neighborhood & strengthen the community. Office Furniture Warehouse is proud to have been named the chair of Boyce Station’s business committee, and we’re excited to involve our new neighboring businesses as members.
For the time being, Office Furniture Warehouse is helping to coordinate sponsorships for events, make our space available for meetings, and connect Boyce Station to people with greater influence than us. In 2017 we had the pleasure of sponsoring their anniversary cookout in June, sending campers at Camp Lookout, delivering Thanksgiving baskets & Christmas gifts, and attending their Christmas dinner. Look out for this group from the grassroots of East Chattanooga. Boyce Station is on a mission, and we’re only expecting great things to come.
Susan G. Komen
The Susan G. Komen® organization is on a mission to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. The Susan G. Komen Central Tennessee affiliate serves 41 counties in Tennessee and Georgia, supporting breast cancer treatments, screening, education, support services and research. Up to 75% of net proceeds remain in the affiliate service area while the remaining 25% goes toward ground breaking research.
We had the opportunity to participate in our Chattanooga regional office’s 2017 “BigWigs” fundraising drive, “Race for the Cure” and, now, the “Pink Tie Guys” fundraiser. The “BigWigs” campaign raised over $10,000 in Chattanooga alone by engaging business & community leaders as the offense in the cause. “Pink Tie Guys” is very similar to “BigWigs” – just with a different distinguishing pink article. We’ll be trading Jason’s pink beard for JJ’s pink bowtie until February 22nd – click here to get involved!
Thanks for Reading!
We’re striving to create a community-oriented culture of sustainability within and around our organization. That’s not just feel-good fluff, either. Such a culture promotes the wellness of our employees, minimizes the energy consumption of our operations & strengthens the community in which we operate. All of which positively affect our triple bottom line. Don’t get it twisted – this is callous, tactical business strategy.
In all seriousness, we’re not here to showboat. Only to showcase how simple it is. There are a number of links in this post. Each of them will take you to a webpage where you can learn more and/or get involved. If you want to learn more about how we’re trying to make a positive impact, we can let you know what’s happening, where at & how you can take part!