When it comes to doing more with less or rolling up our sleeves for a worthy cause, few organizations are as capable as Leap. This is why the formation of the Cricket Green Team was a natural step for our company. The Green Team is staffed entirely by employee volunteers who are personally inspired to reduce our environmental impact. Green Team members are engaged across all functions of the company, and share the credo: “If you come up with an idea, you’ve got to execute it.” From packaging to network infrastructure to the energy consumption in our corporate offices and retail stores, every member spearheads ways to reduce our carbon footprint in his or her respective field of expertise. It’s another example of how personal initiative drives positive change at our company.
The accomplishments of our Green Team have overwhelming support from our employees and inspired a wealth of compelling ideas and positive momentum. Here are just a few of the ways that Green Team initiatives are reducing our environmental impact and, in many cases, help us keep our cost structure low.
Perhaps one of the Green Team’s biggest achievements so far has been the development of Leap’s two LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified corporate campuses in San Diego and Denver. The following have contributed to Leap’s LEED certifications:
These LEED Certified corporate offices do not contain a single paper coffee cup or plastic spoon. Everyone washes their dishes, which cuts down on waste and reduces operating costs.
When someone suggested implementing Smart Strips, specialized surge protectors that power down lights and electronics at night, we took the suggestion and ran with it. Leap became the first company in the United States to win a LEED point for implementing the idea.
Office interiors have been designed to maximize daylight across 75% of the space, reducing the need for artificial lighting and lifting the moods of employees at every level.
High-efficiency lighting fixtures reduce electricity by 40%.
Low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce water consumption by over 40%, compared to a standard building.
During construction, we recycled 242 tons of debris, representing 78% of the project, and we also sourced two-thirds of the new wood from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified forests.
The buildings were designed with “telepresence rooms” to enable next-generation video teleconferencing between San Diego and Denver. This has allowed us to decrease our travel by 35%! Not only did we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but we also cut costs, increased productivity, improved collaboration between co-workers, and created a better work-life balance due to less travel time.
We rethought the design of our packaging. The new packaging is made from all recyclable materials and includes no plastic. Product manuals are a fraction of their former size. The new design is also 50% smaller, which translates into a nearly 50% reduction in overseas shipping and fuel costs.
Currently about 90% of our energy consumption comes from our network stations and cell towers and we’re working to bring that down. Today, 3,000 of our network base stations are being upgraded with new stations that operate on 50% less electricity. This will ultimately save our company about $4 million per year. We’re reducing energy consumption at our cell sites by running generators once every two weeks instead of weekly, thereby realizing a 25% decrease in energy through more efficient heating and air conditioning systems.
Store Lighting Retrofit
To reduce electricity consumption, we are replacing traditional incandescent light systems with energy-efficient LED lighting at select Cricket stores – a move that could save about $150,000 per year in energy costs. In the first year, we saved an estimated 130,000 Kilowatt-hours in the 25 stores with upgraded lighting, reducing emissions by more than 76 metric tons of carbon dioxide. We also have implemented store guidelines for energy-efficient lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
We have teamed up with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified partner to facilitate the responsible re-use and recycling of old handsets. This program will enable us to broaden our offerings of refurbished replacement phones, while allowing us to recycle parts and even some of the chemicals used in discarded handsets.
We are also committed to recycling at our corporate offices. At a 2012 recycling event in San Diego, we collected a total of approximately 3,300 pounds or 1.5 tons of e-waste, recycled 192 computer hard drives and shredded approximately 2,500 pounds or 1.25 tons of paper. We also collected clothing and household items that were donated and re-used.
Green Procurement Policy
We are rolling out new suggested guidelines for current and prospective vendors, in order to help drive partners along our supply chain toward more environmentally friendly operating procedures. For example, each year we ask device vendors about their green practices as part of our annual scorecard review process.
Electric Car Charging Stations
In San Diego, we worked with our landlord to install electric car charging stations in our corporate office parking structure. A car that has 220 volts takes approximately 2.5 hours to charge. When an employee’s car is fully charged, an application notifies them instantly on their phone. This way, they can move their car and make room for another employee to re-charge their battery. To help employees keep their commute green, we also participate in Ride Share month and offer secure bike storage at our corporate offices in San Diego and Denver.