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ISS Blog

Step It Up!

A guest blog spot by ISS Managing Editor Drew Whitney.



Did you know that this Saturday, more than 1,000 events across the country will be acknowledging the Step It Up! 2007 campaign?


Step It Up! is a nationwide campaign comprised of more than 1,000 events in 50 states rallying around the need for substantial and rapid action on the issue of global warming.  Events are being held in every corner of the country, from Maine to Hawaii, and Seattle to Key West.  Rallies have been organized by groups and individuals from all walks of life who agree on one thing: The time has come for our elected officials to take bold and immediate steps to combat global warming.


The groundswell of support for this effort is incredible. This is truly a viral grassroots movement, organized mainly through word of mouth, e-mail outreach among friends, and the online community, said Bill McKibben, the national Step It Up organizer and founder. The enormous participation in todays movement is a wake-up call to legislators from across the country.  Their constituents are urgently demanding that America get on the path towards reducing carbon emissions before it is too late.


In my town, were organizing family activities designed to educate youngsters and parents about renewable energy sources. Were making pinwheels to demonstrate wind energy. The kids will parade from the library to our waterfalls, where well talk about hydropower. Well also talk about the most powerful energy source the world has ever known: the sun!

Speaking of the sun, let me tell you about North Bay Self Storage in Petaluma, Calif., where owners Gary Arnstein and Robert Curtis, along with their investors, have made a demonstrable commitment to using sustainable energy sources. On Jan. 10, a 35kW solar-electric system was installed across the rooftops of this 78,000-square-foot facility. The system provides 85 percent of the sites electrical needs and will pay for itself in six years. Imagine that!


This solar-panel system provides enough energy to power 10 average-sized homes, but it spares the air of 60 tons of harmful greenhouse gases a year. The choice to go solar will save the air from the equivalent of 4.1 million gas-driven miles of pollution over 30 years!


Were going solar because we think its the right action to take given the environmental crisis our planet is in the midst of, stated Arnstein in a press release circulated by SolarCraft, the solar energy contractor that completed the North Bay project.


While not every self-storage facility is in the position to invest in solar panels, truly all owners should take notice and consider what steps they can do to participate in green activities. What can you do? Check out the Step It Up! website and find out what events are being organized in your area this weekend. Join in and begin your commitment to protecting our air from further pollution and our earth from global warming. 

Here are a few other ideas:

  • Change the light bulbs at your facility (and home) to those that carry the Energy Star label, meaning the bulb been tested for quality and efficiency. They cost more, but they last 10 times longer and prevent more CO2 from entering the atmosphere. In fact, according to one estimate, if every U.S. household replaced a bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR fluorescent bulb, it  would prevent more than 13 billion pounds of CO2 from entering the atmospherethe equivalent of taking more than a million cars off the road for an entire year!
  • Put the golf cart away and start walking your site when doing daily inspections and showing potential tenants around. Explain to visitors that youve gone green to save the environment and your heart by using your own renewable energy.
  • Buy recyclables. Use a lot of paper for contracts? Make sure it is recycled. And replace all cardboard boxes with recycled versions. Again, make sure your tenants know this was a conscious choice.


Have some ideas of your own to cut CO2 expenditures and saving our planet? I'd love to hear them! Post them to the blog or drop me a line at dwhitney@vpico.com. In the meantime, take the challenge and Step It Up!

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