Green Products are Good Business
The words “green” and “eco-friendly” are charged with enormous baggage. Some people think it represents an approach to living that’s Spartan and uncomfortable. A home or business that’s filled with countless bins to sort every piece of waste, nothing but the barest essentials and an existence defined by less.
As a business owner that embraces green products, I want you to know nothing could be further from the truth. Eco-friendly products are a way to save money, save time and get something my competitors don’t have. Green can help me provide new benefits for my customers and employees.
Take the light bulb as an example.
Traditional incandescent light bulbs could either be turned on to provide light, or turned off. Switches could adjust their level of brightness, but that was about it. Flourescent bulbs weren’t much better, they consumed less energy but now they added environmentally damaging mercury, making their disposal more difficult while adding tons of toxins into our landfills.
The GREEN solution is LED bulbs, and their manufacturers’ are looking at things differently.
LED’s use extremely little power, they last for years and they emit far less heat. That means you’ll save on your energy bill, you’ll save on labor to replace bulbs, you’ll save money buying and replacing burnt out bulbs and you’ll save on cooling costs in the summer. Plus the current models provide light that’s as good or better than the best bulbs of the past. That’s reason enough to change. But here’s where the new green products get interesting.
Some models of LED bulbs have been designed to change colors, sense the light around them and “talk” to each other through the internet.
Bulbs that talk, can share what’s happening around them to make small continuous changes. They can increase light in dark corners and turn things down near bright windows. That maximizes lighting and power savings at the same time.
Light bulbs that sense if someone is in a room can turn off when everyone leaves, and turn back on to light your way or surprise unwanted visitors.
Color changing bulbs can be programmed to alert people about what’s going on. For example, I own a personal training company and our clients tend to train in 30 or 60-minute sessions. We have color changing lights turn red the last minute of each hour and half hour to indicate time is almost up. Then briefly show green when the new sessions start. It allows my trainers to completely focus on their clients, without having to keep an eye on the clock.
Lights might be connected to cameras to subtly change color when someone is approaching your front door, for severe weather alerts or to tell the hearing impaired they’re getting a phone call. It’s no longer a passive bulb, but an active device that keeps me informed. The only thing LESS about these green products is that they cost less to operate over time.
The key to choosing green products is figuring out what makes economic and functional sense. Some products seem like a really good idea, but they’re duds. For example, in gyms one of the hot “green” trends are exercise bikes that produce power. As customers ride them, a small generator captures the energy and it’s used to reduce how much power your business needs.
Great idea, until I calculated how much power those generators produced. If they were used for 5 hours a day, every day by someone doing strenuous exercise, it would take 17 years to recoup the cost of the cheap $400 unit!
A solar hot water heater would be a much better choice. Those units can pay for themselves in as little as 5 years and they have an expected life of 10 to 20 years, depending on model.
There are so many ways to save money with green products, it’s hard to know where to start. To make things easier, I’ve posted a document on our website called the Eco Savings Solutions that details each of the things my company has done, with descriptions on how they benefit. Following that is a Savings Spreadsheet so you can type the raw numbers in and calculate your potential savings.
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