UPPER CANADA OFFICE SYSTEMS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
According to the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations (1987 Report), sustainability refers to sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. At Upper Canada our effort to increase efficiency, while preserving our planet for future generations, began in 1989 with recycling of our packaging and waste materials. With the move to our current location we added blue boxes at each desk in addition to our lunchroom. Since that time we have encouraged members of our team to come up with ways to increase sustainability around the office as well as fostering this commitment in their own homes.
Along with our blue box program, we have installed a water filter in our lunchroom, which is also equipped with dinnerware, cutlery as well as an energy efficient dishwasher. Additionally, our facility is equipped with low flow toilets and light bulbs have been upgraded to compact fluorescent lights. In 2011 we brought in live plants to enhance air quality for our staff.
Pitch In Kingston is an event we look forward to each year. We celebrate the day with a barbeque lunch after our staff helps clean up the neighbourhood surrounding our office.
We continuously re-appraise work practices to ensure environmental efficiencies. Where possible we choose to have our product blanket wrapped rather than using cardboard or disposable packaging materials. We give preference to manufactures that offer alternative packaging solutions.
Our furniture sales team members are able to choose products for customers that have been awarded with sustainable designations such as “Greenguard” and through these manufacturers we provide documentation, which can be used for points toward “LEED” building certifications. We give preference to manufacturers who focus on sustainable manufacturing practices.
We encourage our customers to find a charity or not for profit organization in need that can re-purpose their discarded furniture. We facilitate this by delivering and installing the re-purposed furniture to not for profit organizations free of charge. The same process of re-purposing furniture is also done by us with our excess product.
In 2010 Upper Canada took advantage of the Electricity Retrofit Incentive Program offered by Ontario Hydro to replace our existing light fixtures with energy efficient units. While the program covered only a small portion of our fixtures we subsequently chose to convert our remaining fluorescent units as well. In 2011, forty-eight solar panels were installed on the roof of our facility at 40 Grant Timmins Drive. These panels are designed to feed directly back into the electrical grid. As of August 1, 2017 over 68.5 megawatts of electricity has been generated.
In 2012 Upper Canada Office Systems became a proud active member of Sustainable Kingston. “Sustainable Kingston Community Partners is a diverse network of Kingston organizations which embrace and support the vision – Kingston-Canada’s Most Sustainable City in their planning and operations. Partners are striving to make a positive impact in our community by working together to achieve cultural, economic, environmental and social sustainability. Visit: www.sustainablekingston.ca.