Tag Archives: going green

CMI_042

Artists Co-working Space to Open in Scottsdale

The historic arts district of Old Town Scottsdale will be the site of new co-working community for artists that is the first of its kind in the United States. The Creative Center of Scottsdale is a community for artists including sculptors, to painters, to photographers, to graphic designers, mixed-media artists as well as businesses and organizations that serve the arts community.

“We have been working to develop this concept for quite some time,” said Michelle Pelberg, creator of The Creative Center of Scottsdale, “It was important to us that this facility not only serves the needs of the next-generation artists in our community, but also preserves the history, architecture and legacy of the building and the district,” she said.

The Creative Center works similarly to an incubator-a collection of creative minds exchanging ideas and insights with one another in a common space. Their goal is to use collaborative co-working as a tool to build the Phoenix area art scene into a thriving hub of opportunity.

The Center is designed to be a flexible workspace for the vast and varying needs of all kinds of creative minds. Artists can work and create in their open workspace, focus at their private desk, create and showcase their work in gallery-like private studios, store their equipment in private lockers or recharge at the Center’s onsite coffee shop, SIP. With monthly rates ranging from $125-1,422 there is a space that works for everyone. All options include free Wi-fi, a full kitchen, and access to 2 conference rooms.

Housed in the iconic Scottsdale landmark, Mandall’s Shooting Supplies store, the Creative Center of Scottsdale will proudly participate in the City of Scottsdale’s Green Building Program. Scottsdale-based Architect Christina Noble of Contour Architecture is spearheading the building design and implementing unique green building resources and protocols.The Program encourages a whole-systems approach through design and building techniques to minimize environmental impact and reduce the energy consumption of buildings while contributing to the health of its occupants.  The Creative Center is focused on adaptive reuse through preserving the original structures as well as sourcing their materials responsibly. All fixtures and materials were selected looking at the proximity of their creation to the space.

“The Creative Center of Scottsdale is one of the first new buildings to be built according to the City of Scottsdale’s Green Building program,” Nobel said. “We are working closely with the city to make The Creative Center a model for all future green building in Scottsdale,” she said.

The Creative Center of Scottsdale is the answer for those looking to escape the home office, the kitchen table, or the unpredictable realm of public spaces. With their artist-friendly environment and beautiful studio spaces designed to showcase work, the Center aims to be a haven for those who create and work in the creative field.

The Creative Center of Scottsdale is expected to open in early 2014. The center is taking reservations for workspace and gallery space now.

smart phone

Verismic Software Helps Businesses Conserve Energy, Save Money

With the technology era continuously booming with new inventions and ways to make our lives easier, the question of “What will they think of next?” always seems to follow after the unveiling of a new product. With the launch of their new creation, Verismic Software has reached a new level of tying technology in with efforts to “go green” simultaneously.

A leader in PC Power Management, Verismic has recently introduced a completely new way for businesses around the globe to save both energy and money with an application that can be downloaded onto a smartphone.

With the company’s new Verismic Power Manager (VPM), information technology personnel can enable a Wake-on-Web function all with a click from their phone. This function is for computer workstations within business environments and wakes up computers recently turned off to conserve energy by the VPM.

With this function, the IT department in a business is able to gain remote access to a workstation and use it from anywhere, at any time. This, in turn, conserves energy costs. 

Those on the Power Manager 3.0 are informed of their personal contribution to PC energy efficiency. These users are able to compare how efficient they are with their peers, and in turn it increases overall energy effectiveness.

This software works on PCs, Macs and servers, and it manages on both laptops and desktops.

With the goal of promoting the management of PC energy consumption with flexibility, Verismic Power Manager plays an important role with any business that has plans of going green. In this computer age, Verismic is making it easier for businesses to benefit from carbon, energy and cost reductions.

For more information on Verismic, visit www.verismic.com.

Green Marketing

Adding A Splash Of Green To Your Marketing Campaign Can Help You Hit The Right Target Market

What makes marketing a green product or service different from any other type of marketing campaign? In some ways, nothing; in other ways, green marketing can be a different animal. In addition to selling a product or service, green marketing seeks to change the way the buyer thinks about the product or service, encouraging a change in behavior.

Everything from building products and services to automobiles to apparel are now going green. As a result, marketing managers are now faced with the challenge of not just getting target markets to want their product, but also helping them to see value in changing their behavior. But how do you create a marketing campaign that will compel the public to change its view?

Tips to influence change

Don’t just tell how your product is better for me — show me.

It’s not enough to tell your audience your product conserves water or reduces energy. You have to visually demonstrate how it benefits the user. The green company PeopleTowels does a great job of showing its environmental benefits with an image of eight industrial-sized garbage bags filled with paper towels representing the average amount of paper towels a person uses each year. The visual effectively denounces excessive paper towel use and promotes the company’s brand of eco-friendly, on-the-go cloth towels.

Make benefits tangible

We’re asking people to voluntarily change their behavior for the greater good. Make the benefits of doing so too obscure and you’ve lost them. Consider the popularity of the Toyota Prius. In 2010, this hybrid car landed a spot on Forbes’ list of “high in demand” cars. So what is the tangible benefit to driving this eco-friendly cruiser? The annual cost of gas is only $846, which is especially low compared to other cars on the list that ranged from $1,510 to $4,745 annually.

Keep it positive.

Don’t tell your audience what they are currently doing wrong by using other products; show them what they can do to make an impact. People are less likely to listen to your message if you are scolding them. Make the message motivate your target market to do the right thing.

Make it relevant.

Create an emotional connection with your audience that communicates the importance of using your product or service. That communication can take several forms. The company Grass Roots Environmental Products does this by offering products for children and moms alongside other green products to express their interest in child-safety. This allows them to connect with their customers on a deeper level.

The key to a successful green marketing campaign is to appeal to the target audience through messaging that encourages them to take action. Developing a buzz can be an effective tool for influencing others. Building a sense of community — we are all in this together — and showing how your product or service can help, not only provides a reason for change, but the desire to be a part of that change.

Otis Elevator 2011

Otis Elevator Company Shows The Way To Green

Otis Elevator Company, a unit of United Technologies Corporation, launched a major global environmental program Feb. 8th called The Way to Green. The program is designed to extend to every aspect of their business — from design and manufacturing to products and end-of-life recycling.

The Way to Green is designed to significantly boost the companies’ commitment to environmental protection and sustainability while reducing energy consumption and offering the finest performance.

By introducing this program, the company will encourage environmental awareness to 60,000 of its employees, customers, suppliers and business partners making them aware of environmentally sensitive practices.

Eiffel Tower Otis blog 2011, Flickr, Moonlightbulb

They are the world’s largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products — including elevators, escalators and moving walkways. More than 200 countries use Otis Elevator Company and over 1.7 million elevators and escalators are being maintained worldwide.

If you have never heard of them, think about the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building; the Eiffel Tower; the Shanghai World Financial Center and the Los Angeles International Airport. All of these places have elevators installed by this company.

Products:

The line of Gen2 elevator systems feature regenerative drives that reduce energy consumption by up to 75 percent compared to conventional systems.

The Gen2-coated steel belts and machines require no additional lubrication, and LED illumination is standard, lasting up to 10 times longer than conventional fluorescent lamps. An automatic switch-off mode saves up to 80 percent wasted energy.

Otis escalators and moving walkways reduce energy consumption by up to 60 percent, an efficient, automatic lubrication system reduces annual oil usage by up to 98 percent versus conventional systems, and LED lighting options are up to 30 percent more energy efficient.

Manufacturing:

Otis implements processes that recycle 97 percent of industrial waste produced by Otis facilities.

water otis blog 2011, Flickr, Snap

The manufacturing facility in Madrid uses solar panels to generate about 60 percent of the site’s energy needs.

The TEDA Manufacturing Center in China has achieved Gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Advanced technologies in use at this location reduce energy usage by at least 25 percent compared to conventional design and manufacturing methods.

Otis facilities have reduced water consumption by 12 percent by optimizing conservations through rainfall collection, recycling and the use of water-efficient fixtures.

More than 200,000 Gen2 elevator systems — covering a wide range of applications — have been sold to date, making it the fastest selling product in Otis company history. The Way to Green has taken “going green” to a whole new level.

Unisource teaches kids sustainability

Green News Roundup – UniSource Teaches Sustainability To Kids, Commercial Energy Solutions

The next generation of “green” collaborators is being influenced to conserve our resources for their future through fun and games. UniSource Energy Services (UES), which operates natural gas and electric systems for more than 230,000 customers in northern and southern Arizona, provides educational programs and services to kids.

Sustainability For Kids

Energy Efficient World is a game that allows kids to learn to conserve energy and save on electric bills — teaching them energy efficiency, how to help the environment and home energy inspection. It also provides links for parents.

Sunsite Funsite teaches children about solar energy, chemical energy, solar thermal and resources. The game is interactive, and children are able to see how their actions at home affect the universe.

Electrical and Natural Gas Safety World explains the hidden dangers at home and in the community. With two separate worlds the fun never ends. They are exposed to learning how to protect themselves by enjoying an eye-catching game.

HogBusters Training Camp, an interactive lecture, allows kids — through a series of five levels — to work together and learn new ways to save the environment for the future. After completing the stages, a certificate is available for printing.

Commercial Energy Solutions

Getting rid of old equipment can be costly for a business. UniSource has a rebate system designed to make the change to “green” easier. Energy-efficient upgrades on lighting, controls, refrigeration & HVAC, heating, ventilation and air conditioning are available. The rebates are intended to help offset a portion of the cost associated with installing new energy-efficient equipment.

An incentive program for commercial photovoltaic (PV) systems, used to turn sunlight into energy, is being offered to encourage the installation of solar power. Systems greater than 50 kilowatts AC (kWac) can qualify.

UniSource is focusing on the present and future by getting kids excited about the environment and helping companies turn “green.”

Going green 2011

10 Ways To Go Green For Free In Your Home

“Going Green” is more than a term for saving our planet; it’s a lifestyle. Changing the way you perform everyday household activities can help you save money, energy and time.

You don’t have to leave home or spend money to turn your house green. The following simple activities take little to no effort to increase your home’s green power. You’ll feel better about yourself knowing you’re doing something to help the environment without spending any green.

open curtains 2011, Flickr d'n'c

1. Open Curtains

Leave your curtains open for as long as possible. Allow the daylight to brighten your home. According to Salt River Project’s Website (SRP), on average, lighting accounts for about eight to 10 percent of the energy bill. Turn off lights when you are not using them. The myth turning your lights on and off costs more is wrong. You save more energy turning them off than leaving them on.

drink tap water 2011, Flickr TheGiantVerm

2. Drink Tap Water

It’s no secret that water bottles load our landfills and take an average of 700 years before they decompose. Drinking tap water will not only cut down the price to dispose of plastic bottles, it will cut down the price to make them. According Refillnotlandfill.org, if everyone in New York were to use a reusable water bottle for one week, 24 million bottles would be saved. Switching to tap water will reduce waste and conserve resources.

clothes dryer 2011, Flickr Tracy O

3. Clean The Lint Screen In The Dryer

Taking the lint filter out of the dryer and cleaning the fuzzy fur only takes a few seconds, but can save you a pretty penny. The dryer filter collects fluff while drying clothes and most people forget to clean it. When the filter is dirty it takes longer to dry clothes causing the dryer to work harder and longer using more energy in the process. By cleaning the lint filter after you dry each load you reduce the risk of a higher electric bill, waste of resources and damaging your dryer.

compuer 2011, Flickr Si1 very

4. Turn Your Computer Off At The End Of The Day

Although there is an energy saver (sleep or standby) option on your computer that allows the screen to go black and conserve energy, the computer is still receiving electricity and, therefore, costing you money. A typical desktop computer can use between 65 to 250 watts, a laptop can use 15 to 60 watts and a monitor can use 15 to 70 watts. For example, leaving your 100-watt light bulb on all day for a month costs about $5, and that’s just one bulb. On average, $15.60 is the cost for leaving your computer on all month. Turn your computer off at the end of the day so it can rest, and you can save money.

plastic bags 2011, Flickr Swanksalot

5. Recycle Plastic Bags

After you come from the grocery store, don’t throw away those plastic bags, keep them in a drawer. When you need a small bag to go in your office, bathroom or bedroom trash bins, utilize those. Reusing plastic bags reduces the waste of plastic going in the recycling bins and later to the landfill. If you have no need for trash bags, get a plastic bag recycling bin and dispose of them properly. According to Plasticbagrecycling.org, in 2006 more than 812 million pounds of plastic film and bags were recycled, which is enough to manufacture nearly 1,500,000 composite lumber decks.

shower 2011, Flickr Spring Dew

6. Take Shorter Showers

Taking shorter showers save on wasted water and money. The typical shower time should be five minutes or less. Water is used at about 2.5 gallons per minute costing $2 per 1000 gallons, equaling .005 cents per minute.  That number may seem small but what’s important and worth knowing is how much water you will save. In one year, doing this simple task could save 4,500 gallons of water.

laundry 2011, Flickr mysza831

7. Line Dry Laundry

No, it isn’t the 70’s and almost everyone has an electric clothes dryer, but many people put clothes in the dryer that could be hung on a line. Jeans are a perfect example of something to line dry. They are weighty and take more energy to dry. Hanging heavy-duty clothes out to dry saves money, keeps clothes looking newer longer and cuts down drying time. Arizona is a dry state — take advantage of the heat.

paying bills 2011, Flickr bandita

8. Get Bills Online

The Internet has taken over in communication. Take advantage of that by receiving your bills online. You’ll save the company printing the bills money, and they will stop charging you a delivery fee — saving you money in return. When logging on to your accounts to pay your bills, choose the option that says “go paperless,” and they will start sending your bills to your email address. You will no longer receive a paper bill, and by doing this you will reduce paper waste.

junk mail 2011, Flickr Charles Williams' photostream

9. Stop Junk Mail

I can’t think of one person who doesn’t get annoyed by the junk mail filling their mailbox. Not only is it irritating, it packs our garbage bins faster than you may think. Credit card offers, catalogs, newsletters and fliers from places at which you don’t shop go from the mailbox to the trash bin. Stop receiving junk mail by visiting DMAConsumers.org (The Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service). It may take a few minutes, but you will stop getting wasteful mail.

tell friends 2011, Flickr Comedy nose

10. Tell Friends About Going Green

There is no chore in talking to our friends. Next time you’re on the phone with a friend tell them of money saving green tips to use for themselves. Word of mouth is the biggest advertising agent. Getting another person to improve their living habits to support the environment will benefit everyone around them, including you. Don’t forget to remind them to pass the news along.

BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Speaker: Kevin Woodhurst ~ BIG Green Expo & Conference 2011

Kevin Woodhurst, Dolphin Pools and Spas

Kevin Woodhurst, Dolphin Pools & Spas

Kevin Woodhurst has been building and promoting energy efficient pools since 1996.

The companies that he has owned or worked with utilize the latest technologies and standards in order to deliver consumer and environmentally projects that save or conserve natural resources. Kevin has been a student to the pool industry for many years and as such has held or holds more certifications than nearly anyone in the country.

In Kevin’s words he says, “It is still not enough, you must go out every day and try to be better and learn something new”. Kevin is a well known industry expert and participates nationally and internationally in many industry forums.

He has won multiple local, state and national awards but still enjoys the smile on the face of a satisfied client more than anything.


Topic: Energy-Efficient Pools

Conference Speaker
Friday, April 15, 2011
1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Room 155

BIG Green Conference 2011

 


BIG Green Expo
Friday & Saturday
April 15th & 16th 2011
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 



Sponsors:

TeslaRoadster Electric Car

Electric Cars For The Eco-Friendly Commuter

“Going green” can be difficult in a city like Phoenix. You can keep track of your recyclables, buy organic and even compost, but what about that long commute every Monday through Friday? There are a few options open for those determined to reduce their carbon footprint: bus, light rail, carpool, bicycle or some combination thereof. However, each of these options comes with problems as well.

For the public transportation group the logistics and timing of catching a bus or light rail can mean adding extra time or distance onto your commute. The same could be said for carpooling, depending on the location and morning routines of any “carpool buddies.” As for bicycling, this mode of transportation is restricted by the distance you need to travel: too far and it’s just not possible for a morning commute. Fortunately, there is another option out there for the ardent environmentalist.

Electric vehicles. No, not hybrids, but completely electric cars run by batteries. Not only are these cars a way to stay green in a city with one of the worst commutes in the country, but when you buy an electric vehicle you are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit.

Recently, Wired Magazine tested and rated four electric cars currently available to consumers. Following are the stats for those cars.

Chevrolet Volt
Price: starts at $40,280 ($32,780 after tax credit)
Range: 25 – 50 miles
Horsepower: 150
0 – 60 mph: ~ 9 seconds

Nissan Leaf
Price: starts at $33,720 ($26,220 after tax credit)
Range: up to 100 miles
Horsepower: 107
0 – 60 mph: ~ 10 seconds

Tesla Roadster 2.5

Price: starts at $109,000 ($101,500 after tax credit)
Range: up to 245 miles
Horsepower: 288
0 – 60 mph: ~ 3.7 seconds

Coda Automotive Coda
Price: starts at $44,900 ($37,400 after tax credit)
Range: 90 – 120 miles
Horsepower: 134 0 – 60 mph: ~ 10 – 11 seconds
Extra: View the history of the electric car and stats on carbon emissions and oil consumption.

Four women hanging upside down in yoga harnesses

Yoga Studio Is “Blissful” About Expanding And Being Eco-Friendly

Expanding in a recession and going green – impossible?

Not for Blissful Yoga in Glendale.

The yoga studio is establishing three new studios in the next year while utilizing renewable materials and sustainable designs throughout the company.

“In this economy, who knew, right?” says Carrie Clark, the operations manager and a yoga instructor at Blissful Yoga.

Blissful Yoga’s owner, Rosa Rendon, says she had lots of people trying to dissuade her from expanding in the middle of a recession, but she stood her ground.

“I’m really passionate about yoga and bringing it to everyone,” Rendon says.  “I truly thought, even in this economy, I truly thought if we had something really good to offer people would embrace it.  I just went with my heart really.”

The grand opening for Blissful Yoga’s new studio at The Shops at Norterra is Sept. 1, but Rendon isn’t waiting until then to start yoga classes.  The studio is officially open and ready to work out the body and relax the spirit the first week of August, says Rendon, who owns Blissful Yoga with her husband Moises (both pictured below).

With a new studio opening next week, Clark says Blissful Yoga owes its success to the sense of community and philanthropy and a commitment to enjoying life that the yoga studio champions.

“I’m truly excited (about) the welcoming we’ve had from our communities,”  Rendon says.  “We make a point of knowing everybody’s name and welcoming everyone at the door… Even though we’re growing, still our focus is knowing everybody’s name.”

Not only does Blissful Yoga give back to the community with a monthly donation-based class for various charities, but it also tries to give back to the environment by using green products and carrying out green practices.

“(Being eco-friendly) was my first priority when I started talking about building a yoga studio,” says Rendon, whose commitment to being green stems from her desire to provide a better world for the next generation.

The original Blissful Yoga studio, located at 19420 N. 59th Ave., is floor-to-ceiling green.  The floors are made of renewable bamboo and the paint on the walls is low-emission paint, Clark says.

“Every decision (the owners) made, they took that into consideration all the way down to the towels that are in the bathroom are recycled, (and) the paper they print their schedules on is all recycled paper,” Clark says.

The three new locations, The Shops at Norterra, Scottsdale Quarter and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, will also be “green,” Clark says.

The St. Joseph’s location came about when the hospital contracted them to teach yoga in a new studio built for Blissful Yoga in the hospital as an added benefit to employees, she says.

Blissful Yoga offers around 20 types of yoga for beginners to experts including prenatal yoga, Vinyasa, Yen and classes on a Yoga Wall.  Most of the yoga instructors are YogaWorks trained and Yoga Alliance certified.

Rendon is excited and proud that Phoenicians are embracing what Blissful Yoga has to offe

r.

Photos courtesy of Blissful Yoga. | www.blissfulyoga.net

Untapped Niche 2010

The Untapped Niche Of Green Aftermarket Auto Care

By Rissy Sutherland


Going green is a major step to take, but it’s the right step for businesses, their customers and the planet.

In late 2007, Honest-1 Auto Care hired a market research/strategic marketing agency to help discover an untapped niche in the aftermarket auto care and maintenance industry. Results of the research project revealed that consumers wanted an environmentally responsible company to provide their car repair and maintenance needs.

There was a void in the auto-care market for such a company, and Honest-1 made the strategic decision to fill it by going green and providing what consumers wanted.

By August 2008, every Honest-1 Auto Care shop was Environmentally Sustainable Actions Certified (ESA). The ESA Certification is implemented by the company through its own standards for pollution prevention, recycling and resource conservation. To demonstrate the brand’s commitment to going green, Honest-1 Auto Care launched an exclusive line of auto care products that combine leading edge technology with innovative additives.

Initially, there was some concern among franchisees about moving to an eco-friendly positioning because they felt comfortable with the existing position of Honest-1 as an honest and female-friendly business. Another concern was the cost to operate as an eco-friendly business. As it turned out, the incremental expense was nothing substantial because it was mostly substitutions and  changes in business practices. The new positioning helped to engage customers more closely to the brand and increase their loyalty. Same-store sales are up 10 percent this year over last year.

 

honest autocare 2 2010Girls planting trees.
Photo Courtesy of: American Forests

The biggest impact on franchisees was the ESA program, which spelled out what would be expected of them as they operated under the new business model. The franchisees had time to review and assess the program, and Honest-1 Auto Care executives visited each store to ensure they were ESA certified. Every franchisee is required to update their certification when significant updates to the program or system are needed.

Communication was the key during the transition process. Communication among franchisees, between franchisees and the franchisor were equally important. Honest-1 also convened a board of advisers, which sorted out all of the benefits and potential pitfalls. The board gave the franchisees a voice in the matter. Franchisees communicated their ideas and concerns, and Honest-1 executives responded to them.

So far the response from the franchise community has been very positive, and customers have also provided strong, positive feedback. Both groups are attracted to the cause Honest-1 is supporting, as many share the same values in their personal lives that Honest-1 believes in as a business.

Because any company that “goes green” has to demonstrate to consumers that its efforts are sincere, Honest-1 formed a partnership with American Forests, a leading nonprofit organization that plants trees for environmental restoration. As a franchise system, Honest-1 has jointly committed to planting 40,000 new trees to reinforce the company’s promise to be the most eco-friendly auto repair and maintenance chain in the nation. Honest-1 Auto Care is currently the only auto repair franchise chain to enter into a year-long agreement of this magnitude with American Forests.

It’s important to remember that companies that don’t practice what they preach will be called out by consumers, especially those who identify themselves as eco-friendly.

Rissy Sutherland is senior vice president/operations for Honest-1 Auto Care, based in Scottsdale. More information is available at www.honest-1.com

 

Empty water bootles, tin cans and a recycle bin

Going Green For Dummies: One Company’s Evolving Journey Into Eco-Consciousness

A couple of months back I got on a call with members of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter to discuss ways the company I work for, Jawa, could do its part to go green.  We are fortunate here at Jawa, getting meals catered daily and unlimited snacks (yes, I’ve gained weight since working here); but with that fully-stocked kitchen comes trash cans full of otherwise recyclable waste including plastic bottles, aluminum cans, candy wrappers and cardboard.  All this, in the trash.  Cringe worthy, I know.  Clearly an eco-intervention was in order, hence my call to the Sierra Club.

For those not familiar with Arizona’s Sierra Club, it is a grassroots environmental organization that strives to protect the environment, promote renewable energy and educate people about sustainability.  During our phone call it struck me how the simplest change in action by a company’s staff can have a tangible effect on the environment and, with a little effort on everyone’s part, how recyclable an office really is.

This brings me to Jawa’s first order of business: implementing a recycling program and encouraging employee participation.  The latter had me nervous.  Would employees feel forced?  Would they take the time to separate paper from plastic?  Would they make the effort to break down bulky items?  I had a few days to prepare my “the company is going to be recycling and it requires active participation from the staff” speech while we waited on paper and plastic bins, courtesy of Arizona Center for the Blind’s Recycling Program.

The bins arrived within a few days as did the rundown of what in our office could be recycled (which, according to the Center for the Blind’s recycling rep, was about 97% of our office).   From cardboard boxes to plastic cutlery; plastic food containers to Styrofoam cups; scrap paper to paper plates, just about everything could be recycled!

Once the bins were in place it was time to let the staff know.  I’ll spare you the details of my speech, but I think I received something close to a standing ovation (this could be due to the fact that most people were standing already, but who’s counting).

Within hours of the recycling announcement, most bins were full and I was bombarded with suggestions from employees on how else we could make a difference, like creating custom JAWA reusable water bottles to eliminate the need for bottled water, putting signs next to electronics reminding people to turn them off when not in use and starting a carpooling program.

In the weeks since the recycling started we’ve made headway with more green initiatives including providing employees with ceramic coffee mugs to replace the Styrofoam cups (it’s working too—I haven’t seen a Styrofoam cup in hand in days).  We’ve also started using biodegradable plates and silverware made out of natural fibers that breakdown easily in water or a landfill.  A few days ago the site of someone scraping food off their plate in order to recycle it properly brought tears to my eyes.  But I digress.

It’s amazing how the opportunities for a company to reduce its carbon footprint are endless and with resources like the Sierra Club, there will always be direction on how to do so.  For Jawa, it will be an ongoing process as we continue to implement eco-friendly changes around the office; making it easy as possible on employees.  Do I want to get rid of our plastic water bottles in favor of reusable ones?  Yes.  I am afraid of employee backlash when I tell people they have to part with their bottled Arrowhead?  Yes.  I’m confident we’ll get there though, one step at a time.

***

Each month Jawa chooses a local charity to donate to as part of our employee-driven philanthropy program “Jawa Gives”.  This July the Sierra Club, nominated by an employee who’s been active with the organization for 15 years and shares its passion for environmental sustainability, was chosen to receive a $5,000 donation.  The donation is Jawa’s way of saying thanks for the Sierra Club’s impressive efforts to keep Arizona’s environment healthy and also represents a commitment from Jawa to continue with green initiatives.

Last Wednesday the entire Jawa staff gathered as members from Arizona’s Sierra Club were presented with our check and then took a few moments to speak about upcoming hikes, service outings and workshops offered.   Shortly after their departure, my inbox was filled with suggestions on how else Jawa could help with the Sierra Club’s mission.  My favorite?  Starting a hiking club that picks up trash along the way, and then sorts through it to see what’s recyclable.

Walking to Work

Greenway Health Goes Green In July

Most people would think you were crazy if you walked to work in Arizona’s July heat.  But at Greenway Health, that shows a commitment to the company’s green efforts.

Some employees at Greenway Health are so committed to the July “Greenway Goes Green” month that they’re braving the scorching summer temperatures to bike and walk to work.

About five employees are using transportation other than a car, including bicycles and the bus, while other employees are carpooling to work.

These aren’t the only green choices Greenway Health employees are making. They are also bringing reusable water bottles to work, using desk lamps instead of overhead lighting, recycling and using “treeless” paper.  The company is offering incentives to employees who make eco-friendly lifestyle changes.

The company decided to go green to show “employees the benefits and ease of going green,” says Mike McKenzy, of Greenway Health, a direct marketing health and nutrition company.

McKenzy says the young staff, most of the employees are in their mid-20s to early 30s, wasn’t well versed in green solutions.  Company officials wanted to show the employees easy, cost-effective ways to help conserve and preserve.

But, they are “amazed by what little things, if adopted by large numbers of people, can do,” McKenzy says.

The feedback has been great and McKenzy hopes the employees won’t ditch their new habits once July is over.  He says the chances of the green efforts continuing year round are pretty good.  When the company initiates programs like this one, “it sticks,” he says.

Greenway Health’s employees set an example for everyone. Just a little change can make a difference.

Recycling CLothes and more

Green News Roundup – LED Lights, Cothing Recycling Progams And More

Welcome to our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about LED lights, clothing recycling programs, a solar-powered plane and more.

Please feel free to send along any interesting stories you’d like to see featured in the roundup by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com. Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state. Read the latest article here.

LED Lights to Brighten Mesa Streets
The city of Mesa is going green by replacing traditional light bulbs with LED lights. The city also hopes to save thousands of dollars with this eco-friendly replacement. Click the link to see a video on Mesa’s efforts.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – All Three Are Important
Many companies and consumers are focused on how much they recycle or how much recycled materials are in their products. However, this article points out that all three actions – reduce, reuse and recycle – must be done for a healthier environment. This article details how the paper products industry can be cleaner from factory to customer.

Recycle Your Clothes and Create Jobs
When you move or decide to change your style, it’s easier to throw clothes away than to find a place to donate them. However, used clothing is wasting away in landfills when it could be recycled and creating jobs. New York City is launching an initiative to combat the wasting of textiles, like old clothing, by placing donation centers in high-traffic areas. The city and its partners hope to make recycling clothing as easy as throwing it away.

Solar-Powered Plane Makes 24-Hour Flight
Solar-powered batteries, yes. Solar-powered cell phone chargers, sure. Solar-powered plane, what? A single seat plane that uses the sun’s rays to power itself during the day and also saves up energy to use during the night landed in Switzerland on Thursday, July 8, after a 24-hour flight. The company who produced the plane is hoping to fly around the world in this solar-powered aircraft in the future.

Turn Down the Air Conditioning!
Italian Energy company, Eni, started a program in 2008 to turn the air conditioning in its offices one degree Celsius, almost two degrees Fahrenheit higher than before the program. The company doesn’t allow employees to swelter in the heat, most employees don’t even feel the one degree increase. Employees are also allowed to wear lighter, summery clothing to work. This small, almost unnoticeable change decreased Eni’s summer energy consumption 9.5 percent. Maybe Arizonans should take a lesson from Italians?

Amy Stephens Volunteer Of The Year - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

BIG Green Awards: Volunteer Of The Year

Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.

Recipient: Amy Stephens, Co-Founder · Stephens ID & Associates

Amy Stephens volunteers her time, creativity and energy to the advancement of the sustainability movement across the state. She also has played an integral role in the growth of the Arizona Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Stephens joined the Arizona chapter in 2006, when she also became a member of the national USGBC. She has dedicated countless hours and effort to the local chapter. She has been a member of the education committee since 2006, and has been the co-chair of that committee since 2008. In 2009, she sat on the host committee and the greening committee for the national USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo when it was held in Phoenix.

Stephens shows the same passion she has for the USGBC in her own design company, Stephens ID & Associates. Stephens graduated from William Woods University in Fulton, Mo., in 1997 with a BFA in interior design, and has been designing balanced environments for people to live in ever since.

Her company focuses on interior design, interior repurposing, feng shui and green design. She assists her clients in going green by repurposing existing furniture with a goal toward creating healthier living spaces.
Stephens also teaches green building education classes, and is the vice president and a founding board member of the Green Meeting Industry Council Arizona chapter.

Among her future goals is to work with local elementary schools to teach students how to plant and grow food, so they will understand the importance of the Earth and where their food comes from. These plans are just several of many as Stephens forges ahead with her various sustainability endeavors.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

www.stephensid.com

First annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards - AZ Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

BIG Green Awards: Alternative Mobility

Twelve categories, hundreds of nominations — but only one will take home the green. It’s the first annual Southwest Build-it-Green Awards, where BIG teamed up with the USGBC to bring you the leanest sustainable leaders and projects in Arizona.

Recipient: ECOtality

For more than 20 years, ECOtality has been designing revolutionary, fast-charge products that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, making alternative transportation easier and more accessible to the public.

Since 1989, ECOtality has had the opportunity to become involved in important North American electric vehicle (EV) initiatives, thanks to its subsidiary eTec (Electric Engineering Transportation Engineering Corporation). ECOtality also has been leading the way in the EV industry.

ECOtality was named lead grantee in August 2009 by the U.S. Department of Energy, and was awarded a $99.8 million grant for the EV Project, which will create and produce several thousand electric cars.

ECOtality’s EV Project will reach 11 major cities in Arizona, Oregon, Washington, California and Tennessee. There will be approximately 4,700 of Nissan’s electric cars, LEAFS, in the five states. There also will be 11,000 charge stations across the country to allow drivers to recharge their zero-emission battery electric cars.

Each LEAF is expected to save approximately 436 gallons of gasoline per year. Combined, that’s a savings of more than 2 million gallons of gasoline for all LEAFS. The EV Project is projected to generate more than 750 new jobs by 2012; and by 2017, ECOtality expects to have more than 5,500 new positions across the country.

ECOtality also has created the Minit-Charger, a battery-charge system that works as quickly and efficiently as possible by using proprietary algorithms to charge a battery. This system eliminates the potential for batteries to overcharge or overheat, and prolongs battery life.
www.ecotality.com


Clean Air Cab
www.CleanAirCab.com

Clean Air Cab is Arizona’s first completely green taxicab service that gives people the opportunity to go green just by riding with them.  The company offers green cabs at an affordable rate.

Clean Air Cab is composed of 26 Toyota Priuses, which are currently the most fuel-efficient cars available. The Toyota Prius saves 33 miles per gallon of gas, which saves about 1,000 miles per gallon among all of the company’s cars combined.

Aside from driving green cars, the company supports global reforestation by planting 10 rainforest trees each month for each cab that is in service. In the first quarter of operations, Clean Air Cab planted 780 trees.

“We believe that going green isn’t something you do- it is something you are,” said Steve Lopez, founder of Clean Air Cab. “Our intention is to take the trendy out of ‘going green’ and deliver a product that allows consumers to be green just by participating.”


Valley Metro RPTA
www.valleymetro.org

The Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority is already helping thousands commute in a sustainable way. With the introduction of a new program called “ShareTheRide” Valley Metro RPTA is furthering their efforts by helping commuters choose the best transit options based on their time and route. The program’s goal is to educate the public about alternative methods of transportation, while reducing cost and pollution.

ShareTheRide is a free service accessible through Valley Metro’s website. When commuters enter alternative transportation information into the Commute Tracker they can earn points for incentives around the Valley. To support businesses, the program also includes customizable sub sites, where employers could promote the program and offer special incentives to their employees when they login to sub sites with a company e-mail address.

From data collected between April 22, 2009 and January 13, 2010, ShareTheRide resulted in 3,485,069 pounds of greenhouse gas savings and 34,706 pounds of carbon monoxide savings from a grand total of 178,842 round-trip commutes. The RPTA successfully created a service that Valley commuters needed to make traveling to work easier on the commuter and the environment.

Arizona Business Magazine Jul/Aug 2010

Green Building - AZRE Magazine July/August 2010

Green Building Is A Smart Business Solution

Green building is inevitably a smart business solution.

When it comes to the bottom line, companies that want to be in the black — go green. As building owners, developers, brokers and designers, the industry is trying to re-define how they do business to stay in business, and it is vital that these efforts align with the paradigm toward green building.

Existing assets — empty buildings, existing properties with leases expiring, etc. — may be the most marketable commodity right now. Building owners should look at new ways to use this economic downturn as an opportunity, and not a road block. By incorporating four simple measures, owners and developers can reposition their real estate assets to be more marketable — a concept better known as real estate asset positioning (REAP).

GOING GREEN – GREEN BUILDING

Invest in sustainable strategies. A building that can call itself “green” is much more marketable than one that lacks environmentally conscious attributes. Leading organizations are demanding green designs, while employees increasingly view sustainability as a corporate responsibility. In fact, a Harris Poll found that 33 percent of Americans would be more inclined to work for a green company, than one that did not make a conscious effort to promote sustainable practices.

Daylighting, shading, varied glass types and occupancy sensors are just a few strategies that have demonstrated a quantifiable Return On Investment (ROI), and are proven to benefit occupant health and well-being. Furthermore, increased building value and elevated rents often have been cited as benefits of green buildings, according to Turner’s 2008 Green Building Market Barometer. Going “green” is a great way for building owners to leverage their assets for strategic market repositioning.

ENERGY REDUCTION

Incorporate measures to reduce consumption by investing in sustainable strategies that are efficient in their use of water, energy and other resources. Examples include using low-flow plumbing fixtures, high-efficiency lighting and air quality monitoring.
Out of 754 commercial real estate executives surveyed, Turner’s report found:

  • 84 percent of respondents cited lower energy costs in green buildings
  • 68 percent noted overall operating cost savings
  • 72 percent say green creates higher building values

Sundt Construction, currently in the process of realizing a lab building for an Arizona university, conducted energy consumption metrics showing the cost to provide occupancy sensors for a 294,000-square-foot building would be $15,598. The owner’s savings for the first year were estimated at $29,905 — a noticeably fast payback on an initial investment.

Building owners and some tenants also may receive tax deductions of up to $1.80 per square foot if they install energy-efficient interior lighting; upgrade the building envelope; and install heating, cooling, ventilation and/or hot water systems to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent, in comparison to meeting minimum ASHRAE 90.1 requirements.

MARKET DRIVEN

Focus on looks and extras. When it comes to attracting the best tenants in today’s real estate market, there has never been a more prudent time to assess an existing building’s worth.

Upgrading and retrofitting 40-, 20- and even 10–year-old buildings during this economic downturn can result in significant cost savings, as the current market experiences up to a 30 percent drop in construction costs.

New lobbies and entries, updated restrooms and elevators will attract potential tenants and retain existing ones, who may be considering relocation. Providing additional amenities to elevate an existing building to Class A office space provides the competitive edge necessary to exist in the new, highly competitive marketplace.

In addition, envelope and exterior skin upgrades from Low-E insulated glazing units to new, longer lasting and maintenance-free, environmentally friendly materials will enhance the building’s appearance, as well as its internal support systems.

By incorporating aesthetic upgrades and modernizations to reposition assets, a building’s life can be extended well beyond its initial years.

ADAPTIVE REUSE

Innovate. It’s easy to envision an existing historic structure retrofitted into a modern, trendy boutique hotel. However, it takes a creative mind to realize that a brand new, empty, speculative high-rise office building has that same potential.

The real estate is there — it’s a matter of incorporating flexibility into the process of assessing the market’s changing demand. Introducing a new function or use into an existing asset, based on what the market is saying, is a cost-effective way to extend the longevity of a building and exceed the ROI on existing real estate.

What better way to “go green” than to recycle and re-use an existing building?
As asset repositioning — or REAP — continues to catch on, the value of revitalizing existing buildings is becoming paramount to how the economy will affect the design and construction industry in Arizona for the next 10 to 20 years. Understanding the market demand and how it affects an existing asset is the first step. Secondly, developing an analysis of the property may be the most viable way to determine its future potential — whether it makes sense to update, retrofit or green-up, the possibilities are infinite.

This is not a new practice, just a smart one that will provide ongoing opportunity for those willing to take the plunge and invest in what already exists. Let’s REAP the benefits together!

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Martha Abbott is an architectural senior project manager for the Workplace Studio of SmithGroup’s Phoenix office, with 20 years of experience.

www.smithgroup.com

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AZRE Magazine July/August 2010

Building And Maintaining A Green Office - AZ Business Magazine June 2010

The True Benefits Of Building And Maintaining A Green Office

When it comes to the design and operation of your office space, going green can actually green your bottom line. Consider the current findings: According to a 2008 study by the General Services Administration, commercial green buildings on average consume 26 percent less energy, can reduce overall operating cost by more than 10 percent and have a 27 percent higher occupant-satisfaction rate.

However, even with the recent evidence supporting the value of green design, it is estimated that only one out of nine new construction projects are designed with green building attributes. Perhaps the misconception that green design costs substantially more, along with limited knowledge and resistance to change, are to blame for the missed opportunity to save money, increase workspace efficiency and occupant well-being, and conserve our limited natural resources.

Healthy performance
One of the greatest benefits of green design, although sometimes difficult to measure, relates to the overall health, happiness and satisfaction that building occupants report in green office spaces. As indicated in the Journal of Sustainable Real Estate 2009, occupants working in a green office space are found to be 30 percent more productive than in a conventional working environment. These benefits come in the form of lower absenteeism, fewer headaches at work, greater retail sales and easier reconfiguration of space, resulting in less downtime and lower costs. In addition, the contribution of a green office space has been estimated by sources such as the Annual Review of Energy and the Environment to save companies $17 billion to $48 billion in total health gains, and $20 billion to $160 billion in worker performance.

Connecting ROI to the bottom line
Now is the time to make the business case to go green. If the performance issues related to employee productivity aren’t enough to convince you, consider that building sale prices for energy-efficient structures, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), are as much as 10 percent higher per square foot than typical, high-energy consumption buildings. In addition, average occupancy rates of green projects are 3.5 percent higher.

Regarding the investment to build green, a study titled, “The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings: A Report to California’s Sustainable Building Task Force,” determined that an upfront investment of just 2 percent in green building design, on average, results in life cycle savings of 20 percent of the total construction costs — more than 10 times the initial investment. As more building owners and occupants strive for this transparent green business case, the backing of these recent financial findings and case studies has made it more viable to gain confidence that your minimal upfront investment will be more than worthwhile. Obviously, no one-size-fits-all solution exists in the design and construction of green buildings, but a knowledgeable, integrated sustainable design team can make well-informed, project-specific ROI estimates. Building and designing green is certainly a smart option for those who plan to own a building for several years, as value-impact results derive from not only rent, but also lower operating expenses and lower capital rates.

The benefit of third-party certification
Understanding these benefits of green design to your business is a foundation for change. If you are planning an upcoming major renovation to your space or relocation, start by pursuing a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for your project. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system providing third-party verification that a project is designed and built utilizing strategies for improving performance across these metrics: energy efficiency, water conservation, carbon emissions reduction, improved indoor air quality and limited use of our precious natural resources.

Developed by the USGBC, LEED provides building owners and operators a comprehensive approach to identifying and implementing green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Clearly the cost of going green varies by market and location, but as a generalization, initial costs associated with a basic LEED certification for your project hover just 0.6 percent above the total construction cost. Contracting the services of an educated and experienced team (designer, engineer and contractor) will best guide you successfully on this path.

A greener way to work
If you currently occupy an office space and have no intention of planning a major renovation or moving to a new building, opt for a variety of options to retrofit your space into a healthy, holistic, low-impact environment:

Recruit:
Include your staff, improve morale and ask for volunteers to create a Green Team to generate creative ideas, such as reducing consumption and waste in the office.

Stay home:
Flexible work schedules, including telecommuting, can save you time, reduce company overhead expenses and increase staff satisfaction. This can be easily achieved due to current technological advances such as instant messaging, video conferencing and other innovative workflow tools.

Shed light:
Change out standard incandescent bulbs to more energy-efficient CFLs (compact fluorescents), and install electronic motion light sensors in an effort to conserve energy.

Cut paper:
Consider purchasing or leasing more energy-efficient printers and copiers. Opt for models with double-sided printing capabilities. Select eco-friendly office products, such as those made from recycled paper.

Digitize:
The greenest paper is no paper at all. Explore options for a paperless environment by promoting electronic filing procedures and defaulting computers to low-energy settings.
Reconfigure:
Consider adjusting your current office layout for optimizing views to nature and gaining access to natural light. Not only could this improve staff morale, productivity and overall satisfaction, it also may reduce your energy bill with more emphasis on utilizing daylight.

Clean green:
Considering the importance of healthy indoor air quality means choosing green cleaning products and supplies. Conventional cleaners often contain chlorine, phenol, ammonia or formaldehyde, which are toxic. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, inside air is typically two to five times more polluted than the air outside, and in extreme cases 100 times more contaminated, largely due to common products and cleaners. Inquire with your building management or cleaning company about options for less toxic, more environmentally friendly options.

No excuses:
The results of a green office can be astounding. Greening your office demonstrates environmental responsibility with the added benefit of a positive financial impact, and most of all, it can be a place where your building occupants and employees work happy and healthy.

Arizona Business Magazine June 2010

White House Goes Green

Green News Roundup – White House Goes Green, Eco Month & More

Welcome to the second installment of our weekly green news roundup. This week we’ve gathered stories about Eco Month, the Sustainability Consortium, solar windows and more. Feel free to send along any stories you’d like to share by e-mailing me at kasia@azbigmedia.com

Also visit AZ Green Scene for informative articles focusing on sustainability endeavors in the Valley and state.

2010 Southwest Build-it-Green Expo & Conference
The second annual Southwest Build-it-Green Expo & Conference is just around the corner, taking place March 18th-20th at the South Building in the Phoenix Convention Center. The expo will feature more than 200 exhibitors featuring the latest in green design, architecture, green products and more. Also, learn more about sustainability from the 2010 conference speakers by registering for sessions here.

2010 AIA Arizona Eco Month
March is Eco Month for AIA Arizona, and they are heading up lots of related events, including a Green Shopping Tour at Phoenix Public Market March 20. Read the AIA’s 20 steps to shopping green in a pdf here and e-mail Diana Smith at diana@aia-arizona.org to RSVP for Eco Month events.

Grocery Retailer Adds Force to ASU’s Green Efforts
Safeway is the first U.S.-based retail grocery chain to join the Sustainability Consortium, administered by ASU and the University of Arkansas. Safeway plans to use the data from the consortium’s Life Cycle Assessment, which analyzes emissions, waste and the natural resources used in food and non-food items, to create its supply chain sustainability policy.

New Solar Windows Appear Blinged Out
A research consortium wants us to stop wasting energy with plain glass windows on office buildings – they’re designing a prototype for solar windows! It only makes sense to utilize the large surface area of the sides of buildings instead of only the roofs. An additional perk? The solar windows would prevent the glare during morning and evening hours, providing natural light all day long without having to draw the blinds!

White House Replaces Bush-Era Cups
This week, even the White House is going green with brand new, eco-friendly hot beverage cups. Twelve percent of the cup and 99 percent of the interior liner are made from post-consumer recycled content. If only they’d tell us where they got them!

Canada vs. USA Final Made Power Consumption Jump by Around 600 Megawatts in Ontario
Are major sporting events bad for the environment? Apparently so. Ontario experienced a major power consumption jump during the Olympic hockey gold medal showdown as everyone turned on their televisions to watch.


Valentine's Day Film Goes Green

‘Valentine’s Day’ Film Is Going Green

The new romantic comedy “Valentine’s Day,” in theatres now, has been getting a lot of hype for its star-studded cast, which includes such famous actors as Julia Roberts, Patrick Dempsey, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Biel. While the names on the movie posters are sure to draw in a wide audience, the film really hasn’t been getting played up enough for the truly amazing thing it’s doing: “Valentine’s Day” is going green.

While the fight to save the environment continues its uphill battle, Warner Bros. decided to show their support for the earth-saving movement. The prodution of the film is among the first in the film industry to implement green practices to lessen its environmental impact. To me, it seems like an enormous task. Being a college student and living in a dorm, I see first hand every day how tough it can be to remember to recycle, or even to put your trash in the garbage instead of throwing it down on the sidewalk. It’s hard enough to make the individual commitment to help the environment, but going green on a movie set would involve not just the actors’ cooperation but that of equipment suppliers, vendors and film crews — surely difficult to coordinate.

But it seems that Warner Brothers’ green endeavors with the film “Valentine’s Day” have been successful. Green initiatives were seen throughout all aspects of the production. Producers used reusable water bottles and solar-powered generators. Biodiesel fuel was used to power rental trucks and set lighting generators. Caterers used biodegradable plates, cups and utensils, and most of the waste was either composted or recycled. Perhaps most significantly, each actor was provided with a hybrid rental car to use in place of gas-guzzling limos. Way cooler, if you ask me, and the best part for the company is that only the solar panels added to the budget.

The best part about it — this wasn’t even a stand-alone project. Lots of studios are doing their part to reduce energy costs, and Warner Bros. has even hired environmental managers to help figure out the most sustainable production techniques. I have no doubt that before long, seeing “green” films will be the norm, and I can’t wait. There’s a lot of buzz and “speculation” as to why the sudden focus on the environment in Hollywood: Is it just for the good PR? To save money? Do the rich and famous actually care about the environment? It could be any or all of these, and if you ask me, it doesn’t even matter. The point is, for whatever reason, they are doing their part to help the environment. And hey, I know better than anyone how teenagers can be slaves to Hollywood: this could easily inspire us sloppy college kids to throw our trash in the recycle bin.

www.valentinesdaymovie.com

Dependable Solar Products - One Arizona Small Business Going Green

Dependable Solar Products: One Arizona Small Business Going Green

The year was 1976. Before “going green” was the worldwide movement that it is today, Lane Garrett left his job to become an entrepreneur in energy management and conservation. By 1992, he had formed ETA Engineering, a distribution and engineering business specializing in various solar products. After distributors suggested that forming a separate company for installation would be a wise strategic marketing move, Garrett founded Dependable Solar Products in 2005.

Although ETA had been in business for more than a decade by the time Dependable Solar Products was founded, like any new business it ran into some difficulties.

“The challenges were capitalization to build the company, which was provided by stockholders,” Garrett says, adding that “getting the word out and getting some name recognition” was another issue.

Luckily, since ETA had been operating for several years, “we had all the technical expertise, engineering and experience, so that wasn’t a problem,” Garrett says.

Together, ETA Engineering and Dependable Solar Products have helped to put Arizona on the map for solar energy. ETA Engineering offers a full line of renewable energy products and services, and also designs systems such as photovoltaic power plants. They currently have projects in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, with more on the way including three in South Africa. Dependable Solar primarily installs solar modules (panels), as well as conducting some wind work.

“We do installations for power companies, industrial applications, as well as homeowners,” Garrett says.

The sizes of the systems vary, ranging from smaller systems that are just over a kilowatt in size, all the way up to large megawatt-plus size.

“If we look at the range of systems depending on size of homes and how much energy people use, it would go from usually 3 kilowatts (as a small system) to 10 kilowatts or more for some of the local people located in the mountains. Typically three to four range in size,” Garrett says.

In addition to the solar services it provides, Dependable Solar Products offers a multitude of green products.

“We provide a range of conservation — green — and energy-generating products such as wind turbines, lighting of all types, swimming pool circulation pumps, remote systems (off the utility grid and running 100 percent on solar), photovoltaic modules, high efficiency air conditioning, insulation (and more),” Garrett says.

The company also installs high-efficiency appliances, solar-powered golf cars, and even self-composting toilets. Essentially, the company has the ability to work in any area where electricity is used.

Currently, Dependable Solar Products has two locations, one in Scottsdale and one in Mesa. However, Garrett hopes to expand significantly in the coming year.

“We are planning this year to set up locations in Tucson, Denver, Albuquerque (N.M.) and Northern Mexico,” he says. “We hope to continue to grow at a rapid rate.”

While Arizona has sunshine to spare, incentives in other states make them more appealing solar energy destinations. However, in recent years this has changed significantly. Tax credits and the return on investment for solar energy are increasing, giving consumers more reasons to switch to solar.

“With the corporation commission and a lot of push through the Legislature, that situation is changing and now Arizona is much more competitive with other states.

“GPEC (Greater Phoenix Economic Council) and other organizations in the state have been working to change (incentives). The Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association has been active in changing incentives. I think chances of additional improvements are looking much better,” Garrett says.

With the rising cost of energy, solar is becoming the leading alternative for many and Garrett is thrilled to see that his long-time passion is finally becoming a reality.

“It’s one of the best investments you can make,” Garrett says. “I’ve been wishing for the coming growth, and to see it now is my favorite aspect.”

gas

Fueling Change: Higher Energy Costs Are Forcing Valley Companies To Look For Alternatives

Fueling Change

Higher energy costs are forcing Valley companies to look for alternatives

By Don Harris
From the neighborhood car wash to a corporate behemoth such as US Airways, rising energy costs are forcing Valley businesses to search for alternatives to relieve the pressure on their bottom lines.

Arizona Business Magazine, September 2008

On a warm weekend morning in the Phoenix area, a bored but concerned car wash attendant asks the only motorist who pulls up for a cleaning: “Where is everybody?” He then answers his own question: “People aren’t driving as much and their cars aren’t getting as dirty.”

From airlines to car washes to supermarket chains, record-high gas prices are taking their toll, causing businesses to implement strategies aimed at trimming expenses and saving energy.

Alternatives, ranging from solar to wind to biodiesel, are becoming more attractive and cost-effective as utility bills and prices at the pump continue to squeeze the bottom line.

While US Airways made major news when it announced a broad range of steps to cut costs and generate revenue, the airline is by no means alone in its actions. Bashas’ Family of Stores is an example of supermarkets that are feeling the pinch of higher diesel fuel prices, and the trucking industry reports some haulers are considering dropping customers who are in outlying areas.

Even car washes, which depend entirely on customers’ driving habits, are seeing a decline in business. Brian O’Connor, owner of Arizona Auto Wash, with operations throughout the Valley and in Sedona, says his customers are coming in less frequently.

“Instead of once a week, maybe we see them every other week,” O’Connor says. “People are so sick of putting money into their cars. They’re changing oil every 10,000 miles instead of 3,000 miles.”

O’Connor and other gas retailers are victims of what he calls a double whammy. Retailers get 8-to-10-cents per gallon, regardless of the price. Back when gas was $1 a gallon, that was a 10 percent profit. At $4 a gallon, that’s only 2.5 percent.

In addition to hiking the air-conditioning a degree or so, O’Connor has employees check equipment regularly for leaky hose bibs and broken sprinkler heads to conserve water.

Conservation, whether of water, fuel or energy, comes in many forms. For example, there’s solar power. Leah Bushman of Dependable Solar Products in Tempe, acknowledges that businesses, in particular home builders, don’t opt for solar units because of the cost.

“They want to know how is it going to affect their pocketbook, what is the return on investment,” she says.

She tells of a California builder who found that equipping homes with solar units added $18,000 to the cost, even after rebates and incentives. But, those solar homes sold much faster than others in the development.

In addition, a “green” architect in the Valley is seeing more interest in solar energy, Bushman says. “Why? Because more people are aware that we have an energy crisis on our hands,” she says. “We don’t have cheap oil anymore, but we do have the solar technology and the sunshine.”

At Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Miriam Robbins, marketing director, says any business could benefit from the company’s system, which is installed directly into the electric grid and does not need batteries or additional backup. The cost of most systems, including installation, ranges from $12,000 to $18,000. Rebates are available.

“The amount of power you get depends on wind speed,” she says. “Larger retailers may be interested to not only help offset electric costs, but also to make it more of a green statement. It can be installed on top of a light pole in a parking lot.”

Rick Katt, an owner of AZ BioDiesel in the Valley, says any business with a large fleet of trucks that runs on diesel should consider biofuel.

“No modification to your vehicle is needed,” he says. “It’s 80 percent vegetable oil, your motor runs cooler in hot weather and it’s cheaper than regular diesel by about 50 to 75 cents a gallon. And it’s better for the environment.”

Kristy Nied, director of communications for Bashas’, says the soaring price of diesel fuel has made it even more difficult for the company to operate in a cost-efficient manner.

“We rely on diesel fuel for our fleet of 97, over-the-road, 18-wheelers that deliver groceries to our stores throughout the state,” she says.

Recently, Bashas’ installed a device on its diesel trucks and eight other trucks that reduces fuel consumption and emissions.

“We’re saving enough fuel to run our entire fleet for a week,” Nied says. “We’ve also achieved a 32 percent reduction in particulate emissions.”

Bashas’ is testing a work-at-home program for certain employees, rewarding those who carpool with gifts ranging from duffel bags to vacations, and giving employees who ride public buses for two months a $25 gift card for store items.

“We’ve seen the number of bus riders go up because of gas prices,” Nied says.

A business decision closely related to the price of gas was the discontinuation of Bashas’ “Groceries on the Go” service.

“The cost of fuel made it extremely difficult for us to offer delivery service at a reasonable fee,” Nied says.

During the hot summer months, Bashas’ encouraged stores to set thermostats 2 degrees higher than normal. The grocery chain also placed nightshades on open freezer cases to reduce energy consumption, and installed energy-efficient lighting in more than one-third of the stores. The goal is to retrofit the remaining stores by the end of next year, Nied says.

To cope with rising fuel costs, US Airways has plans to cut as many as 2,000 jobs and started charging passengers more for items such as drinks, choice seats and checked bags. In the second quarter, the carrier lost $567 million, even though revenue rose 3 percent to $3.26 billion. But that revenue was eaten up by fuel costs. A year ago, the company reported a profit of $263 million.

In announcing US Airways’ second quarter earnings, company Chairman and CEO Doug Parker said he expects the new fees to add $500 million to the airline’s coffers. However, that’s less than half of the $1.1 billion the company paid for fuel in the second quarter.

Industry sources estimate fuel costs for airlines have increased 80 percent over a year ago. Valerie Wunder, associate manager of media relations for US Airways, says the airline is estimating its fuel costs to be $2 billion more than last year.

She explains other moves to save fuel. They include replacing all service carts with ones that are 12 pounds lighter and, in the cockpits, replacing paper manuals with electronic flight bags and maintenance logbooks to remove about 100 pounds of weight on each flight.

“Our fuel-hedging program and fuel-conservation measures such as single-engine taxi, which saves an estimated 5.2 million gallons of fuel annually, and fuel-conserving winglets, which reduces drag and saves approximately 1 million gallons of jet fuel, also help us conserve fuel,” Wunder says.

Karen Rasmussen, president and CEO of the Arizona Trucking Association, says fuel prices led to a record number of trucker bankruptcies nationally in the first quarter of the year. The association has 353 members, including UPS, Bashas’ and Safeway.

“Truckers are struggling,” she says. “They’re doing everything in their power to reduce fuel consumption, such as limiting idle time and keeping tires properly inflated. But, when it’s 113 degrees and they’re in their sleeper cab taking a required break, they have to keep the A/C going.”

In many cases, truckers are installing governors to limit speed or have instituted a companywide policy of keeping speeds between 58 and 62 mph.

“Reducing speed reduces fuel use,” Rasmussen says. “Many companies are looking at markets or customers they won’t serve as part of an overall business plan. They’re sticking with their best customers, the ones that pay their bills on time.”Cover September 2008:  Fueing Change

Fuel formerly was the second highest cost of doing business next to labor.

“Now, it’s the highest in many cases,” Rasmussen says.

The outlook?

“There’s not much to indicate we will get an improvement in fuel prices,” Rasmussen says.

Arizona Business magazine September 2008 “There are too many things on the global horizon indicating we will continue to have shortages of distillate, which is what diesel fuel is made from. There is a huge increase in demand overseas.”

Part of the problem is the weak dollar. U.S. firms are exporting more diesel fuel than ever.

“They can sell it for more overseas,” Rasmussen says. “Wouldn’t you?”

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