Green Team fosters sustainable practices at Sunrise Labs

by Rob Levy - Special to the Union Leader
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While their specialty is in product development for life-saving medical devices, another “passion” of Sunrise Labs in Bedford is sustainability.

“A year ago, we formed the Green Team, which consists of seven people that are representatives from different departments in the company,” President Eric Soederberg said.

“The Green Team is constantly thinking of new ways to make Sunrise greener, implementing what they can, and making recommendations to management when more resources are required,” he added.

Some of its initiatives include composting kitchen waste, recycling paper/cardboard, purchasing china and steel utensils to replace plastic, and replacing bottled water and cans with a carbonated water system.

“The composting program received a first place Environmental award at New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility’s (Sustainability) Slam last fall,” said Soederberg.

He explained that one of their employees takes full compost buckets home to her chickens, who pick out their “favorite stuff.” The remains from “the picking and pooping” go into her garden beds.

“The eggs are brought back to Sunrise employees to purchase, which helps pay for the chicken feed,” he said. “It’s the full cycle of life.”

To maintain communications during the COVID-19 crisis, the Green Team has also created a newsletter to provide helpful information and simple solutions to encourage employees to continue recycling and composting at home.

“Some employees are already planning construction of a ‘Key Hole Garden,’ which is an easy way to handle compost and grow food,” Soederberg saide. “We’re planning to post one newsletter per month.”

Other sustainability-focused initiatives include a recently installed glued-down membrane roof that replaced an old ballast-style roof. This new roof, he said, will eventually accommodate a roughly 100KW solar system.

“We added extra insulation to the roof at the same time,” he said. “We hope to have the solar system installed this summer.”

Once it is installed — they may temporarily delay the project while assessing the impact of COVID-19 — Soederberg said they believe the system will pay for itself in about 10 years due to savings on their electric bills.

He said Sunrise Labs is also focused on electric transportation.

“We have offered our people $2,000 toward the purchase of an EV,” he said. “We’ve also installed six EV charging stations at our offices so they can drive for free.” According to Soederberg, though, policy action in Washington is required to make the necessary scale of changes to address climate change. “The U.S. is a global

leader and needs to lead the way for the global community by taking large steps on many fronts to change our current path on warming,” he said. “The key to affect climate friendly changes across the entire planet sits on the right side of the allies in Washington.”

To that end, he said he supports Deploy/ US, a group that is “performing the groundwork required to make it ‘cool’ for both our Republican and Democrat leaders to drive climate-friendly policies.”

“I also think it is important for business leaders to engage our leaders in government to let them know that, among other concerns, our businesses may not survive if real action is not taken soon,” he said.

For now, however, Soederberg said he hopes Sunrise Labs can continue to set an example for their communities, employees and clients.

“We hope it will ripple out to have a bigger impact,” he said. “Collectively, we can have an impact.”

Copyright © 2020 Union Leader Corporation. All rights reserved. 4/19/2020