Case Studies

 

John Hildebrand
Auto Paychecks

When we purchased and remodeled 441 Colorado Ave we were committed to being as green as possible in our build.  We have been recycling as a business for years; we recycle paper, glass, plastic, aluminum and cardboard. With 6 employees we produce less than one bag of trash a week. This mostly consisting of a few fruit peels and leftovers from lunch.

As we built out our new space, we included in our planning high efficiency lighting, all work stations are individually switched and can be turned on and off at need. In many buildings the choice is to turn on all the lights or none.  We have given our employees the power to use lighting as they need it and not be forced to light areas that we are not using. We have also included a good amount on natural lighting.  When it is bright outside, there is little need to have artificial lights on at all. We insulated well above code requirements (the building had none at all when we bought it), we added side wall insulation and Low-E glass (all of the glass in the building was single pane originally). An interesting statistic on business electrical usage is that as a percentage of total usage, lighting consumes 37-39% of the average business’s total usage.  It has been worth the effort and expense to do the lighting right.  We also incorporated a 9.6KW solar package that 9 months into our new occupancy seems to be meeting nearly all of our electrical needs.  The solar system is certainly living up to its promises.  Our last total utility bill was about $35.00. (It was comprised of our basic service fees only - $00 total actual usage.) Here is a staggering number. By producing all of this power with our new solar panels we have not produced 18,268 Lbs of C02 emissions. (As compared to coal produced electricity.) With a total of 10.74 Mega Watts produced!

For us, Going Green is the right thing to do as a responsible business owner and Colorado residents it has also made good financial sense. We think as utility costs rise, that our decision to “be green” will look smarter and smarter. An immediate example of this is that we will not be affected by Xcel’s new “tiered rate structure”. Our financed system cost is lower than our electrical bill was before the new rate structure took effect.  At this point I think we are running about $40-50.00 per month in our favor and that will only grow as the cost of electricity increases. Keep in mind we are only in our first year with the PV System.  (Anyone out there think power will get cheaper?) We looked at it as a good business decision and a good ethical decision. We have to take the best possible care of the only home we have.  As far as I know we do not have an alternative place (planet) to live on.

Nattana Johnson
Monument Graphics & Communications

2008 was an incredible year for many of us in the Grand Valley, and as part of my business plan we continued to try and make our business more efficient. Our building is old, many things are out of our control, but for the things we do have control over we felt it was important for us to make the changes necessary to be a “greener” business and to save our natural resources. So years ago we went away from hard copies and project folders to a complete digital project system, saving thousands of sheets of paper a month…We also implemented CFL Lighting throughout the office, not only reducing the heat they produced, but lowering our electricity usage, we convinced the building to join us in recycling, and at the end of the year we took advantage of the incredible commercial tax incentives and with the dedicated folks over at High Noon solar installed a 5.4 KW Solar system. This was not only a good business decision, but the right decision in trying to make our business more carbon neutral. We are electronic geeks and giddy when it comes to new gadgets, but we try and do our best to make our equipment last, utilize the tools we have and offset where we can.

 

To date our Solar has produced 13,430 KW of energy – saving nearly 22,831 pounds of CO2. Sure it has saved us on our monthly electric bill, and as the cost of energy increases it will save us even more, but it was simply a smart business decision. Taking advantage of Xcel’s rebate and the federal tax credits has allowed us to invest in something that will pay for itself in 3-4 years and continue to earn us energy savings for many years to come.

 

Chad Schneiter, Vice President
Mor Storage

Mor Storage is striving to make our local business more sustainable. In November of 2009 we chose to work with One Source Lighting on a more energy efficient lighting system, providing newer technology that consumes less wattage. We decided to install occupancy sensors which allow for “smart” lighting of a room or facility by automatically turning lights on when the room is occupied; and off when it isn’t to help with overall demand. Xcel Energy is offering small businesses substantial rebates that allowed us to move forward with the project. We have recently installed Solar panels that were sized correctly determined by our lighting KW demand as well. In doing this project it to will help with 20% buy back which helps with the demand. As a local company our goal is to maximize effectiveness while increasing long-term profitability.