Melink Volunteers: Green Business Groups of Cincinnati

Supporting green business groups and clean energy initiatives is important to Melink as a company, and many employees have made a personal commitment to such initiatives as well. Melink employee-owners donate their time and expertise to serve on sustainability groups, advisory board committees, or professional boards at the local and regional levels.

Green Business Council of Cincinnati 

Joel Geiman, General Manager
Allison Sternad, Director of Marketing & Sustainability

The Green Business Council of Cincinnati (GBC) was founded in 2011 by several Cincinnati area corporations to help local business leaders collaborate on sustainability initiatives, such as energy benchmarking, waste management, and composting. The council meets on a bi-monthly basis to help guide its members to apply best practices for delivering a better social, economic, and environmental future. Melink employees not only offer their expertise on renewable energy and LEED building certification but also share their experience with their own internal sustainability programs.

Melink is also part of the GBC Executive Committee, which meets on a monthly basis. “Melink’s responsibility on the committee is to manage the list of all council members, keep members accountable on attendance requirements, and to help set expectations for new members in the GBC’s mentorship program,” said Geiman, who has been volunteering his time with GBC for about a year.

Beyond 34

Joel Geiman, General Manager
Allison Sternad, Director of Marketing & Sustainability

Beyond 34 Logo

Through the GBC in early 2020, Melink became involved with Beyond 34, an initiative facilitated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Beyond 34’s goal is to increase the current 34% recycling rate in the United States through a multi-stakeholder approach. An implementation model was created for a pilot city (Orlando, FL) to increase and improve its recycling and recovery rates. The test program was successful in Orlando, so the U.S. Chamber Foundation chose Cincinnati in 2019 as its second region to apply its model.

Green Energy Ohio 

Randy Miles, Vice President

Green Energy Ohio Logo

Green Energy Ohio (GEO) is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting clean energy practices through education, outreach, and representation. GEO has presented testimony to Ohio legislators in support of policies and projects that advance the development and deployment of clean energy. Melink’s Randy Miles serves on GEO’s Board of Directors. Annually, Melink participates in the Green Energy Ohio Tour, which showcases renewable technologies in homes, businesses, and public buildings.

Green Workplaces Cincinnati

Natalie Heltman, Account Coordinator
Allison Sternad, Director of Marketing & Sustainability

Green Workplaces Cincinnati is a program through the Hamilton County Waste and Recycling Office. The group consists of sustainability committee leaders from local businesses. Through monthly meetings, the program gives members a chance to connect to outside resources and share best practices. Great Workplaces Cincinnati supports the 513 Green Workplace Certification, a sustainability designation that recognizes businesses in Hamilton County that voluntarily operate in an environmentally friendly manner.

Keep Cincinnati Beautiful

Melink supports Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, an organization that focuses on building community through neighborhood revitalization and education. The organization is active in each of Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods and sponsors the Great American Cleanup where participants pick up litter, plant flowers, paint buildings, and more.

GoZERO Composting

Matt Meyer, Director of Field Service

GoZero Compost Collection at Melink Corporation

GoZero is a Cincinnati non-profit that provides food waste collection and compost delivery services. Its main goal is to divert food waste from landfills as a self-described “compost courier.” Essentially, GoZero organizes residential and commercial drop-off sites for food waste collection, picks up the waste, delivers it to a site to be composted, and then delivers the cured compost once ready for application. Melink has had a GoZERO food waste compost drop-off station on its campus since 2016. Area residents can subscribe to get a collection bucket and start dropping off food scraps from home. Learn more.

EV Cincy, Cincinnati Office of Environment
& Sustainability

Nate Schmidlin, Account Specialist

EV Cincy is a project out of the City of Cincinnati’s Office of Environment and Sustainability. Increased adoption of EVs reduces local air pollution, improves public health, and slows climate change. Schmidlin serves as an ambassador to educate others about the benefits of electric vehicles. However, due to the pandemic, original outreach plans like going on test drives are on hold.  “COVID-19 has forced us to switch gears from our original outreach plan. Now it’s all about getting the EV awareness message out on social media to help people stay informed,” said Schmidlin.

Green Umbrella 

Green Umbrella logo

Green Umbrella is the regional sustainability alliance of Greater Cincinnati with more than 200 member organizations, including Melink Corporation. Green Umbrella facilitates collaboration among non-profits, businesses, educational institutions, and governmental groups. The organization hosts the annual Midwest Regional Sustainability Summit and serves as a thought cultivator for sustainability initiatives in Cincinnati’s Tri-State area.

Cincinnati 2030 District

Cincinnati 2030 District Logo

Facilitated by Green Umbrella, the Cincinnati 2030 District’s goal is to create healthy, high-performing buildings in Cincinnati. Members, including Melink Corporation, make a commitment to reduce their buildings’ energy use, water consumption, and transportation emissions 50% by the year 2030. The company is actively helping Cincinnati meet its 2030 goals by providing industry expertise (through events like educational seminars) but also building data to help the city understand what can be accomplished and how.

How Restaurants Can Verify Proper Ventilation for Health & Comfort

If you have owned or operated a restaurant, you are familiar with the challenges of maintaining proper airflow throughout the building. From the kitchen to the front of the house to the back of the house, proper airflow can be challenging to keep in balance. That said, restaurants go out of balance for many reasons, wreaking havoc on a building’s health, comfort, and ventilation.

Does your restaurant look like this?

Restaurant Ventilation Problems

Unfortunately, these types of issues are extremely common in existing restaurants throughout the United States, and, when left unaddressed, can lead to negative building pressure, which causes serious long-term damage, poor indoor air quality, poor energy efficiency and uncomfortable conditions.

What are the industry guidelines for building ventilation?

ASHRAE 62.1 outlines minimum ventilation rates for various types of buildings, as well as other measures to ensure acceptable indoor air quality (IAQ) for human occupants.  In a nutshell, ASHRAE recommends a certain minimum amount of fresh outside air be introduced through the building’s HVAC system.  It also recommends that the proper amount of outside air be verified at least every five years. Without properly setting the outside air intake volume, buildings can experience negative building pressure and exhibit sick building characteristic. The best way to verify outside air is to hire a certified Test & Balance company, such as Melink, which has the proper air measurement instrumentation and years of experience.

How can I tell if my restaurant is properly ventilated?

  1. Observe restaurant conditions and ask staff for a log of comfort issues
  2. Turn on HVAC equipment, “Fan On” mode
  3. Check the front door for signs of negative building pressure
  4. Observe the kitchen hoods for proper smoke capture
  5. Check the restaurant for drafts
  6. Inspect the rooftop equipment to ensure it is in working condition
  7. Ensure your HVAC preventative maintenance services are being performed satisfactorily
  8. Contact Melink for building balance and comfort investigation services

How can I be sure my building stays healthy, comfortable, and properly ventilated for the long-run?

More and more restaurant chains are interested in the idea of “ongoing commissioning.”  With scant facilities budgets and facilities managers stretched ever thinner, it is not feasible to routinely send someone to each facility to verify building health, ventilation, and comfort. Out of this necessity, Melink’s PositiV® Building Health Monitor was born. PositiV is a standalone system that monitors your building’s pressure and remotely tracks building health. Alerts are sent when the system detects anything is out of set parameters. Moreover, PositiV monitors temperature, relative humidity and CO2 so that you gain a full picture of the health of your facility. 

Melink PositiV Building Health Monitor

PositiV is THE solution toward being able to actively monitor restaurant health, comfort and ventilation for the long-haul, and it is the most affordable way for multi-site facility managers to proactively stay ahead of building health issues before they become big facility problems.

Below is a REAL restaurant’s PositiV data. The site is taking action to improve negative pressure and building ventilation issues before they cause building damage, mold and comfort problems.

Restaurant Ventilation Case Study Example

Ensure Your Restaurant’s Ventilation & Air Quality

For further information restaurant ventilation and PositiV (ongoing commissioning), please e-mail [email protected] or call us at 513.965.7300.

Why LEED Buildings Make Financial Sense

The University of Notre Dame chose sustainable, LEED-approved construction options and why you should, too.

Recently, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded the University of Notre Dame with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification for the design, construction, and operation of three buildings attached to Notre Dame Stadium. These building are Duncan Student Center, Corbett Family Hall, and O’Neill Hall. Your next statement may be “So what?!” Why should the folks at Notre Dame care, and why should anyone else involved with owning, managing, and operating a commercial building care?

The answer? Money.

LEED Gold Certification seal from the U.S. Green Building Council

According to research from the U.S. Department of Energy, LEED buildings consume 25% less energy and 11% less water than non-LEED buildings. That translates to lower utility bills. If you could build the same facility but pay 11-25% less in operating costs, why would you choose otherwise? And this isn’t even taking into account all the environmental benefits of LEED buildings!

If the decision is made for the non-LEED option, then that is saying you know you could spend less operating this building, but you want to pay more. You know you could improve the income flow of your building, but you choose to make less. Why? 

LEED Buildings: Financial Common Sense

Perhaps the concern is that a LEED building might cost more to construct than a non-LEED building. Depending on where you are building, there are notable tax benefits and incentives from states and municipalities (AKA free money). Choosing to build a non-LEED building is essentially saying you don’t want free money.

Finally, since a commercial building is an investment, the core factors of occupancy rates, lease payments, and long-term tenants are very important to cash flow. Citing the USGBC, LEED buildings retain higher property values than non-LEED buildings. LEED buildings are healthier for the occupants, and 79% of employees say they would choose a job in a LEED building over a non-LEED building. All of these point to greater demand (occupancy), longer term leases, and higher property appreciation. Money, money, money.

LEED Building infographic from U.S. Green Building Council
Source: USGBC

Intelli-Hood: A Solution for LEED Buildings

As I write this from Melink’s own LEED Platinum-certified headquarters, nicknamed HQ1, and across the street from our newly opened HQ2, which is a Zero-Energy Building, I am very happy for Notre Dame. I am also very PROUD that Melink’s Intelli-Hood® variable speed kitchen hood controls were a part of all the conservation measures that helped them achieve this certification. Within the three buildings that achieved LEED status, Intelli-Hood was installed on eight kitchen hoods. Intelli-Hood is now standard on any new hood installations, as well as retrofits, at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame opted for the sustainable, energy efficient, and financially smart option of LEED construction. What will you choose?