AMS Green Team News – August 2022

August 18, 2022

There is some exciting Green Team news to share this month! A few months ago we began to talk about the Team’s plan to work with College of the Canyons LEED Interns to identify and increase environmental sustainability in our warehouses across the board. In March we announced that COC and AMS are working out the details and looking forward to the “green light” to begin. The next mention of LEED interns was when the Team received resumes and began to review them.

Then in early June we announced the following: In our efforts to become Carbon Neutral we registered with the Climate Registry which is an organization that provides us with the tools to measure and report our carbon footprint. AMS hired a credentialed LEED Green Associate as a summer intern to spearhead this program along with one of our Team members. We are working with a 3rd party to take some early steps towards becoming Carbon Neutral from a facilities perspective.

In this August 2022 Green Team blog we’ll give a brief report on the recommendations made in the LEED intern’s walkthrough assessment, conducted on ‎Friday, ‎June ‎17, ‎2022, by Erin Burgess, LEED Green Associate.

Recommendations in the category of SAFETY:

  • The front door had safety signage and was locked. Buzz-in was necessary to enter building from the front lobby. There was onsite surveillance and outdoor site lighting. Utilities were properly marked. Speedbumps in parking lot maintain vehicle speed. Equipment marked on floor and handles locked. Fire protection sprinkler system.

Recommendations in the category of SUSTAINABLE SITES:

  • AMS Fulfillment’s Headquarters had open space, including two outdoor eating areas with surrounding landscape for employees to enjoy their lunch or take a break.
  • AMS Fulfillment may have earned points in this category due to the planters and landscape onsite, which provides habitat for some of the local species, collects local rainwater, and reduces the heat island effect created by the remaining parking lot.
  • An assessment could be conducted to see if light pollution created by parking lampposts is within acceptable levels/angles and could be reduced.
  • It is recommended that AMS Fulfillment install a rainwater collection system if one isn’t already present.
  • (Sustainable Site Credit) “Moat” planter wrapped around three sides of the building, about 4’ wide (maybe 5’). Despite the concrete parking lot, there are areas for local rainwater to absorb into ground and stay on-site.

Recommendations in the category of WATER EFFICIENCY:

  • Low flow water fixtures could be installed in the restrooms and breakrooms to reduce Indoor Water Use.
  • Water fixtures with timers and/or sensors are an excellent way to avoid wasteful leaks to reduce Indoor Water Use.
  • It is recommended that AMS Fulfillment install a rainwater collection system if one isn’t already present. The collected gray water could then be used to reduce Outdoor Water Use.
  • Much of the landscaping appeared to include plants that were native or adaptive which reduce outdoor water use.
  • It is recommended that AMS Fulfillment have a professional landscape visit the site(s) and see if there are plants onsite that require too much watering and replace them with native or adaptive plants if necessary.
  • Water use should be metered as another way to earn LEED points or find and repair costly water leaks.
  • If traditional sprinklers are used onsite, it is recommended that these be switched out with drip irrigation as it wastes less outdoor water.

Recommendations in the category of MATERIALS AND RESOURCES:

  • AMS Fulfillment is currently designing a well-developed recycling program for onsite activities as well as incentive programs for employees to recycle at home.
  • Collect and store well-documented Product Disclosures, MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets), etc., that are easily accessed when needed.
  • AMS already has an on-site recycling program both for the waste generated in operations and for waste generated by employees. AMS is currently creating standard colored bins with signage in English and Spanish to designate different types of waste. Bins are placed through the warehouse, office area, and breakrooms. AMS is also in the process of developing an incentive system that will benefit employees for recycling more onsite and encourage them to recycle at home.
  • Cardboard gets bailed with an on-site bailer. Plastic is separated by type as best as possible and goes to Waste Management outside with regular pickup.
  • Pallets: Broken ones get bought back by pallet company at about half price. They fix them up and then resell them.
  • Refrigerant: No refrigeration for operations. A few residential-sized refrigerators in kitchen, break rooms, and conference rooms.
  • Forklifts: 40 Electric and 5-6 Propane
  • Vehicles: A few vehicles on site to transport employees from site to site, not for deliveries or main operations. New semitruck was recently purchased to comply with new CA Commercial Diesel Codes.
  • Shipping: Shipping for main operations is through 3rd parties like USPS, DHL, etc. Scope 3 Paperless Picking: Orders go through a hand-held system rather than paper print outs.
  • Rainforest: Donated to rainforest and saved 50K acres.

Recommendations in the category of INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY:

  • There were lots of living indoor plants providing oxygen and creating a welcoming environment.
  • Bay doors are often open to let in light and fresh air.
  • Skylights are used in some areas to let in daylight without glare.
  • Industrial floor fans were located throughout the warehouse for Thermal Comfort.
  • Replace remaining fluorescent lights with LEDs.
  • Reduce duration of timed light sensors.
  • Ensure that multiple light switches (such as 4-way switches in the office area) only control localized areas so that some lights may remain off when only part of the area is occupied.
  • AMS Fulfillment’s Headquarters had floor-to-ceiling windows in the lobby and most office areas allowing in daylight. They have film so direct glare is minimized. Some have shades like in the lobby that are pulled down for shade. Cubicles have windows built into walls so the daylight can penetrate the entire space.
  • These large windows enabled quality views to mature, healthy trees and filled planters. In addition, cubicle walls have built-in windows, so the views extend through the entire space.

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The LEED report is extensive and the basic environmental information is presented above. We asked Samantha Hicks comment on where AMS will proceed now, and whether the LEED intern participation has been beneficial to the Green Team. 

We very much appreciate the LEED report and the scrutiny of our facilities. The report points to areas we can improve upon quickly and easily, such as more localized lighting and water efficiency and we will be quick to make those changes. We appreciate also the thumb’s up on the many things we are doing well, including our extensive recycling program. Our Green Team is on a sustainability journey, and we welcome all to join us.

AMS has a strong connection with our local community college, and we knew having an intern on our team would bring a new level of knowledge. Plus, it is a great feeling to be part of helping a person build a foundation with relevant job experience for their resume and a future career in LEED.

Erin’s internship report focused on the environmental and social framework of LEED. Through this lens, the Green Team is educated on AMS’ design of our facilities and how our operations impact the environment through energy use, resource use, waste, and emissions. Erin also looked at the AMS impact on people and community, highlighting our ethical behavior, which measures social impact based on performance with the many programs we offer our employees.

Lastly, Erin took on a huge task with spearheading our reporting software for our emissions report, and made great progress by completing 40% of the project in only a few short weeks! AMS next step is to pick up where she left off by collecting and inputting data, then submitting our report to a third-party verification firm.

I am proud to see and be part of AMS’ progress in becoming Carbon/Climate Neutral. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”