Little things add up for first Business Smart small business member

Little things add up for first Business Smart small business member

Charles and Darlene Hooks are committed to recycling, and found that little changes can add up to big results when it comes to sustainability.

It wasn’t a big change that Darlene Hooks noticed; it was the big results all the little changes added up to.

“Being a small business is a little different than being a huge company trying to do these things,” said Hooks, the Vice President of Loyd Bransom Surveyors Inc., a company started by her father in 1970. “I mean, our ‘recycle team’ is me and my husband (Charles). But we have learned so much and we have learned that doing small things can make a big difference.”

Big enough to make Loyd Bransom Surveyors Inc. the first small business in Fort Worth to earn certification in the city’s Business Smart program.

For Hooks, the impetus was a flier in a water bill—one promoting smart-flush toilets—and that change led not to a tidal wave, but to a steady collection of tiny drops that have filled the sustainability buckets of not only her company, but her home, as well.

“I saw that flier and thought, ‘Well, the toilets here were put in back in 1970, so I think this might help us,” she said. “So, I signed up—and our monthly water bill got cut about in half. I could not believe it.

“That was the first thing that caught my eye, and that just followed up with other things I read about, and that led to learning about the Business Smart program and all the tips and ideas it had to offer just kept feeding us these small changes that just started to add up.”

Always a supporter of recycling, Hooks said her employees have embraced that concept, and that the company is diligent in its efforts to recycle paper, batteries and electronics.

“It [Business Smart] helped us get a really good focus,” she said. “Since January, we have recycled about 1,675 pounds of materials — and we are working really hard to keep that going. All of our employees participate, and it’s easy to get them to do that because they see the benefit pretty clearly.”

Hooks also got advice on changes to the lawn irrigation system at the office, and has seen a big difference in its utility bills after taking the Business Smart training on the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager system.

“Obviously, that program is focused on bigger companies, but I found that it can make a real difference for a smaller business too,” Hooks said. “The (Portfolio Manager training) has been a really good thing for us. It’s gotten our utility bills down a lot—not as low as I’d like but definitely below the baseline we set with the program.”

Hooks just finished a stint on City Council for Haltom City, where she served as mayor pro tem, and said the things she learned in Business Smart translated well with her role with city government.

“It helped me see that we have choices out there,” Hooks said. “The things I learned helped with City Council too, like how garbage collection works and how we can keep our fees lower by not putting recyclable materials in the dump — which was another way to emphasize to our employees the fact that the more we recycle, the lower we can keep our bills.”

Hooks also learned that repurposing materials is as effective and important at as recycling. She takes the large paper scraps from the surveyor business to her grandson’s school so they can use them for projects.

“Everything can have a second life,” she said. “We have a lot of the old floppy discs from computers around our office, and this got me to thinking about ways to do something with them—other than just pitching them in the dump. I looked up on Pinterest and saw an idea about wiring them together and making them into pencil boxes, so I am going to take them to my grandson’s school and give them to them to use for a crafts project.

“Recycling stuff is great—finding a new use for stuff is better.”

It’s the little things, it seems, that make the biggest difference.

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DFW Land Surveys

DFW Land Surveys

We’ve been providing survey services for the DFW since 1968.