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How to Go Green without Really Trying

Posted by SEPCO

3/20/14 9:30 AM

Going green might seem like a complicated, cumbersome ideal that’s just a little too far out of your comfort zone. But it’s not something that has to take a lot of energy if you don’t have a lot to expend. Here are a few simple ways to go green without really trying.

Buy the Right Light Bulbs

This is a simple enough way to go a little greener all over the house. When you need to replace the light bulbs in your home, do yourself a favor and buy the florescent bulbs instead of the standard. They use 75% less energy than the incandescent variety and last much, much longer. They might be a little pricier up front, but they’ll more than pay for themselves—and your home will be a little greener for it.

Watch Water Use

Next time your showerheads need to be replaced, go for the low-flow option. You’ll conserve water in a big way, which will reduce your water bill as well as be environmentally friendly.

Teach your children to brush their teeth with the water off. Letting the water run while they scrub wastes an inordinate amount of water (up to five gallons a day) that could be saved simply by twisting the tap.

Only run the washing machine and dishwasher when they’re completely full. Half-loads aren’t as efficient, and you’ll end up running more loads than necessary.

Turn_off_ComputerTurn It Off

When you finish with your electronics for the night, turn them off. Unplug printers, computers, the TV, the DVD player, etc. If you can, plug them all into a power strip and then just switch it off every night before you go to bed. Turning off the devices all the way will prevent phantom power draw.

So instead of just leaving your laptop open and running, put it to sleep if you’re going to be away from it for a while. Turn off your phone at night instead of leaving it on all night to waste battery life. It will hardly take an effort on your part, and it’s just that much greener.                                                   

Permeable Paving

Your house can and should be just as green as your lifestyle. That isn’t to say that you need to install solar panels (although these are getting to be both more plausible and popular) or live in a tree house, but it can still be environmentally friendly. Next time you need to get your driveway repaved, consider forgoing the traditional asphalt or concrete and having permeable paving installed instead by your local paving company. Vancouver and Minnesota residents might need to have their roads repaved more often than cities in warmer climates, but the idea is the same no matter where you live.

Permeable paving is made of substances such as glass or permeable concrete that allow water to filter through it, keeping the surrounding lawns moist. They cool faster and require little maintenance. These materials are a little pricier but might be worth it in your quest for simple ways to go green.

Grow_a_GardenGrow a Garden

This idea takes a little more work, but if you plan on growing a garden anyway, you’re not any worse for wear. If you’ve been toying with the idea of planting a garden and just haven’t gotten around to it, make 2014 the year you try.

Gardens are an excellent way to “go green.” It doesn’t have to take up half your yard—any size, even a few tomato plants in pots, will make your meals a little healthier and reduce your “carbon footprint.”

Slow Down

When you drive, slow down a little. Higher speeds use more gas, so if you can afford to take a little extra time on your morning commute, it might be worth it. Checking the air pressure in your tires on a regular basis will also contribute to better gas mileage, as will keeping your air filters clean. Consider carpooling to work if you can to reduce emissions. None of these changes are life-altering, but the positive benefits add up.

Green Grocery Shopping

When you shop, spend the extra cash to buy natural or organic goods. They’re not as cheap as the produce grown with chemicals and hormones, but raising awareness of the health and environmental benefits of organically grown foods will make a difference.

Bring your own bags to carry your groceries. Reduce your use of paper and plastic bags (that only go straight to the landfills after you trash them at home). You can find cloth bags anywhere—many grocery stores even sell them in an effort to promote greener living.

Remember: your entire lifestyle doesn’t have to change to go green. Just be aware of the little things, and before you know it, you’ll be living just a little greener. 

About the Author: Georgiah Cook has a passion for finance, education, and the environment. She recently had her own driveway repaved, which set her on another “green” streak. For more information, visit Superior Paving. Georgiah also loves biking, hiking, and people-watching at the beach.

Pics: Wiki Acer, Wiki Garden

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Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Conservation, Recycling

5 Green Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Posted by SEPCO

2/11/14 9:30 AM

Last year we wrote about how to have a green outdoor Valentine’s day. This year I thought we could look at some great gift ideas that are not only environmentally friendly, but will show your loved one how much you care. Best of all, they will last much longer than chocolate and flowers.

1. Solar Charger

SolarCharger

Giving a solar charger is a great way to provide something we all need at one point or another, but with a renewable twist. Solar chargers can keep all our electronics charged up so we can stay in contact with our loved ones and also provide a power source for those middle-of-nowhere dates.

2. Terrarium

Terrarium

Terrariums are a great way to bring the outdoors indoors. They range in size and do not require a lot of care to keep alive. You can either make one yourself or purchase one with a personal touch. Either way, it will last a long time reminding them of you.

3. Reusable Cup or Bottle

WaterBottle

I can’t live without my coffee and I use a reusable bottle or cup to keep my coffee by my side at all times. Give your love a personalized bottle to remind them of you when they are on the move. My favorite are the aluminum and stainless steel bottles.

4. Upcycle Something

Upcycle

Find something that may mean a lot to both of you and upcycle it into something new. I found a tutorial on how to make coasters out of beer boxes, tiles and cork. There are thousands of tutorials online and Pinterest is one of my favorite places to get some amazing ideas.

5. Organic Just About Anything

Organic

You can get just about anything organic today. From cotton sheets, bathrobes, food, etc. there is so much you can do to be not only environmentally friendly, but show that you are interested in their health as well. 

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Topics: Fun Green Articles, Holiday

20 Small Eco-Friendly Steps to Save Money Long Term

Posted by SEPCO

1/30/14 9:30 AM

business_(more)_eco_friendlyIn the current tough economic climate, people often leave environmental concerns by the wayside. Most directors don’t consider steps to turn eco-friendly as essential to the running of the company. Trimming costs often takes priority over anything else – however, what most don’t realise is that lowering expenses and turning eco-friendly are not mutually exclusive processes.

This is a misconception that is really costing our planet (and your bottom line). After you’ve read the following tips, taking the steps to turn your business into an eco-friendly powerhouse will seem like an absolute no brainer. These investments will not only help the environment, but you’ll be saving your business truckloads of money. Sure, some require an initial investment but over time you will make that money back multiple times over.

1. Minimize Printing
Try and instil a culture where printing is used as a last resort. Encourage your employees to communicate by email, send meeting notes as Word documents and send faxes online instead of using a dedicated fax machine.

2. Use Environmentally-Friendly Paper
Let’s face it; we can’t completely eradicate printing. If you still find yourself having to hit that Print button, make sure you’re using the right kind of paper. Don’t just look for a random recycling logo (it’s often just a gimmick), but instead opt for PCW paper as it’s guaranteed to be made with fully recycled materials.

3. Print Double-Sided Documents
Encourage your employees to utilize as much paper as possible before discarding into the garbage or recycling bin. This can reap many benefits in paper consumption and costs.

4. Use Biodegradable Soaps & Cleaners
Not only is this much better for the environment, but also for the general safety of your workers. Cleaning products that are more natural with minimal ingredients may also prove to be cheaper in costs as well.

5. Utilize Plants in Your Office Space
At a glance, this may seem like a visual aesthetic (which yes, it may help with), but in terms of health benefits, it may be advantageous. Plants carry natural pollen and allergenic absorbents that help workers breathe easier and become less sick, especially during allergy season.

6. Buy Energy Star Appliances
New appliances have placed energy consumption at the forefront, cutting down on environment impact. Invest in Energy Star appliances that will cut down your bills, even if they are a little expensive. Over time, it’s worth it.

7. Renewable Energy
While it is true that installations such as solar panels will require an initial outlay, you will save your company money over time. If you’re not in a place that gets a lot of sunlight, your options aren’t completely limited. You can also consider using wind power, for instance. It’s staggering just how efficient these systems can be.

8. Use LED or CFL Lights
While initially a little pricier, LED and CFL lights last much longer than your standard light bulb. Not only that, they use far less energy as well. Per bulb, you can save a staggering $200 over its lifetime. Even though you’ll be spending a significantly higher chunk right off the bat, it’s still a sound financial decision.

9. Turn off Lights & Electronics When Not Needed
A large portion of businesses are guilty of this one by leaving on lights and computers on a continuous basis, without thinking of the ramifications. Something as easy as turning off the light in a room not in use is a simple act that people tend to forget. Putting our computers to sleep (or completely shutting them off) at the end of each work day can also help us in saving up on energy bills.

10. Ensure Efficient Heating & Cooling For Office Space
This relates to the overall energy consumption of your office. Make sure that your building is up to code and is well-insulated during cold winters and/or hot summers. A well-insulated space ensures that you use less energy, saving an enormous amount on energy billing.

11. Consider an Energy Audit
Some managers consider energy audits to part of new-age mumbo jumbo, but they’re actually extremely beneficial. Consultants that work for these companies know exactly where businesses can make changes to save money and benefit the environment at the same time.

12. Conserve Water
Do your part in conveying to your employees the importance of water conservation. This can help with costs by restricting any over-usage. It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for any leaks and areas of your facility that don’t need water access; in which case you can consider turning the supply off for.

13. Carpooling
If most of your employees drive into the office using their own cars, there is a lot of room for improvement. Carpooling is also a good way for your staff members to get to know each other a bit better on the way to work.

14. Public Transportation & Bikes
Try and encourage people to use these alternative means of transportation. This can increase the reduction of your company’s carbon footprint and over time, save everyone money.

15. Use Green Web Hosting
Green web hosts are companies that take part in a plethora of green initiative, such as planting of trees, utilizing renewable energy sources, and implementing carbon offsets within their operations. These companies are capable of hosting your websites at the same costs (and sometimes less) than the majority of other companies that rely on fossil fuels.

16. Working from Home
If at all possible, have your employees work from home if their jobs involved mainly computer-based tasks. Not only does this increase productivity, but it can save operating costs to the company.

17. Online Queries
Directing your customers to fill out online forms for general questions and queries may help your team work more efficiently by dealing with less physical paper. Additionally, website pages that list frequently asked questions may also compliment this sort of approach.

18. Utilize Video Conferencing
With the growth of technology over the past several years, the use of video conferencing has skyrocketed due to its efficiency and reliability. Not only will you reduce the costs of flying your employees from place-to-place, but you’ll have peace of mind knowing that both money AND time was spared…. It is truly an efficient use of a web application for businesses worldwide.

19. Refurbishing Furniture
This is a great alternative to those looking to purchase new office furniture. Consider the possibility of re-purposing old chairs and tables if possible to tremendously cut costs, while at the same time giving your space a breath of fresh air.

20. Buy Used
If you do, in fact, decide to buy new office furniture, it might also be a great idea to try buy second-hand, via online classified ads. You would be saving a dramatic amount and at the same time re-cycling someone else’s things.

Final Word: One Step at a Time
Becoming an eco-friendly business from one day to the next is impossible, but that’s no reason to put it off ad infinitum. Simple steps can turn into massive savings over time and your environment will thank you.

About the Author: Mark is a green conscious man, and thinks all companies should have an environmentally conscious business model and achieve profit at the same time.

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Topics: Guest Post, Green Ideas, Fun Green Articles, Conservation

Color Your Daydreams Green: Green Cars Based on a Fictional Car Crush

Posted by SEPCO

11/5/13 9:30 AM

It’s not always easy being green, especially if you like the supercharged cars from television shows like Supernatural, The Dukes of Hazzard, Knight Rider, or the sleek sports cars from the James Bond movies. But you can still have a healthy helping of your daydreams in real life and keep your commitment to an environmentally-conscious lifestyle.

Here are some possible car crushes you may have and the green car to match:

If You Want James Bond’s Cars….

And why wouldn’t you? Mr. Bond has driven an impressive array of cars over the years and it’s added to his allure and activities over the years. Who wouldn’t want to save the world in a fast car? Unfortunately, we’ll never have an all-electric Lotus Espirit or classic Aston Martin DBIII—perhaps the two most iconic Bond Cars in history. However, all is not lost.

What makes a Bond car? If one discounts the cars that Bond rides in or steals out of convenience, a clear pattern begins to emerge. The typical Bond car is fast, sleek, and built from high-quality materials (I would say built to last, but this is Bond’s car and his driving record is far from what the DMV would call stellar).

Tesla-Roadster...You Should Buy a Tesla Roadster or Tesla Model S

Tesla Motors bases their cars around Nikola Tesla’s original design for an alternating current motor—from 1882! And it still works, which is great for sports car fans who want to go all-electric. Depending on how accessible charging stations are, and what your personal preference is, choose either of these at a Tesla dealership.

 

If You Want KITT from Knight Rider

Do you too long to work for a private crime-fighting organization, speeding along in a fancy, intelligent vehicle? David Hasselhoff’s Michael Knight got to do just that, after a brush with fate got him reconstructive surgery on his face, a new name, and he became the first agent of ailing, eccentric billionaire Wilton Knight’s Foundation for Law And Government (FLAG). Michael and KITT (voiced by William Daniels, a.k.a. Mr. Feeney from Boy Meets World) drive around the country fighting crime for FLAG using KITT’s impressive accoutrements.

Prius…You Should Buy a Prius

A Prius? Yes, a Prius! The original car famous for being a hybrid isn’t quite up to KITT’s level of human conversation, but it does come with GPS, Bluetooth calling, and informational readouts (even if they are condensed into a screen rather than spread out like KITT’s dashboard). And, like KITT, the Prius is humble, with a quiet, self-assured confidence. In addition, its hybrid engine means no gas used when idling (and therefore no wasted gas or extra emissions).

Unlike KITT, you don’t have to be a FLAG agent to own a Prius—most car dealers from Utah to Maine, literally everywhere, sell current or used models of the Prius. And yes, it does come in black.

If You Wish You Owned the Batmobile…                                              

Oh, the incarnations to choose from! The 1960’s TV series modeled their Batmobile on a Lincoln Futura, but there aren’t any cars quite like the Batmobiles featured in the 90’s TV series and the Tim Burton Batman movies.

Except when there are.

MercedesElectric…You Should Buy a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive

It doesn’t have the rocket burst or Bat Missiles, but check out the design. The long hood is especially reminiscent of the elongated, almost Packard-like Batmobile from the early 90’s animated series, is it not?

And the best part is, this car is all-electric and gets up to 124 mph and goes 0-62 mph in 3.9 seconds. Who needs a rocket engine or Bat-Spoiler on the back?

If You Enjoyed The Italian Job…

Whether you care more for the original Michael Caine flick from 1969 or the 2003 remake as Mark Wahlberg & Co. exact revenge on Edward Norton’s treacherous character, there’s something about this movie about honor among thieves that is universally beloved.  

As the thieves descend on the money and make their getaway in gridlock-friendly Mini Coopers, everyone can agree that a car so cute has never looked so fierce.

MiniE…You Should Buy a Mini E

Production was limited and there were some problems, but Nevada-based Hybrid Technologies has been working with BMW to fix them. And if you can, find an electric version of this little marvel, the work it absolutely worth it.

Having fast-paced, car-chase daydreams don’t have to clash with your commitment to being environmentally conscious.  Hopefully, these options can direct you toward the eco-friendly car of your dreams.

About the Author: Lucy Markham is an avid blogger and, as a recent homeowner, considers herself a bit of an expert on all things home improvement, gardening, and home decoration. Her Car Crush is a Tesla Roadster.

Img Source: NY TImes, Conceptcarz, AutoBlog Green, Popular Mechanics

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Topics: Guest Post, Fun Green Articles, Green Cars

3 Ways to Be Green in Small Spaces

Posted by SEPCO

7/18/13 9:30 AM

LED LightWhen living in a small apartment or home, you may think that you are already doing your part to help the environment by economizing and taking up less space in the world. However, there are many other simple ways to resolve to live more ecologically and responsibly!

Trim the Fat

That isn’t meant to be a poke at your waistline, instead it’s a way to start your new green lifestyle. In small homes or apartments, free space is more valuable than ever. Resolve to get the junk cleared out before you start any other green projects. Cleaning out your home and getting rid of useless clutter is a great way to recycle, notice any pest control problems, and give you more area to breath and be active. If your treadmill is filling up with excess clothes, and your kitchen table is overcrowded with unnecessary appliances, consider taking an inventory of what you have and resolving to donate what is superfluous. You can even organize a community donation project with those in your apartment complex or neighborhood to donate as much as possible and get everyone living providently!

Consider Indoor Gardening

Though you may not feel like the kind of person that could ever grow anything, taking advantage of all the ways to grow your own organic fruits and vegetables is the perfect way to be more ecological as well as conscious of your own nutrition and health. If you don’t have even enough room to grow plants on your window sills, there are still many ways to indoor garden! Growing plants in your kitchen with LED grow lights is a great way to get fast growing organic plants at home. The special grow lights will give your fruits and vegetables the much needed light to photosynthesize and have you making a fruit salad in no time!

Monitoring the Energy

Whether it is how long the oven is on during the day, or how high or low you crank the thermostat, being conscious of your energy while living in a small space, is a great way to prepare you for provident and ecological living when you have a larger apartment or home. There are many ways to manage and monitor your energy such as: getting a programmable thermostat, dimmers on your light switches, and investing in solar panels!

The great thing about solar energy in small spaces is that since you have less that will be consuming energy, revamping your home with solar panels and solar products can be incredibly affordable. Whether you are in a condo, townhome, or starter home, solar energy can provide you with the energy needed through summer days and winter nights so you can regulate the temperatures in an ecological and environmentally conscious way.

So whether you are in a small space temporarily or long term, realize your own potential for ecological and economical living in your home and start saving space and energy!

Lucy Markham is an avid blogger and enjoys learning and trying anything new when it comes to green living, home improvement, and DIY

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Topics: Guest Post, Fun Green Articles

2013 Summer Solstice Fun Facts

Posted by SEPCO

6/20/13 9:30 AM

Sun SolsticeIt’s the summer solstice coming up this Friday and you know what that means right? It is the longest day of the year and the most amount of sunlight will be hitting the earth, making the solar power absorb the most energy than the rest of the year. Where else did you think I was going with that?

One thing most people don’t take into consideration is the sun hours in a day for solar. The sun rises at 7 am and sets at 8 pm where you live, so there should be 13 hours of sunlight right? Not really, but close. However, on the summer solstice, the maximum number of sun falls on us and provides a lot of power.

Here are some other great facts about the summer solstice.

  • Solstice is derived from the Latin words SOL meaning Sun and Sistere meaning to stand still.
  • The solstice will occur this Friday, June 21st at 5:04 Universal Time, or 11:04 AM for us on the East Coast.
  • The solstice dates vary from June 20th, 21st and 22nd. A June 22nd solstice will not occur till June 22, 2203. The last time there was a June 22nd solstice was in 1971.
  • Stonehenge was built around 3100 BCE. Some people believe it was built to help establish when the summer solstice occurred. Interestingly, the sun rises at a particular point on the horizon as viewed from the center of the stone circle on day of the June solstice.
  • Around the same time Stonehenge was being constructed in England, two great pyramids and then the Sphinx were built on Egyptian sands. If you stood at the Sphinx on the summer solstice and gazed toward the two pyramids, you would see the sun set exactly between them.
  • The solstice marks when the sun reaches its northernmost point for the year and has the longest sun hours of the year.
  • Look at your shadow around noon on the solstice; it’s your shortest noontime shadow of the year.

Well that’s about all I found. What other fun facts can you find about the solstice? Or how will you be celebrating it? 

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Topics: Fun Green Articles

10 Great Ways to Celebrate Earth Day 2013

Posted by SEPCO

4/18/13 9:30 AM

Earth Day 2013Earth Day is coming up on Monday, April 22nd and there is still time to plan some great activities to celebrate both at work and at home. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Repurpose something old into something new. Instead of throwing out or even recycling, make something of that “stuff” you have lying around. There are so many great ideas and one of the best resources I found is Pinterest. Just be careful not to get lost in all the great pins. Don’t have the time, Freecycle the items you no longer want to others.

2. Volunteer your time to do something for your community. There are many events and volunteer opportunities in your community that you can get involved in. Can’t find an event nearby, start your own event in with your neighbors or coworkers and do something good.

3. The annual Lyrids meteor shower is nearly here, beginning roughly around April 16th and visible until around April 26th. The peak will be occurring on April 22, 2013 (night of the 22nd/morning of the 23rd).  This may not work for everyone, like people who live in a city, but for all of us in rural areas, this is a great idea to experience something new.

4. Do some guerilla gardening with seed bombs. This will brighten up some abandoned spot in town and make you and others smile when you pass by. Best of all it provides some growth to a previously dead spot giving nature a chance to “spring” back to life.

5. Do some green cleaning around your home or office. Instead of using harmful chemicals, create a natural cleaning solution and wipe down all surfaces.  Everything will be fresh and clean while being environmentally friendly.

6. Plant something. Okay, this is a repeat from our Earth Day post last year, but it applies every year. This time maybe take the plant indoors to help clean the air. There are tons of air cleaning plants that are great for homes and offices.

7. Do those upgrades you have been dreaming of. Most stores have Energy Star appliance sales on Earth Day, such as Lowe’s 10% off sale. This is a great time to lower your energy usage while increasing your home’s efficiency and style.

8. Visit a national park for free. National Park Week coincides with Earth Day and all week (April 20-28) you can visit any of the national parks with free admission. What a great time to get outside and enjoy some fresh air with nature’s beauty all around.

9. Get rid of paper mail. Sign up with DMAChoice.org, use your tablet to get e-catalogs and magazines and use your smart phones for news updates instead of the paper.

10. Commit to make small changes throughout the year. Small changes can be as simple as using green bags when shopping, not buying bottled water, recycling more, composting, etc. There are a ton of things you can get your friends and family to do. Remember, one drop in the bucket eventually will create a flood.

Happy Earth Day!

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Topics: Fun Green Articles, Holiday

10 years in the Solar Lighting Industry

Posted by SEPCO Staff Authors

3/26/13 9:30 AM

StephanieHere it is Tuesday morning and it is my week to write a blog post.  I think to myself, is this really important, is this the best and most efficient thing I could be doing with my time?  And of course coming from the GenX I Google the benefits of blogging and I come to the conclusion that it is definitely worth it.  Therefore, now I know it is important-- so important that I cannot find the courage to throw something together and move on with my daily tasks.  Surely, someone who has been in the solar lighting industry for 10 years has something to share.  Yesterday I received a call from a lighting designer who will speak on behalf of solar lighting at Lightfair, I find I can be long winded and passionate on the phone when discussing our solar lighting products and how great LED’s have become as well as all the reasons lighting designers should know when to use and feel comfortable specifying solar LED street lighting and beautiful solar decorative lights for their next lighting project. 

I had my 10 year anniversary at Solar Electric Power Company last week.  Then this week I conducted an interview with a young lady starting off her career and in her mid-20’s talking about her quarter life crisis.  I laughed and it brought me back in time, when I started out my career in the solar lighting industry.  I dreaded being stuck in an office setting; I had no clue what my career had in store for me.  I was ready to make the big leap from college studies to the big long time career.  I had worried that I might not be able to hold a steady career, or that I might let my family down.  Not only is this my career, but it is also my family.  I work for my parents in a family business.  I remember coming home from school and listening to my parents discuss projects over the dinner table.  I also remember going on family vacations to spots where projects were so they could get really good photographs of the installations, etc. 

I grew up thinking that I was going to stay out of the family business.  I thought I was going to go and venture out on my own and be independent and have my own career.  Then my quarter life crisis hit me shortly after I spent 7 years in college and completed my graduate studies.  It hit me like a ton of bricks; I wanted to be a part of the Family Business.  “WHAT?” Yes, you heard me; the one thing I thought that I wanted to stay out of is the one thing that drew me in.  Of course we all have to make money, so why not do it while enjoying the company of our family.  What I envisioned as a young child as mixing business and family as a negative, shortly became what I would embrace and love.  I get to work every day with the ones that I love.  Furthermore, family businesses play an influential role in society because of their commitment to community, their sense of responsibility to give back to those who aided them in their success, and because of a motivation driven by the ideals of family, partnership and responsibility rather than solely that of making a profit at any cost.

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Topics: Fun Green Articles, Employment

3 Ways to Market Your Business as Green

Posted by SEPCO

3/5/13 9:36 AM

Solar CanopyHow is your business different from those of competitors?  Does your brand dedicate itself to excellent customer service, a money-back guarantee, or dedication to the community?  Growing numbers of business owners are making respective businesses distinct, placing more emphasis on ‘going green.’ 

Telecommuting, using energy-efficient light bulbs, and participating in local recycling programs are some implementations exercised by owners with green intentions.  However, those endeavors take place inside the places of business.  But what about the parking lots outside?  Going green is an internal and external business endeavor in modern times.

Just how are outdoor green feats achieved?  The Wall Street Journal instructs, “From Long Island to the Arizona desert, developers are covering their lots with canopies of solar panels.” (1)  Solar panels are not a new discovery; the insight of turning light to power was first turned on the world in 1838. (2)  However, today’s technology allows for solar-paneled canopies, new to eyes and green enthusiasts.  How do those partaking in green efforts market and spread word?

Press Releases Championing a Bigger Cause

‘Men in suits’ are not the only associations to green motions and energy-saving parking lots.  The Washington Redskins covered 841 parking spaces with solar-paneled canopies, the system generating 20% of FedExField’s power needs (during game days and all electricity during off days). (1)

Make it a topic of news, as the football team did; businesses use press releases to inform the public about participation in bigger causes, such as energy conservation, raising awareness about the larger cause but also functioning as a marketing tool, aligning the business with the celebrated, green endeavor.

Solar Parking LotPitch Reporters with Green-Related Stories

The notion of suiting outdoor areas with solar panels is made possible by new-age technology; erected canopies, soaking up rays of light, turn them into usable sources of power.  This isn’t the latest film adaptation of the future.  It’s the parking lot scene taking place right now at local businesses.  It’s an interesting story; green companies pitch such stories to reporters (especially ones who have previously written on the topic).

For example, commercial rent is high for many, yet owners can make use of underutilized land, leveraging solar panels to reduce utility bills.  That’s a story people would read; the scientific element is interesting; and better, it saves people money.  Are you ensuring news reporters and publications know about your efforts?

Create In-House Conversations About Green Perks

Employees like benefits, whether it’s more money, a bigger office, or option of working some days from home.  It makes workers feel appreciated, also providing tangible value.  Solar-powered canopies are beneficial for employees too, employees who enact word-of-mouth and social-media sentiments each day.  What are they (potentially) saying about their places of work?

A number of owners enjoy the reputation of operating a ‘green’ business, fueled by the word-of-mouth and social media marketing of their own employees.  Why are panels good for workers and a topic of discussion?  Canopies block the sun, ridding car seat surfaces and chambers of excessive heat.  During times of inclement weather, the canopies provide protection from hail, snow, and rain, something car owners doubling as employees can appreciate.  Moreover, solar panels save businesses money, funds that can contribute to employee bonuses.  Are you creating in-house conversations, facilitating online and outdoor social marketing?

Author: Natasha Risinger is a personal finance consultant. Her articles focus on green energy and sustainability they appear on green and sustainability blogs. Visit Texas Electricity Providers for more details.

Resources:

Wall Street Journal 

Solar Energy History

Entrepreneur 

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Topics: Guest Post, Fun Green Articles

Paper Towel Revolution

Posted by SEPCO

11/1/12 9:30 AM

Have you ever wanted to make a difference? I’m talking about making a real difference in your family, in your community and possibly the world.

571,230,000 is a big number. It also happens to be the number of pounds of paper towels used by Americans each and every year. Think about that for a second.  571,230,000 pounds of paper is being used to wipe our hands and then discarded in the trash. That’s huge, not to mention wasteful!

I recently received an e-mail from a friend and the only thing it said was “trust me, click the link and watch.” It was a friend that I trust, so I did just that. You know what? I’m glad I did. The video was not only funny, it was inspiring, clever and eye opening.

The video is called: How To Use A Paper Towel, a quick 4 1/2 min. video from Ted.com featuring Joe Smith, and promoting proper paper towel technique.


I know, this sounds completely crazy--but we use paper towels each and every day and we’re doing it wrong! How many times have you gone into a public restroom and seen paper towels scattered all over the floor? Or watched kids and adults alike, yanking two, three, even four sheets from the dispenser at a time? Have you ever stopped and considered the waste? By using two simple principles and remembering two simple words, you can help save 571,000,230 pounds of paper a year.

An active figure in the Oregon community, Joe Smith teaches you about the two key principles to remember: “shake” and “fold.” Through his simple demonstration using a bowl of water and a stack of various styles of paper towels, you’ll learn how to make an immediate difference in paper consumption. What’s that mean? In less than 5 min., you’ll be empowered to teach, encourage and guide others while directly saving the forests.

 You don’t have to be a tree hugger to get involved. You just have to be willing to share the truth. Joe Smith will show you that truth and he’s going to make you smile while he does it. It's a quick, easy, fun way to spread some knowledge to family and friends that they’ll remember and use for the rest of their lives.

So now that you know there’s an opportunity to make a real difference in the world, what are you going to do about it?

My suggestion is to click on the link above and listen to what Joe Smith has to say, and then share the video with others.

Author Bio: Dwayne Thomas, who works for cabletv.com, is a 33 year old husband and father from Salt Lake City, UT.  He welcomes your feedback on Twitter @DwayneThomas15.

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Topics: Fun Green Articles

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