Monday, February 9, 2009

Green…One of Many Things the Environment Has in Common With the Money

by Greg Lipinski

“Green” is simply no longer a color for me. “Green” has come to embody a thought process by people and organizations to find ways to make their way of living life or going about business congruent with saving or preserving the environment. If someone were to ask me, “How can I be green?” I would immediately answer, “Change your lights to compact florescent light bulbs.” Though some might see a few gallons of Forest Green paint from your local Home Depot as the solution to that question.

Many people have joined this “Green” movement, and you should to…as soon as possible. I understand that in Syracuse, New York, it’s difficult to understand the concept of global warming when you’re walking into 20mph winds at below zero temperatures. You might hate Al Gore and all he stands for, but the fact of the matter is there are other advantages in being “green”. Now, being “green” can even save you or your organization money in a variety of ways. However, waiting to make such investments might cost you in the end.

Take, as an example, Adobe Systems. Interest in the idea of saving money/Mother Earth started with an employee enquiring about the efficiency of having single-serve creamers in the break room or an economy sized manner of distribution. The company wound up investing $1.1 million over the course of a couple of years, and is yielding about $1 million in annual savings. Not only did they save money, they also created themselves an identity as a socially and environmentally responsible company. It was a very well spent investment. However, that article was published in 2006. Imagine the benefits Adobe and companies like them are seeing now in our current economic state. Although the company’s stock value has fallen, it definitely would have taken a much more substantial hit if it hadn’t been for it’s massive “green” movement that annually saves them about $1 million.

The question you might be asking yourself now is, “What is the benefit of an average Joe like me investing in “green” technology and processes? There’s no benefit for me.” Well, you’re wrong. There are a variety of things you can change in your lifestyle that can save you money and help the environment. Like I mentioned before, compact florescent light bulbs (CFL) are a good investment; replacing five incandescent bulbs with five CFL’s could save you 50% on your lighting bill. You could even save money in your eating habits. Most people look to grocery stores for produce, but the freshest, best tasting, and often times, cheapest produce is at your local farmers market. Plus they don’t use gallons of fuel transporting it. These are just a couple of ways that being “green” can benefit you as consumer. For more tips on ways to be “green” and save money, click here. Most importantly, do it quickly. Consumer trends show that we are a bit slow on the uptake of critical information. When gas prices peaked in the 80’s, there was a craze for fuel-efficient vehicles. People held onto their vehicles and their mindset of “I need to save money on gas” well past the point when gas prices came back down. Then somewhere along the lines, people began using gas-guzzling SUVs because they’re safer and gas was cheap. Prices soared and people still drove the larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles. Although prices have dropped over the last year or so, gasoline is a commodity with an extremely volatile price that can peak at any moment.

The point? There are only benefits that can arise from being “green”, either personally or in business. So don’t wait until the last second, it might be a minute to late for the Earth and a dollar short of your next month’s rent.


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