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Globe 100 | True Green

It's personal, not just business

(Shaw Nielsen for The Boston Globe)
By Erin Ailworth
Globe Staff / May 18, 2010

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When Chapman Construction/Design went green, it decided what’s good for the business is good for its people. So the Newton construction management firm offered its employees incentives to become more ecoconscious in their personal lives.

The perks included financial help to buy a fuel-efficient car and prime parking spots for those who did.

The idea was to help employees “be more efficient, be more productive, realize more cost savings,’’ explained Guy Compagnone, director of sustainable practices.

As Chapman installed a solar-powered electrical system and renovated the company’s headquarters with recycled materials and low-chemical paint, employees started bragging around the office about taking water-saving, two-minute showers, driving new, high-gas-mileage cars, and installing energy-efficient light bulbs.

“The biggest thing for me was recycling more at home and getting my parents to recycle more,’’ said project coordinator Cindy Aubele. Since she lives in a town without a recycling program, Aubele brings recyclables to Chapman’s in-house recycling center.

Senior construction supervisor Tom Hansen bought a used Honda Civic with the help of company incentives, and often leaves his less-efficient truck at home. “Not every day is a green focus,’’ he said, “but it’s always in the back of your mind.’’

Allison Wellman, Chapman’s sustainability coordinator, said keeping co-workers thinking about the environment at home hasn’t been hard.

“You do it at work all the time,’’ she said. “So, why not there?’’