Congratulations to Burlington’s Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) store who was presented with the 2015 Mayor’s Green Business Award at the Burlington Chamber of Commerce Gala earlier this year. The MEC store in Burlington was nominated by the Burlington Sustainable Development Committee.
“More than ever, sustainability and green initiatives need to be our priorities,” said Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring. “We want to create a sustainable and healthy Burlington for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Recognizing environmentally-minded businesses like MEC Burlington is one aspect of fostering a greener, healthier city.”
Burlington’s MEC store met all four criteria for the Mayor’s Green Business Award:
(1) Sustainable business practices: Moving forward on changes to products or wrapping that are environmentally friendly, and making environmental choices in the internal procurement policies.
- As stated in their 2015 annual report, “At MEC, sustainability and business go hand in hand. We don’t make a business decision without considering social, environmental and financial obligations – to the planet and to members.” Some examples include:
- 32 Fair Trade certified products.
- 1,524 products with PVC-free, or at least 50 per cent recycled, organic cotton or bluesign® approved content. Bluesign® strives to reduce the impact on the environment and people by examining the entire textile supply chain.
- 3 per cent or 2.4 million pounds of waste diverted.
(2) Sustainable site design: Demonstrating environmental stewardship of the exterior property through vegetation and water conservation, including storm water management.
- The site has two cisterns – one collects rainwater from the roof for toilets and the other collects runoff from the parking lot for irrigation.
- The stormwater management system, which includes rain gardens and cisterns can accommodate a 100-year storm.
- The gardens were landscaped to encourage bird and insect populations.
(3) Sustainable architecture: Utilizing various parts of the building to incorporate energy, water, heating and cooling efficiencies.
- The Burlington site was built in 2008 and received LEED Gold certification.
- The building was designed to be 70 per cent more energy efficient than a conventional retail building.
- Green building audits are carried out twice per year to ensure the building is operating as designed.
- A photovoltaic and solar thermal system feeds back into the grid.
- Purchased wind power meets 100 per cent of the building’s electrical needs.
- An ice storage system uses off-peak electricity for cooling.
- Natural lighting is used as much as possible.
- Daylight and occupancy sensors are used to reduce lighting needs.
- The structure and envelope can be disassembled at the end of its life and reused.
(4) Community involvement: Encouraging and supporting staff to participate and/or volunteer in sustainable community events, including any events on site.
- One per cent of sales are redirected to community initiatives totaling $3.4 million nationally in 2015. Locally, BurlingtonGreen received $14,412 for their GreenPrint for the Future program in 2014.
- Free annual Burlington BikeFest event for the public and commuter challenges for staff encouraging them to bike or take transit to work.
- The Environment Integrity Committee (made up of staff) conduct two waste audits each year.
- Tours are available to learn more about the green building.
- A community meeting room is available for small group meetings free of charge. BurlingtonGreen’s Youth Network hold their monthly meetings here.
- Donated $10,000 to Share the Road to help extend the bike lanes on Brant Street to the store.
- Non-profit groups with similar values to MEC can use their floor space free of charge to educate the public.
Is your business ‘green’? Do you think you could be eligible to win an award next year? Visit the Burlington Chamber of Commerce’s web page and stay tuned for deadlines for the 2016 nominations. Winners will be announced at the 2017 Business Awards Gala.
Take Action Burlington! Collectively we can make a difference.