The Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program

Independence Blue Cross (IBC) has joined the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program. Membership in this program confirms IBC’s promise to change daily business practices and reduce our impact on the environment. There are two requirements to become a member of the program. The first is to post the following document:

PDF iconIBC’s Carbon Footprint Summary

Another requirement in becoming a member of the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Program is to post the Greater Philadelphia Green Business Commitment Self-Certification Report. The following categories of checklists contain various office practices. Each completed practice moves IBC toward a higher membership level in the program. To become a member, IBC completed seven mandatory and 20 elective practices.

  1. Leadership and Education
  2. Energy
    1. General
    2. HVAC
    3. Lighting
    4. Office equipment
  3. Operations and Procurement
    1. Facilities / Janitorial
    2. Office
    3. General practices
  4. Transportation
    1. Commuter
    2. Business travel
    3. Fleet
  5. Waste Reduction and Recycling
    1. Food and beverage
    2. Paper
    3. Policies
  6. Water Management
    1. Exterior
    2. Interior
  7. Innovation

I. Leadership and Education

Objective: Raise awareness of sustainability efforts and environmental issues within the company and business community at large.

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Designate a green office advocate or working committee.* X    
(2) Assess and track your firm’s/facility’s (ies’) Philadelphia region estimated baseline carbon footprint. (Use of the calculator provided by Pennsylvania Environmental Council is strongly encouraged; however, a member may assess its carbon footprint using the protocols identified in the note below.)*† X    
(3) Promote sustainability initiative and forthcoming changes, strategies, and objectives within company on a regular basis to raise consciousness and add transparency of the initiative.* X    
(4) Develop and implement a written plan to reduce carbon footprint.   X  
(5) Appoint management-level sustainability officer. X    
(6) Establish and promote individual green pledge for employees.   X  
(7) Actively encourage employees to adopt sustainable practices outside of work and provide resources for doing so (such as discounted compact fluorescent (CF) light bulbs). X    
(8) Host regular green awareness events within the company.   X  
(9) Prepare an internal annual report of progress and distribute to employees/shareholders. X    
(10) Distribute an external green e-newsletter on at least a quarterly basis.   X  
(11) Prepare an external annual report on progress to be distributed publicly.   X  
(12) Be in a LEED-certified building and/or certify your space as a LEED Commercial Interior.   X  
(13) Post and maintain your current Greater Philadelphia Green Business Commitment Self-Certification Report (this checklist) on your external website. X    
(14) Post and maintain your current carbon footprint (summary data) on your external website. X    

* Mandatory minimum requirement
† Note: Acceptable protocols are those developed by the World Resources Institute & World Business Council for Sustainable Development available at, the Climate Registry, or the California Climate Action Registry.

II. Energy

Objective: Reduce energy use at facility.

A. General

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Conduct an informal internal energy audit of your facilities (assess and implement simple measures to reduce energy consumption).* X    
(2) Purchase 10% of electricity demand as renewable energy credits (green power) from your utility.   X  
(3) Purchase an additional 10% of electricity demand as renewable energy credits (green power) from your utility (30% total).   X  
(4) Purchase an additional 10% of electricity demand as renewable energy credits (green power) from your utility (20% total).   X  
(5) Have an outside firm conduct a formal energy audit of your facilities.   X  
(6) Improve building envelope with increased insulation and high-performance windows that exceed current building standards.   X  
(7) Create energy on-site, such as through photovoltaic panels, wind turbines, or ground source heat pumps.   X  

* Mandatory minimum requirement


Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Maintain (and adhere to) a written policy that ensures blinds and curtains are closed during peak summer period (white reflects) to reduce A/C load. X    
(2) Institute and/or maintain a written maintenance program: Inspect permanent filters every three months and clean permanent filters with mild detergents when necessary (change replaceable filters every three months); check the entire system for coolant and air leaks, clogs, and obstructions of air intake and vents; keep the condenser coils free of dust and lint; keeps the evaporator coils free of excessive frost. X    
(3) Implement weatherizing policy and measures (i.e., weather stripping, caulking, sealing unused space, not heating/cooling unused space).   X  
(4) If appropriate, apply window film to reduce solar heat gain.   X  
(5) Install ceiling fans to promote air circulation and reduce the need for air-conditioning or use fan-only mode on A/C.   X  
(6) Program HVAC system to reduce operations when building is unoccupied, or use occupancy sensors to adjust set points. X    
(7) Use, install, or replace HVAC equipment with Energy Star-rated HVAC equipment. X    
(8) Shade sun-exposed windows and walls to mitigate the effect of direct sunlight during the summer. Use awnings, sunscreens, shade trees, or shrubbery (applicable only for air-conditioned spaces). X    
(9) Install an energy management system for central air-conditioning and heating systems. X    

C. Lighting

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Maintain (and adhere to) a written policy to turn off office lights when leaving for more than 15 minutes, and post reminders. X    
(2) Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents or LED lights. Use halogen lamps only for low wattage task and spot lighting. X    
(3) Arrange your workspaces to take advantage of areas with natural sunlight, and design for increased natural lighting when remodeling (workspace within 30’ of natural light).   X  
(4) Use "task" lighting with energy-efficient bulbs where extra light is needed, rather than overlighting an entire area with ambient light. X    
(5) Replace standard fluorescent lights with low- or no-mercury fluorescent lights that are higher efficiency. X    
(6) Install optical reflectors or diffusers to increase lighting efficiency and reduce the number of fixtures, lamps.   X  
(7) Disconnect unused ballasts in de-lamped fixtures, and replace burned-out lamps to avoid ballast damage. X    
(8) Reduce ambient lighting to 1W/sf and 35 FC (except in specialty work areas).   X  
(9) Keep lighting fixtures, diffusers, and lamps clean so that they are lighting as effectively as possible (dirt can reduce lighting efficiency by up to 50%).   X  
(10) Use daylight sensors in lighting systems. X    
(11) Replace magnetic ballasts with electronic ballasts and install T-8 or T-5 lamps. X    
(12) Install bypass/delay timers for off-hour lighting. X    
(13) Install occupancy sensors on lights in places of variable occupancy, such as restrooms, private offices, storage, etc. X    
(14) Increase natural lighting through installing sidelights or lowering cubicle and nonstructural walls that block lighting to interior workstations.   X  
(15) Use photocells for exterior lighting and/or areas with significant natural daylight.   X  
(16) Use LED fixtures for all emergency/exit lighting. X    

D. Office equipment

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Set all office equipment to go to standby mode when not in use (e.g., energy-saver buttons on copiers). Turn off equipment when not in use for long periods of time (end of workday). X    
(2) Establish purchasing program to buy only EPEAT-certified computers and LED monitors that consume approximately one-third less energy than larger CRT monitors. X    
(3) Establish purchasing policy to purchase only Energy Star or energy-efficient equipment and appliances. X    
(4) Install or use plug load controllers for office equipment that switches equipment off after working hours.   X  
(5) Set refrigerator temperature between 38 and 41 degrees Fahrenheit and freezer between 10 and 20 degrees Fahrenheit.   X  
(6) Insulate all hot water pipes, hot water heaters, and storage tanks.   X  
(7) Install “instant-on” hot water.   X  

III. Operations and Procurement

Objective: Engage in purchasing practices that minimize environmental impacts within business and throughout the supply chain.

A. Facilities / Janitorial

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Buy toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels that have 35% – 100% post-consumer recycled content. X    
(2) Implement a “just in time” purchasing policy (inventory reduction purchasing) and a “first-in/first-out” chemical usage policy (using older chemicals first) to use old material first. X    
(3) Replace aerosols with non-aerosol alternatives (such as pump sprays for fresheners and cleaners). X    
(4) Buy low- or no-VOC paints, coatings, adhesives, and sealants for surface coating projects.   X  
(5) When replacing furniture, phase in low-VOC furniture. X    
(6) Use green cleaning techniques and products, including low-toxic, biodegradable cleaners, and properly dispose of expired materials. X    
(7) When renovating, use eco-friendly flooring, such as CRI green label plus carpeting, CRI green label carpet pads, and FloorScore® certified flooring (bamboo, natural linoleum, cork, etc.). X    
(8) Reduce or eliminate the use of chemical pesticides by implementing an integrated pest management (IPM) program that utilizes planting locations, pest-resistant plants, proper irrigation and cultivation procedures, biological controls, and less toxic pesticides to prevent pest harborage. If using a pest-control contractor, specify IPM techniques in contract. X    

B. Office

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Institute a written policy regarding the leasing of office equipment, where appropriate. Businesses that lease out equipment tend to use more durable items, salvage reusable parts, and refurbish, recycle, or donate used equipment that can no longer be leased. X    
(2) Purchase copy, computer, or fax paper, letterhead, envelopes, and business cards with at least 35% post-consumer recycled content.   X  
(3) Purchase boxes and bags for retail use or shipping made from recycled paper or plastic (or reuse old boxes and bags).     X
(4) Where possible, use nontoxic water-based markers rather than toxic permanent ink markers/pens. X    
(5) Use recycled or remanufactured laser and copier toner cartridges. X    
(6) For shipping items, use shredded paper or cornstarch pellets for packaging needs instead of purchasing Styrofoam pellets, bubble wrap, or other packaging materials; also, reuse, in your own packaging, packaging materials received.     X
(7) When purchasing new printers, buy ones with duplex capability. X    
(8) Print materials with soy or other low-VOC inks.   X  

C. General practices

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Maintain (and adhere to) a sustainable purchasing policy (Energy Star equipment and appliances; recycled content, biodegradable paper products; energy-efficient, low mercury lamps; plastic products; food products; building/renovation materials). Consider and favor products that are recyclable at the end of their useful life. X    
(2) Choose vendors who can articulate sustainable practices. X    
(3) Use unbleached and/or chlorine-free paper products (copy paper, promotional paper, paper towels, coffee filters, etc.).   X  
(4) Use local businesses for products and services whenever possible. X    
(5) Choose vendors who take back products after their shelf life is over (e.g., fluorescent light bulbs). X    
(6) Purchase items with the least packaging and work with vendors to minimize product packaging. Minimize packaging in your own products and services. X    
(7) Specify deliveries in reusable or returnable containers.   X  
(8) When purchasing garbage pails or garbage bags, find ones that use recycled plastic (e.g., recycled HDPE trash liner bags instead of LDPE or LLDPE).   X  
(9) When possible, arrange to order goods from vendors who make deliveries of multiple items in a single delivery. X    
(10) Ask vendors to take back packaging and used or damaged products for reuse and recycling. X    
(11) In order to improve indoor air quality, ban smoking from interior spaces and designate exterior smoking areas at least 25 feet from building entries, outdoor air intakes, and operable windows, with cigarette butt disposal units. X    
(12) Serve locally grown and/or organic food at workplace events when possible. X    

IV. Transportation

Objective: Reduce carbon footprint of employee travel by encouraging alternative commuting and fuel economy.

A. Commuter

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Have a bike kit for employees who may have bicycle emergencies or problems. X    
(2) Reserve, with signage, car/van pool and low-emissions/fuel-efficient vehicle parking spaces.   X  
(3) Encourage commuter alternatives by informing employees, customers, and others who visit your office about various transportation options (post bicycle route maps, transit schedules, commuter ride sign-ups, etc. in a visible area for employees). X    
(4) If space locations are available, enroll your company in a car-sharing program.   X  
(5) Operate a carpooling message board for employees who drive. X    
(6) Sign up for commuter benefits such as TransitChek for employees. X    
(7) Distribute free or discounted public transportation passes (beyond discount offered by TransitChek), or offer other incentives (such as additional vacation days) for using public transit.   X  
(8) Encourage bicycling to work by offering rebates on bicycles bought for commuting, or provide employees a stipend or subsidy for bicycle maintenance.   X  
(9) Offer secure areas for bicycle storage for both employees and customers. X    
(10) Offer lockers and showers for employees who walk, jog, or bicycle to work. Provide your own, or subsidize the cost of locker rentals and shower passes at a nearby health club. X    
(11) Offer electronic vehicle recharge ports for visitors, and employees’ electric vehicles.   X  
(12) Institute flextime and work-at-home days for employees who commute by car. X    
(13) Subsidize or otherwise offer incentives for employee purchase of hybrid vehicles.   X  
(14) Provide a commuter van or offer a shuttle service to and from bus, train, and/or light rail stops; or be located within walking distance of transit stop. X    

B. Business travel

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Have written policy to use hybrid cars during business travel when it is necessary to rent a car.   X  
(2) Have written policy to use public transit or car share, if possible, when traveling from office in metro area.   X  
(3) Use teleconferencing to cut down on amount of business travel. X    
(4) Buy carbon offsets for all business travel.   X  

C. Fleet

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Carefully plan delivery routes and errands to eliminate unnecessary trips. X    
(2) Purchase carbon dioxide offsets for company vehicles.   X  
(3) Convert company vehicles to low-emission/fuel-efficient vehicles (hybrid and/or vehicles using natural gas, electricity, or alternative fuels).   X  
(4) Make 50% of company fleet zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) or ACEEE 40 or lower-rated.   X  

V. Waste Reduction and Recycling

Objective: Reduce volume of waste generated by business, recycle as much waste as possible.

A. Food and beverage

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Recycle food and beverage containers (all glass, #1 and #2 plastic and aluminum containers).* X    
(2) Supply water through a fountain, cooler, or tap; eliminate bottled water. X    
(3) Use refillable containers of sugar, salt, and pepper, half-and-half, etc. to avoid individual condiment packets. X    
(4) For catering and takeout, either use your own reusable dishes or encourage caterers to serve “family-style” in reusable serving dishes. X    
(5) In the lunch/break room, eliminate disposables (plastic utensils, coffee stirrers, paper towels) by using permanent ware (mugs, dishes, utensils, towels/rags, coffee filters, etc.)   X  
(6) Have on-site composting of organic waste, or arrange for outside vendor to pick it up for composting.   X  

* Mandatory minimum requirement

B. Paper

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Recycle (after full use/reuse) all paper products that your recycling vendor will accept.* X    
(2) Maintain (and adhere to) a written policy of “green” printing practices, including duplex printing, draft printing, and utilization of scrap paper. X    
(3) If your facility still has an old printer without duplex capability, use only for single-page documents and ensure multipage documents are printed on duplex printer. X    
(4) Encourage employees to read, highlight, and comment on documents on the computer screen whenever possible. X    
(5) Keep a stack of previously used paper near printers. Use it for drafts, scratch paper, or internal memos, or designate a draft tray on printers with multiple trays. X    
(6) Recycle Tyvek™ envelopes. X    
(7) Write to or call senders requesting removal from mailing list to reduce junk mail. X    
(8) Return labels from duplicate mailings and subscriptions requesting that all but one be removed.   X  
(9) Write “refused” on unwanted first-class mail and return to sender.   X  
(10) Purge your own mailing lists to eliminate duplication. X    
(11) Institute a policy that switches to electronic forms, eliminate excess forms, and make paper forms more efficient. X    
(12) Where possible, reuse envelopes as both send and return envelopes; cover up old addresses and postage, affix new, and/or use two-way or “send and return” envelopes. X    
(13) Eliminate fax cover sheets by using “sticky” fax directory notes or use software that allows you to send and receive faxes directly from your computer without printing. X    
(14) Institute written policy encouraging the use of the size-reduction feature in photocopying (e.g., print two pages of book on one page). X    
(15) Minimize misprints by posting a diagram showing how to load special paper, such as letterhead.   X  
(16) Recycle toner cartridges, cell phones, and dry cell batteries. X    

* Mandatory minimum requirement

C. Policies

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Make it easy for employees to recycle by placing clearly marked collection bins in convenient locations. Post signs, and/or train employees regarding recycling policies and procedures in the office.* X    
(2) Donate or exchange unwanted but usable items (furniture, supplies, electronics, scrap materials, computer disks, etc.) to schools, churches, hospitals, libraries, nonprofit organizations, museums, teacher resource organizations, etc.; or enroll in a waste exchange program. X    
(3) Conduct a waste audit of your facilities. X    

* Mandatory minimum requirement

VI. Water Management

Objective: Reduce business’s aggregate water use and discharge of pollutants into stormwater runoff.

A. Exterior

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) If you need to use water to clean concrete or asphalt surfaces, use “dry sweeping,” water-efficient “spray brooms,” or low flow (less than 3 GPM) spray nozzles with automatic shutoff rather than a garden hose.   X  
(2) If company owns any vehicles, routinely check for leaks and keep a spill kit handy to catch/collect spills from leaking company or employee vehicles. X    
(3) Keep receiving, parking, landscaping, and Dumpster™ areas clean and free from litter, oil drips, and debris, and keep Dumpsters™ covered when not in use. X    
(4) Have a written maintenance procedure for all storm-water retention and detention basins.     X
(5) Regularly check and maintain storm-drain openings and basins that are located on your property. Keep litter, debris, and soil away from storm drains. X    
(6) Label all storm-water drains with a message such as “No dumping — protect our bay and ocean.”     X
(7) Institute policy not to wash cars in business parking lot. Wash cars only at a designated car wash. X    
(8) Clean concrete or asphalt surfaces by vacuuming or using equipment that collects and reuses dirty water. X    
(9) Post signs at trouble storm-water spots (e.g., loading docks, dumpster areas, outside hoses) describing proper storm-water practices.     X
(10) Ensure that your sprinkler and irrigation systems use water-saving best practices, including: optimizing spacing and avoiding runoff onto paved surfaces; using water-efficient drip irrigation or soaker hoses where feasible; using water during non-daylight hours; using rain shutoff devices; regularly repairing all broken/defective valves; test systems 4x/year.     X
(11) Plant gardens and ground cover that minimize water use and erosion: native or adapted, drought-tolerant ground cover or shrubs instead of turf; permeable pavers; plant drought-tolerant turf if necessary; group plants with similar water requirements together on the same irrigation line (“hydrozoning”). If possible, plant and maintain a street tree or sidewalk garden with drought-tolerant plants next to your business to allow for more natural absorption of water and less runoff. X    
(12) Install a rain garden to manage storm-water runoff from impervious surfaces on your property (i.e., parking lot, roof).     X

B. Interior

Office Practice Yes No N/A
(1) Post signs in restrooms and kitchen areas encouraging water conservation.   X  
(2) Regularly check for and repair all leaks in your facility (toilet leaks in tank toilets can be detected with leak detecting tablets. Train your staff to monitor and respond immediately to leaking equipment. X    
(3) Understand your water bill and review it monthly for indications of leaks, spikes, or other problems. X    
(4) Change window cleaning schedule from “periodic” to “as needed.”   X  
(5) Install low-flow aerators with flow rates not to exceed 2.2 GPM for sink faucets and lavatory sinks and 2.5 GPM for kitchen sinks, and 2.5 GPM (or lower) for low-flow showerheads. X    
(6) Install low-flow, self-closing faucets, either infrared or spring-loaded. X    
(7) Reduce water pressure to no higher than 70 psi by installing pressure-reducing valves with pressure gauge. X    
(8) Replace all pre-1992 toilets with 1.6 gpf toilets. Provide additional urinals in men’s restrooms and reduce number of toilets. Replace non-efficient toilets (greater than 3.5 gpf) with ultra high-efficiency toilets (less than 1.2 gpf). X    
(9) Replace all urinals with models that flush at no more than 1.0 gpf. Replace non-efficient urinals with new ultra low-flow (less than 0.5 GPM), or install waterless urinals.   X  
(10) Replace air-cooled air-conditioning units with water-cooled models. X    

VII. Innovation

Businesses may attain up to two extra “innovation” credits for each category if they have instituted practices that are not on the checklist but that further the objective of the category.