Sustainability is a hot environmental topic, though not everyone is in agreement as to exactly
what it means. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has created a Sustainability Program under the Office of Research and Development. The agency notes that “sustainability” implies implementing policies and strategies that take into account the needs of future generations as well as present needs. The USEPA sees its role as evolving from strictly being the “environmental watchdog,” focused on curbing pollution through enforcement of regulations into a role more focused on promoting pollution prevention and utilization of advancements in science and technology to reduce use of resources and energy. More and more companies are joining in and finding ways to fit sustainable practices into their day-to-day businesses. Over the last 5 years, D&B has developed and implemented a sustainability program that includes numerous in-house pollution prevention initiatives, such as installation of energy efficient lighting and use of 30% post-consumer recycled content paper. D&B has also incorporated sustainability concepts in many of its work practices.
Currently, the firm is in the process of incorporating “green” remediation practices into the technical support that the firm provides to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) with regard to site investigation, remedy selection, remedial design, remedial construction and site management/performance monitoring at contaminated sites included in NYSDEC’s remedial programs. D&B’s “green” remediation approach is consistent with guidance document “DER-31, Green Remediation,” dated August 11, 2010. The approach includes consideration of the environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporates options designed to maximize the net environmental benefit of the cleanup actions. D&B also provides periodic training for its staff regarding implementation of “green” remediation practices including in-house seminars presented by vendors on the technology forefront and webinars hosted by government agencies promulgating regulations requiring evaluation of “green” approaches. D&B has also formed a committee that meets periodically to discuss implementation of new “green” concepts into standard specifications, update checklists for staff to use for deliverables to ensure “green” concepts have been incorporated and identify “green” remediation firms that could provide presentations on their “green” concepts.
D&B is currently completing the design phase for the demolition and reconstruction of a NYSDEC 6 NYCRR Part 360/373 Permitted nonhazardous and hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility on Long Island in New York State. The project is being designed to pursue a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification. LEED is an internationally recognized “green” building certification system designed to improve building performance related to energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. The “green” initiatives incorporated by D&B into this project include the use of water efficient landscaping to eliminate the need for an automatic irrigation system, preferred parking for car pooling and low emitting/fuel efficient vehicles, installation of bike racks and shower facilities to promote commuting to work via bicycle, use of low flow plumbing fixtures, use of low emitting building products made with recycled materials, limited comfort heating and no cooling in storage areas for energy savings, installation of a precast concrete panel building with high insulating properties, diversion of construction waste and promoting the use of regional materials.