Henle Printing Company became a Marshall GreenStep Business in August of 2014. They are taking many actions to have a business that is environmental friendly such as recycling, and the use of LED lighting and Energy Star appliances.

Mike Henle states, “The action that I am most proud of is our geothermal energy source. When we built our building 10 years ago, we initially invested an extra $30,000 to install it. The energy saved paid for itself in less than two years and we continue to save each month.”

Be recognized for your actions too and become a GreenStep Business! All organizations, including non-profits, schools, government buildings, and for-profit businesses are eligible to apply. Fill out the application form here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1tD9sBMQBo-KwcIHlOzmM2-JIvOcosbf1-oLOMEUw734/viewform. 

Sleep Inn & Suites very recently became a GreenStep Business this July. “I was excited to be asked [about the program], because we are not a large company, but we do try to do the little stuff to help our environment” remarks Jennifer Jorgensen, the General Manager at Sleep Inn & Suites.

Energy efficient lighting and other fixtures were installed when the hotel was built, and now employees are working to improve recycling collection.

“I want to be able to have a place for future kids and grandkids to feel safe playing outside,” Jorgensen comments, explaining why taking ‘green’ actions is important. “I do not want them to worry about the air quality or have to swim in a polluted lake.”

United Way of Southwest Minnesota was recognized as a GreenStep Business early in July of 2014. One goal to lessen their environmental impact has been to reduce paper waste. 

According to Marcy Heemeyer, Executive Director at United Way of Southwest Minnesota, by making an electronic version of their annual report and posting it online, United Way was able to print less than half the number of copies as in previous years.  This has saved the organization both money and natural resources.

Everyone can make a difference, whether big or small, Heemeyer explains: “Even though the United Way of Southwest Minnesota operates a relatively small space with few employees every little bit helps when improving efficiencies and protecting the environment.”

Marshall Living became the 22nd GreenStep Business this May. “Marshall Living believes that there is a social obligation for enhancing the environment where business takes place,” says David Moriarty, founder of Marshall Living.

Marshall Living has a green business model in addition to its energy efficiency and waste reduction actions. “The on-line marketing medium is an opportunity for individuals to promote their events while reducing the need to  travel around the area posting paper advertisements in a location where they may go unnoticed,” Moriarty remarks. “Marshall Living has built an app for Apple and Android devices offering others to take advantage of the technology and infrastructure that is already in place.”

The Lyon County Historical Society became a GreenStep Business in February of 2013. They are recognized for their environmental efforts, including energy efficiency and recycling.

According to Jennifer Andries, Executive Director of the Lyon County Historical Society and Museum, “[i]t is important for businesses and organizations and even individuals to start thinking ‘green’.”

That’s why the Historical Society changed many of the light fixtures on the first floor of the museum to track lights with efficient LED bulbs (pictured). They also have made a commitment to recycling items like paper, cardboard, and beverage containers.

“The environment is the responsibility of all of us and takes commitment and dedication from all of us to sustain what we have,” Andries concludes.

Bremer Bank became a GreenStep Business in March of 2014 and is one of the newest GreenStep Businesses. “Bremer believes it is important to be green in our community because our natural resources are a precious commodity,” Cindy Verschaetse of Bremer Bank explains. “Using them wisely is important for a healthy community.”
Verschaetse points to various energy-saving measures as helping achieve Bremer’s GreenStep Business goals. “The remodel of our building was a big step in helping us be a green business,” she describes. “Replacing old lighting for more energy efficient ones, replacing outside windows, and our HVAC system were all long over due steps that needed to be done to help us be good consumers of our resources.”

Marshall Municipal Utilities became a GreenStep business in January of 2013. 

“As a community owned utility, we believe it is especially important for us to reduce waste whenever possible and manage are resources in a responsible manner” says Mark Antony, Energy Services Coordinator for Marshall Municipal Utilities and GreenStep Committee member.

Due to the nature of its business, MMU has many unique opportunities to reduce waste, from recycling old water meters and scrap electric wire, to reusing cut branches from tree trimming around power lines as mulch for City Parks, to recycling pallets and shipping materials.

Completing the GreenStep Business application process has reinforced MMU’s current efforts to reduce waste, but the process has also helped spur new ideas to become more environmentally responsible.

The Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce was another of the first GreenStep Businesses, becoming a GreenStep Business in January of 2013.

“We are happy to be part of a growing & green community and help promote why Marshall is a great place to live, work, stay or play!” Erin Raveling, Marketing Coordinator and GreenStep representative for the Chamber, declares.

Currently, the Chamber is focusing on recycling and preventing paper waste. Because of the quantity used, paper recycling alone has created a noticeable difference in trash quantities for the Chamber. Most paper use is a result of the many committees and meetings the Chamber hosts. According to Raveling, to reduce paper waste, “we try to only print when needed, and are more savvy with two-sided, less copies, etc.” The use of mobile devices during meetings further reduces the demand for paper. 

Southwest Service Cooperative was one of the first GreenStep Businesses, becoming a GreenStep Business in January of 2013. The reason is simple. According to Tom Hoff, Career and Technical Project Coordinator at SW/SC and head of the GreenStep Committee, “By using our resources wisely, not only are we protecting our environment, but we are also demonstrating to our member school districts that we are concerned about the efficient use of funds and dedicated to the elimination of unnecessary and wasteful practices.”

As a GreenStep Business, SW/SC has pursued a number of waste-reducing policies. A new printing system that relays the economic costs of each printed or copied item paired with measures to encourage double-sided printing has nearly halved the amount of paper used over the course of a year.

SW/SC also revamped their recycling system with new bins and better labeling to increase collection. Being a GreenStep Business helps to promote recycling. “We printed a statement that could be read prior to meetings and workshops informing visitors about our commitment as a ‘Marshall GreenStep Business’ to recycling,” Hoff explains. As a result of these measures, garbage has reduced to the point that the night janitor is noticing a difference in volume as he does his rounds.

Northwestern Farm Management Company (NFM), a regional company specializing in farm real estate, became a Marshall GreenStep Business in May of 2013.

Randy Sook, Accredited Farm Manager and Licensed Real Estate Broker/Certified Appraiser for NFM, explains why: “We believe we are called to be good stewards of all our resources, including things that are man-made from natural resources.” That’s because sustainability “helps to improve our health and well being, helps to lower costs of living and allows our environment to be maintained properly for future generations.”

As for the benefits of NFM’s sustainability actions? According to Sook, NFM’s recycling “greatly reduces garbage handling and creates a spirit of re-using valuable items that have come from our environment,” Similarly, Sook points out that energy efficiency “reduces costs but also creates a good feeling of stewardship of lowering energy use.”

Advance Opportunities’ mission is to “advance the lives of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities through creative community partnerships, vocational training and employment opportunities.” They became a GreenStep Business in May of 2013.

“Advance Opportunities is pleased to be a GreenStep business partner,” says Dawn Wambeke. “We recognize that our vision of all people being an integral part of their communities includes the importance of communities that are well taken care of.”

Services including document imaging, aluminum can recycling, and document shredding, are performed by disabled adults employed by Advance Opportunities. This brings sustainability directly into Advance Opportunities’ mission. “We are pleased to be a part of supporting our community to be ‘green’, while aligning ‘green services’ directly with our mission,” concludes Wambeke. 

For more information about the GreenStep Business program, or to register to become a GreenStep Business yourself, please visit our webpage at www.marshallgreenstep.org, or contact Melinda Kawalek at [email protected].

Marshall’s City Hall building was recognized as a GreenStep Business in December of 2013.

One major reason for the certification is to be a positive role model to the community. “Our policy leaders have identified being green as being important to having a vibrant community,” Community Services Director Harry Weilage explains. “If we are encouraging businesses and citizens to conserve on resources to be able to grow, we need to help lead that effort.”

City Administrator Ben Martig and Director of Public Works Glenn Olson both see being ‘green’ as a method of saving money. Martig mentions city hall’s electronic database an example of this. “I am encouraged that we have invested in an electronic data management platform,” Martig says,

“reducing our [use of] paper, reducing cost, increasing employee productivity, and expanding access to public information.”

This year the city of Marshall is also a host site for the Minnesota GreenCorps program, which has provided additional impetuous for city sustainability efforts. Working both with the city offices and other organizations throughout the city, Living Green Corps Member Melinda Kawalek has provided data to help the city increase its energy efficiency, and is also working to prevent waste and increase recycling.

Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) was recognized as a GreenStep Business in December 2013. “We’re pleased to be recognized for our ‘green’ initiatives and sustainability efforts,” states SMSU President Dr. Connie J. Gores.

When asked about SMSU’s sustainability actions, Director of Facilities Cyndi Holm talks about recent lighting retrofits. Recently, SMSU upgraded the lighting in both the academic buildings and the gym. Holm explains, “Those efforts will bring about electrical savings and the lighting change out in [the gym] has given us MUCH better lighting.”

Both Holm and Gores look to a future of continued improvement. According to Gores, “It’s important to be good stewards of our resources, and this recognition will help spread the word as we continue to work toward a more sustainable campus.”

One of SMSU’s sustainability initiatives is a native prairie planting near the southwest corner of the RA facility, pictured above.

As a GreenStep Business, US Bank has focused primarily on recycling, reducing, and reusing. They started a Green Team, which has run many donation drives, collecting various recyclable or reusable goods from employees, which are then given to charity.

“The staff and my Green Team USBank are wonderful. Whatever I ask (teacher requests, families in need, tornado/fire victims, etc.) they always step up and donate more than what’s needed,” says Paula Petersen-Giles, US Bank’s green representative.

Petersen-Giles calls on everyone to be sustainable, “All of us can make minor changes and make a difference. It’s easy and it’s fast no matter what you do, just do it.”

This bulletin board, created by US Bank’s Green Team, provides tips to employees on how to be green.

Affiliated Community Medical Centers
 became a GreenStep Business in 2013. According to Shana Zahrbock, ACMC’s Marshall Site Manager, “As a health care team, we know how important it is to take care of ourselves and our surroundings, too.” Performing sustainability actions ranging from recycling to green purchasing, ACMC is “honored to be recognized as a green business.”

The process of moving to a new clinic facilitated ACMC’s choice to become a GreenStep business, by letting them put in new green technologies. “We had an opportunity to build and maintain a facility that was environmentally and earth-friendly as well.” Zahrbock says.