For this premiere Green Week issue, the Syracuse New Times consulted with the SUN Group, the Sustainable Upstate Network of Central New York. It’s a partnership we intend to continue for each monthly installment of this sustainability section.
Andrew Picco formed the SUN Group in October 2009 to educate its members on the benefits of being sustainable, such as saving energy, protecting the environment, reducing landfill waste, improving indoor air quality, while ultimately saving money. “We like to introduce our members to the client so they know they have a source for the product they’re seeking, and that they’re all local,” says Picco, president of Sustainable Office Solutions, 1815 Lemoyne Ave.
“Everybody isn’t on the sustainability bandwagon yet,” adds Picco. “There are very few people that are willing to talk about it, let alone pull the trigger and implement these practices in their businesses. So I thought I’d start an organization where we would all have a better opportunity to find somebody who is“
more interested in finding what products are out there. It’s really designed for people who are opening up a business and decide they want to be more sustainable.”
So far, SUN has 44 members, and that’s fine with Picco. “We’re not interested in having hundreds of members; it becomes almost like you can’t run a meeting anymore with too many. So I’m not into the numbers as much as I want good members that get with the program.”
Further, none of the members compete against one another. Each segment, from academics to geothermal systems to lighting and printing, is represented once in the SUN Group.
While overall Picco is happy with his membership, some business segments remain underrepresented, he notes. Those include an insulation company and a window company. In addition to lacking those few key construction segments, Picco is hopeful the group’s mission starts to resonate with other business owners, as well as consumers.
“We aren’t as engaged as I think we should be,” he points out. “We haven’t accomplished as much as I expected. This year’s main push has been creating more structure: electing officers, adopting a budget and putting together a ‘green team’ so when someone contacts us we can go out to meet with that client and see what their needs are.”
And while he acknowledges that some practices that can be defined as sustainable often cost a bit more than the same old, same old, Picco wants the SUN Group to help clients understand the overall benefit, and the potential for cost savings down the road. “Sure, low-VOC paints are more expensive,” he says about the Volatile Organic Compound ingredients of some interior paints that can sicken some folks. “But using those could translate to those with allergies feeling sick or employees taking sick days; that’s a soft cost that most people can’t quantify.”
For more information on the SUN Group, visit www.sungroupcny.com or call 657-0135.
the benefits of being sustainable include saving energy, protecting the environment, reducing landfill waste, improving indoor air quality, while ultimately saving money.