MCCU is making green pay off

A Twin Ports credit union is paying more than just lip service to help the planet.

Members Cooperative Credit Union has made changes at its buildings and business practices in an effort to reach a zero net balance in its carbon emissions.

And it’s resulting in big savings.

“We’ve discovered that making changes that are friendly to the environment are also friendly to our bottom line,” said Ralph Hamann, MCCU’s vice president and chief financial officer. “We have more work to do, but we are on our way to becoming a carbon neutral organization.”

To that end,  MCCU has:

–Switched to more efficient lighting at its Cloquet branch office. Savings: $1,800/year in electrical costs.

–Switched from battery-powered hand towel dispensers to manual ones. Savings: $600/year, plus batteries are kept out of landfills.

–Switched from compressed air keyboard cleaners to vacuum-style keyboard cleaners. Savings: $800, plus harmful hydroflourocarbons aren’t released into the environment.

–Installed a sophisticated heating, ventilation and cooling system in MCCU’s 8,000-square-foot call center. The system pulls heat from its large data servers and sends it to employees’ work stations, cutting heating costs to less than $150 per month in winter. Savings: $10,000/year.

Although MCCU started making sustainable practices a priority in 2004,  it boosted its efforts this year after staff completed seven months of training with Sustainable Twin Ports, a non-profit grassroots group dedicated to furthering sustainability through education, networking and action.