You are here

Sustainable Austin Blog

Net-Zero Hero Rosa Ríos Valdez, Rosa is pictured leaning on a recycling bin with a colorful mural behind her.

I’m helping to make Austin Net-Zero by: Going green at work

 

Headshot of Rosa ValdezAustin is green and we all want to keep it that way! As a community, we’re committed to reaching the target of Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which will ensure a safe, healthy, vibrant Austin for many years to come. Here’s the story of how one person can make a difference.

Meet Rosa Ríos Valdez, President and CEO of Business and Community Lenders of Texas (BCL). BCL helps community members and businesses reach their financial goals by offering coaching, classes, and help with financing. Formerly, Rosa worked at the Lower Colorado River Authority, where she learned a lot about energy efficiency and conservation. She has used this knowledge to inspire her team at BCL to incorporate sustainability both into the workplace and their daily lives. Rosa is passionate about taking care of the environment, and enjoys encouraging the businesses they work with at BCL to be good environmental stewards.

We spoke with Rosa about her commitment to Net-Zero, what her toughest challenges have been, and what advice she has for others looking to live Net-Zero. Read more below.

 

What inspired you to take action?

I worked for a utility company for 10 years, where I learned a lot about energy savings, net-zero practices, and protecting the environment. Since then, I’ve brought what I learned to BCL, where we’ve been practicing green for 25 years!

 

How did you do it?

We made energy efficiency and conservation a priority for BCL, and one of our core company values. We asked our board to include sustainability as part of BCL’s social responsibility goals, and also encouraged staff to actively participate in developing and continuing green practices every day. Some of the things we’re doing at BCL to protect the environment include:

  • Installing sensor lights in the office so they turn off when rooms are not in use
  • Purchasing ENERGY STAR appliances
  • Installing signage at the office that reminds employees to turn off lights, conserve water, and recycle
  • Recycling paper, and printing two-sided
  • Encouraging staff to use less plastic at home and at work
  • Composting at the office
  • Carpooling as much as possible
  • Encouraging our customers and tenants to follow our lead

This work paid off when BCL was recognized as a Gold Austin Green Business Leader!

 

Light switch with sign saying "Switch off the lights. A bright idea to save energy from BCL"  Rosa's reflection in a mirror, sticker in front reads "Conserve water, every drop counts"

Rosa pictured in front of BCL's recycling and composting station in their break room.

 

Whats's been the toughest part?

Consistent messaging and continuous effort is difficult to keep up. We get busy with our daily work and it can be easy to leave environmental protection off the agenda. But, we do have to pause sometimes and come back to our core values. We renew our commitment to sustainability by checking in on our goals.

 

By having staff “buy in” on net-zero practices, we teach each other new sustainability techniques that we can incorporate into our work and take home to share with our families. This past fall, we participated in the Green Cup Challenge and won second place overall! We love a good challenge and hope to win first place this year.

Rosa and two other BCL employees showing off their Green Cup certificates. Colorful mural in background.

Commit to net-zero, and incorporate these practices into your core values. Make incremental steps to achieve your goals. Share wins. Stay the course. Engage as many co-workers, friends, family members, schools, businesses and customers as possible. The more people that have a goal of net-zero, the more we preserve our environment. Organizations should lead by example, and we’re happy to help lead the way!

Rosa posing with customer outside BCL. Mural reads "I lend you so much"

 

Austin Green Business Leader Logo

Your business can join BCL by coming a Green Business Leader! Visit our website to get more information and see the list of Platinum and Gold members. Applications for new Green Business Leaders are accepted once per year, so don't delay! Download and complete the scorecard, and return it to us by February 28.

 

Tagged: Net-Zero, net-zero heroes, generation net-zero, Sustainability, green, austinites, profile, austin green business leader, green business, Austin, go green

More Blog Posts

About this blog

News, ideas, and inspiration from the Office of Sustainability, to help advance a Bright Green future for Austin.

Tags

green schools showcase

Sustainability

mobility

super bowl 50

landscape

school

bicycle

featured member

sustainable

live music

library

emissions reduction

staff engagement

sustainability tips

grow zone

green

new central library

net zero hero

solar energy

high school

co2

Plug in partners

Education

HNTB

transportation

super bowl

garden

community

st. andrew’s episcopal school

tips

ronda rutledge

watershed protection

Central library

Water conservation

health

make austin greener

seed bank

seaholm power plant

vegetable garden

charging

rethink

climate

electric vehicle

energy efficiency

green schools

agbl

alternative transportation

2015

grant

net zero

st. andrew’s

beat the heat

zero emissions

recycle

healthy corner stores

waste diversion

earth month

flooding

Prosperous. Sustainable. Austin.

design

herb garden

smart bench

rethink app

water preservation

Prosperous. Sustainable. Austin. sustainability

austin green business leader

bus rider

grant recipients

net-zero heroes

heat

litter control

PICC

mobile markets

Composting

healthy living

erosion

seaholm ecodistrict

food

soofa

led

green building

august martin jr

Melissa Rothrock

bgfg

bike commute

green business

summer

leaf

carbon neutral

farm stands

green cup challenge

Green is the New Black

earth month tips

rain gardens

Seaholm

compost

soofa bench

rethink challenge

energy

architecture

reuse

capital metro

Bright Green Future

bike

Office of Sustainability

Austin Energy

food planning

profile

urban farms

green habits

huston tillotson university

water

greenhouse gas emissions

austinites

upcycle

bus

food insecurity

green infrastructure

Farmshare

carshandra hollins

save

conservation

solar panels

springtime

sharon mays

generation net-zero

tree farm

lighting

north central austin

tree canopy

GAVA

earth day

local food

solar

ecodistrict

save money

environmentaustin

Austin

recycling

recycled reads

go green

bailey middle school

rundberg

street trees

carbon footprint

community gardens

gardening

open data

walking

zero waste

austin public library

bright green future grant

public affairs

crockett

urban forest

fresh for less

austin interfaith network

dashboard

holiday

george cofer

University of Texas

lanier

eNewsletter

aisd

congregation beth israel

goals

pilot

heidi tse

transporation

biking

Calder Kamin

lbj

blog

Austin Mobility

events

key performance indicators

restaurant

environment

food for all

challenge

21st century America

conferences

electric drive

kpi

reduce carbon footprint

seniors

artist

complete communities

festivals

healthy

city sustainability

austinties

bike month

children

business

austin city limits

Prosperous. Sustainable. Austin. green

reclaimed water

renewable energy

local business

breathing

sustainability accomplishments

Zero Waste Block Leader

seton

mall

rebate

formula 1

halloween

purple pipe

wildlife

bryony gomez-palacio

austin business

air

Goodwill

catalina berry

suburb

climate change

sxsw

restoration

Dustin Fedako

green choice

holidays

small business

how to ride the bus

ozone

year in review

lisa apfelberg

neighborhood

chickens

electric

visiting austin

recycling tips

kids

pat bulla

food recovery

air quality

Net-Zero

keynote

redevelopment

chief sustainability officer

tour

tourism

austin resource recovery

whole life learning center

family

dale bulla

golden-cheeked warbler

joseph de leon

gallons saved

upcycled

green business leaders

Net Zero Carbon emissions

bill nye

leadership

lucia athens

recipes

learning

Nature

low flow

gift bows

reagan high

Austin's food system

science

green visitor

greenchoice

autumn

birds

wrapping paper

eco-audit

reagan high school

local food system

Austin Energy Regional Science Fest

fall

gus garcia

castle hill

eastside memorial high school

Prosperous. Sustainable. Austin. earth day

redevelopment; code

Prosperous. Sustainable. Austin. sustainable

pumpkin

diy

capmetro

farmers market

eastside memorial

gift ideas

connected

food policy

donations

michael harris

Healthy Austin

Food Waste

metrorapid

local produce

SXSW Eco

student showcase

compact

good food purchasing

thor harris

green operations and maintenance

community and outreach

applied materials

local farms

presentation

how-to

reclaimed wood

sustainable business

fitness

farms

city hall

urban trails

texas

local

sealab

Austin Animal Center

electricity

wellness

farming

nominations

weather

Music

foundation communities

2016

animal

agriculture

nominate net-zero hero

ecorise

valentine

stay cool

musican

Mendez Middle School

resource management

texas women in agriculture

nominate

valentines day

activities

cool pavement

Mueller

the science guy

Texas women

net-zero hero 2016

party tips

Sameer Pusapaty

green roof

McKinney/York

water efficiency

Award

bicycling

green operations

safety

creek protection

infrastructure

amy stansbury

2017

December

November

October

September

August

July

June

May

April

March

February

January