We often hear people, companies, and corporations talk about their commitment to the environment, the planet, to sustainability. But how many really follow through, and what specifically do they do to attain their objectives? Not to minimize the impact of recycling glass, paper, etc., but within the business & processes of distilling, just recycling post-consumer goods falls short of offsetting our manufacturing footprint. Here was an opportunity to plan, produce and execute sustainability on a meaningful scale.
Shortly after incorporating, BIG SPRING SPIRITS owners decided to research how their new facility might attain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. Fortunately, there exists a firm in State College that not only has expertise in the engineering of a distillery but also an in-house consultant in LEED certification. Our meetings with Mike Norris of Norris Engineering and Karen Norris of Green Collar Associates went so smoothly that there was never a moment when we had to decide whether it was or wasn’t going to happen. Yes, it was ambitious, but it never felt insurmountable and the costs, although slightly higher, weren’t ludicrous. When all the lights turn green, you go.
Essentially, companies like BIG SPRING SPIRITS pursue LEED certification because LEED buildings save resources like water and energy and therefore, they save money. From the employee perspective, if you’ve ever worked in a LEED-certified building, you’ll never find yourself in a stuffy cubicle with no natural light: LEED buildings & management recognize that to work efficiently, great air circulation and sunlight enhance happiness and productivity. Outside and beyond the walls of a LEED-certified building, you are required to have proximity to public transportation, groceries, houses of worship, bike racks and so on. So LEED is both micro and macro. The individual’s needs are addressed and the individual’s relationship to the village concept is also addressed. Once you drink LEED Kool-Aid, you’re in -- forever to compare mere “buildings” to LEED buildings.