This post is a departure from my usual ramblings about how real-time access to accurate, actionable data can help drive business transformation, save money and increase profits. Actually it is still about data and how we’re responding to data, but has a slightly different twist.

There has been a lot of buzz in the mainstream media in the last year or two about ecological sustainability and “going green”. The science of global warming is real and we need to pay attention to the data. We can’t conduct business – indeed our lives – as if it doesn’t matter.

Aerial View of Hertzler Systems PropertyThis post is about a tiny but concrete step our business has taken to respond to that data by planting 600 tree seedlings on our property.

Our business produces a lot of carbon. We run a lot of computers, and we’re often on the road to be with our customers. Since we produce so much CO2, it made sense to us to look for ways to offset that production. It isn’t a panacea, but there is a lot of evidence that trees can sequester CO2 and help reduce carbon emissions.

Meanwhile our office building is in an industrial park. It sits on the front half of a two acre lot. The back half of the lot is land-locked; you can’t get to it except through our parking lot. This aerial view shows the building and parking lot in the bottom half of the picture, with the vacant space in the top half of the photo.

Over the years that we’ve occupied this space we didn’t bother to mow the back half of the property and it became overgrown with weeds. By last summer it was an eyesore.
Property overgrown with weeds

Our home town is known as “The Maple City. ” Trees are so important here that our city government employs a full time forester. Last summer I invited him out to our property and we talked about how trees could help.

He recommended that we purchase seedlings from the state government and plant a combination of evergreens and hardwoods. We did some rough calculations and came up with a count of between 600 and 800 trees.

A friend helped me track down a local tree planting service. They took care of all the details for me, even ordering and picking up the trees from the state nursery. Yesterday they planted 600 trees. We planted alternating rows of white pine and a mix of three hardwoods: red oak, tulip poplar, and wild cherry. The pine will grow up first and force the hardwoods to grow straight and tall.

Here are pictures of the planters at work:
Hertzler Systems Plants Trees-Pine

The end result is – well actually – the start. It will take years for these to become a full grown. But here is what the property looks like today. (Same view as second photo, above, followed by a close up.)
Hertzler Systems Planted Trees
Hertzler Systems Planted Trees - Close up


Update: Fall 2012 photo

UPDATE: Fall 2012 and no longer seedlings, but growing young trees.

UPDATE: Fall 2012 and no longer seedlings, but growing young trees.


  1. The Data Heads » Blog Archive » Reducing electrical consumption by 16%… April 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    […] I announced the tree project in this space, I mentioned that I would come back later and share another baby step we’re taking to reduce […]

  2. The Data Heads » Blog Archive » Impressed… May 21, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    […] he got me thinking about what’s next on Hertzler Systems’ sustainable business […]

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