Think green to save green
A tough economy has both large corporations and small
businesses penny pinching to stay afloat.
With saving money comes changing priorities, and that may not be a bad thing.
Just ask Green Irene's Mark Sossoman. He is among those leading the local push towards green business solutions and it is not just about saving the environment.
"From a business standpoint ... there are literally thousands of dollars that can be saved in energy costs and water conservation, not to mention the business that can be drawn to your company as a result of people seeing that you are being an environmentally responsible company," he said.
Take energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs. Average eight years savings for one household that makes the switch are in the $2,000 range, he said. While CFL bulbs can be pricy, bulbs pay for themselves in energy savings in about three weeks, he said.
It is not just about buying new products. Phantom energy, electricity used by plugged in electronics when they are switched off, can account for 10 percent of your bill, he said.
Unplugging your computer when it is not in use or turning off your surge protector can save you hundreds of dollars.
A high school teacher for more than 10 years, Sossoman read Sarah James' "The Natural Step for Communities" and developed a new dream: helping western North Carolina progress in sustainability.
"Our way of life is not a sustainable way of life right now," he said. "It's going to have an end."
It is "unrealistic" to think everyone will change overnight, but small steps both combat the problem and save consumers and businesses money, he said.
Sossoman started with letters to the editor. From there he began speaking at town council meetings. Taking things into his own hands, literally by starting his own business, was the next step, he said.
While he will miss his students, Sossoman is excited to join the growing number of experts helping companies develop a sustainability plan. It is a service he believes will pay for itself.
Sossoman is based out of Morganton and plans to service western North Carolina counties. Consultations start at just under $100. For more information, check out http://www.greenirene.com/MarkMorganton.