Students challenge Bartlett businesses

By Brian Bloom

Regional Manager

Appling Middle School’s $2 million better building challenge officially kicked off Wednesday.

The challenge was a project initiated by middle school teacher Tabitha Boddie when she urged her students, in a business letter writing exercise, to launch an energy initiative to challenge businesses in the Bartlett Corporate Park to collectively reduce their annual energy consumption by 10 percent.

The Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce’s Team Green Zone is helping to spearhead the project as part of the USA’s Better Building Challenge. Other organizations involved include the City of Bartlett, Shelby Farms Park Conservatory and Pathway Lending.

Business owners at the kick off learned how they could increase their profit margins by implementing energy efficiency measures with paybacks in three years or less.

According to Bartlett Chamber’s director of energy efficiency Clayton Poff, businesses must first benchmark where they are as far as energy consumption compared to national standards. From there they may determine what efficiencies will work in each building.

“Two things do the work in the buildings,” Poff said. “The first is human beings and the second is electricity. As a business owner, you want to ensure the greatest quality of electrical power and the greatest indoor air quality for the people.
Poff said studies had shown that businesses consistently retrofit lighting but fail to enhance the quality of the internal electrical system. This program is designed to show businesses how they can get the demanded return on investment (ROI) and provide a better environment for their personnel.

“It’s all about operations cost reduction,” Poff said. “And here you get to use other money to make your facility more energy efficient.”

The Bartlett Business Park incorporates more than 7 million square feet of commercial and industrial space. According to Green Zone officials, up to 30 percent of the energy consumed is wasted and the 10 percent reduction goal will go direct to the bottom line of the businesses involved.

For more information about going green contact Clayton Poff, director of energy efficiency at the Bartlett chamber.