March 01, 2012

Section Spotlight

Plant trees for Earth Day

The Section’s “One Million Trees Project—Right Tree for the Right Place at the Right Time” public service project calls on ABA members to further the Section’s goal of planting one million trees across the United States by 2014. Tree plantings have been taking place at events sponsored by Section members as well as at Section sponsored CLE programs. As Earth Day 2012 approaches, we encourage everyone to participate in hands-on tree planting activities in their communities. 

Another way to contribute to the One Million Trees Project is by purchasing trees through our program partners: American Forests, Arbor Day Foundation, or The Black Bear Conservation Coalition. These organizations will plant one tree for every dollar donated, bringing the project closer to its goal. Donate today. Even the smallest donation will make a difference.

If you would like assistance in planning a tree planting event or have questions about the project, please contact one of the Section’s Public Service Task Force co-chairs, George Wyeth or Karen Mignone.

ABA headquarters building receives LEED Gold certification

The Section was pleased to learn that the building in which the ABA’s Chicago office is located has received Existing Buildings Gold certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED program awards varying levels of certification to buildings that meet LEED rating standards in five major categories: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

To achieve LEED-Existing Buildings Gold, the building’s management company, Hines Management, worked with Sebesta Blomberg, a service provider of engineering solutions, to evaluate opportunities to maximize LEED points. Throughout the building, aerators and water closets were replaced with low flow models, lobby lights were retrofitted to LED lighting, and a green cleaning program was implemented. Ninety-two percent of the building’s employees completed the Alternative Commuting Transportation survey from which the USGBC awarded fifteen LEED points for demonstrating a 75 percent reduction in conventional automobile use for commuting trips.

Earning a Gold designation for a 24-year-old building is an outstanding accomplishment, reflective of the Hines team and the building tenants’ commitment to sustainability.

Join the Law Office Climate Challenge

Since 2007, the Section has asked law offices to consider joining the ABA-EPA Law Office Climate Challenge and more than 250 offices, law schools, and other organizations have responded to the call. The Climate Challenge encourages law offices to take specific steps to conserve energy and resources, as well as reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Your office can enroll in the Climate Challenge by taking at least one of the following actions: (a) Best practices for office paper management: Switch to double-sided printing and copying to reduce the amount of paper you use, buy paper with recycled content, and increase recycling. (b) WasteWise: Join this EPA program, adopt best practices for office paper management, and quantify the benefits. (c) Green Power Partnership: Join this EPA program and support the growing field of renewable energy. (d) ENERGY STAR: Join this EPA program, adopt an energy management plan designed for law offices, and set a goal to reduce your electricity use by at least 10 percent.

Now is the time for law offices to become leaders in the national movement toward sustainability and climate protection.