The Green revolution is happening whether people realize it or not. Governments are offering incentives to consumers so they shop for more energy efficient products and in order to get those customers in the door, companies are manufacturing more energy efficient products. The more green products we buy, the more green products companies will make, the more the green market will expand and the more jobs we will have to choose from. To use an awful “office space” cliche…. there is great synergy happening.
The goal of this article is to highlight some energy efficient products so we as consumers can make informed purchasing decisions and to discuss how companies are shifting their focus to target the green market. After reading this article you will know where to find energy conservation products for your home, where to look for the tax incentives associated with those products, learn a few different ways companies are going green and know how to help perpetuate the green movement with the power you have as a consumer.
So start off, below is a list of some common products that most people have in their homes. Heating/cooling systems, lighting, TV’s and washers/dryers. The question is, are the products in your home rated by Energy Star? Take a look. Do any of these brands seem familiar? (click the links to see a complete list of Energy Star rated brands for that product)
Energy Star Rated Residential Heating/Air Conditioning Systems
-Brands: C2, ELITE, Inverter, LG
Energy Star Rated Residential LED Lights
-Brands: AMERICAN LIGHTING, Essentia, Lightolier Xceed LED, EcoSmart
Energy Star Rated TV’s
-Brands: MAGNAVOX, LG, Panasonic, Sony
Energy Star Rated Clothing Washers/Dryers
-Brand: Kenmore, LG, Maytag, Whirlpool
Some of these products are more common than others. Most people shop for TV’s and washer/dryers. However shopping for heating/cooling systems or LED lights is less common. Hopefully that will change once we realize our inefficient lighting and our inefficient heating/cooling systems are costing us a fortune every month in energy bills. Not to mention wasting resources like water and electricity.
Although I only listed a few Energy Star rated energy conservation products for your home, there is a whole list of Energy Star categories such as appliances, building products, computers and electronics, heating and cooling systems, lighting and fans and last but not least, plumbing. There is a link at the bottom of this article where you can check out all the products along with the tax incentives for buying those products. That’s right, the government will pay you to be energy efficient.
As you can see, there are everyday products designed to save you energy and money. Why do these products exist? Companies see the benefit of creating products that are energy efficient. What are some of those reasons? To help the environment for starters, but also to help themselves become more successful. For instance, if you are looking at two products side by side, and they are equal in every aspect however one product has an Energy Star rating and the other does not, chances are the product with the Energy Star rating will get purchased the majority of the time. Also, if a company can market itself as “Green” then they have an advantage over a company who cannot. Why? Because people like you like being green. So, because there is more awareness about the green movement, companies want to position their products and their brands in front of that green market. They know they will be missing out on profit if they don’t. Not only are companies making products that are Energy Star rated, they are also promoting other philanthropic programs to make themselves more green too.
For instance, the LED manufacturing company, Cree LED Lighting Solutions, just partnered with Habitat for Humanity and donated $1.5 million worth of LED lights to all new homes built by the non profit group. This not only helps out a non profit, but it helps out the people who will be living in these subsidized homes by lowering their energy bill. And it reduces the carbon footprint of all these homes. AND it makes Cree look pretty darn good too, thus increasing their sales. So, everybody wins.
LG, whose name comes up frequently in the product list above, is committed to the green movement too. John Taylor, LG’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Communications mentions that “As a long-time Energy Star partner, LG Electronics considers Energy Star a terrific brand. We want our customers to conserve energy and we do a lot to make sure consumers know which products are Energy Star rated. We have been working closely with the EPA to help consumers understand what energy efficiency means in terms of energy savings, lowering utility bills and helping the planet.”
However, dedication to producing energy efficient products is just one way LG is helping to conserve the worlds energy resources. They are also partnering with a non profit called Greensburg Greentown. The goal is to help repair and rebuild Greensburg, Kansas, a community devastated by a tornado in 2007, and help rebuild it into a model community for sustainability. LG is also partnering with the Broadway Green Alliance a non profit who is dedicated to help reduce the carbon footprint of over 40 theatres nation wide. Once again, not only is LG helping reduce the amount of energy being used around the nation, but they are positioning themselves as a “green” company who cares about more than just the bottom line. John goes on to say “Partnering with non profits and helping them achieve their mission it is all part of consumer education. Anything we can do to help educate consumers about the importance of energy efficiency and sustainability is a positive thing.”
LG continues to pave the way with the production of energy efficient products. They recently received Energy Star’s newest distinction of “Most Efficient.”
These are just a few examples of companies who are leading the pack within the industry of energy conservation products and green branding. They are setting a great example for other companies to follow suite and not only help the world reduce its carbon footprint, but position themselves in front of green consumers while improving the image of the organization.
Other companies are seeing this shift and are getting more involved. For instance, there are now organizations that audit companies to see if they meet the green criteria for being a green business. Which is exactly what San Francisco has done with their SF Green Business Program (SFGBP), a government initiated program run through the Department of the Environment. A business must apply and complete a variety of environmental measures in order to get this accreditation. Once they do, They will be highlighted on the SF Green Business website and paired together with other SF Green Businesses. On this site, green consumers can browse through a list of green companies and shop for every day products that are green.
For instance, in order to position themselves in front of other green consumers, The Green Home Center , a San Francisco business that provides home improvement products that are green and conserve energy, applied and was approved by the SF Green Business Program. The Green Home Center is now 3rd party accredited as a green business and is listed in a green business directory, thus improving their visibility and integrity. This model is a great way to show off a company’s green.
Anna Frankel, Green Business Coordinator, comments: “The SFGBP helps businesses save money through cost savings on energy, water, and waste bills while conserving resources and protecting the environment. It increases businesses’ marketability, improves employee wellness, works as a platform to showcase businesses’ values, and marks them as an environmental leader. This established program connects San Francisco and its businesses to the larger green business community and sustainability movement in the Bay Area and California.”
However this is not the only way for businesses to get into the green spotlight.
Other local Bay Area companies, such as Elemental LED, are showing off their green by donating their energy conservation products to members of the community. Elemental has donated products to the Give the Kids the World foundation to help create a magical experience for children with life threatening illnesses, donated to the On the Green the Road project which promotes sustainability and energy conservation around the US, and has donated to the Wonderarium project which is a growing exhibit designed to educate people about sustainable agriculture. Elemental LED’s donations have an immediate effect that conserves global energy resources and subsidises the cost of these projects. Furthermore, the money these organizations save from energy conservation will get passed down to the people they are trying to help. Not to mention, this is also a great way to show off how Elemental’s products can be applied to help conserve energy. Elemental LED’s CEO, Max Darling, comments “We are all part of a global community and it is our responsibility to take care of one another. If Elemental LED has the means to donate products that will not only help a great program, but continue to save money for that program while helping the environment, then I am all for it!”
It is tough for new companies such as Elemental LED to get Energy Star rated due to all the red tape, however, they are on their way. And remember, just because a product is not listed, it does not mean it isn’t a great energy conservation product. So it is helpful to do some research before purchasing.
As you can see, companies are going green. The movement is here. It is here because consumers like you want to buy green products and companies want to go green in order to position themselves in front of you. It is a perpetuating cycle that is fueled by the desires of everyday Americans. But how do we keep this momentum going?
As long as we continue to vote for green products and services with our hard earned dollars, companies will continue to strive to be more green, and the movement will grow. And hopefully, our grand-kids will benefit from the movement we are creating right now.
I invite you to comment below and list the energy conservation products you use in your every day life. It would be great if we can get a large list of the products we all use so others can see what is available.
Below are links that will help you find Energy Star rated products in the Bay Area and a link informing you of the tax credits you will get for purchasing Energy Star rated products. Plus, I contacted different resellers that have Energy Star products in stock and I provide quotes from each organization that shows off their commitment to sustainability.
Click on this link to browse through all of the Energy Star energy conservation products available for your home.
Plus, because you are reducing the amount of energy your home is using, the US government offers you a tax credit if you purchase these energy efficient products. Check out this link to learn more about how the government gives you tax credits to conserve energy.
If you are looking to purchase any of the products mentioned above, you can find some of them at well known organizations listed below. These organizations are committed to sustainability and you will see quotes that reflect that. Remember, purchasing products from companies that promote sustainability is great way to promote sustainability :)
Excerpts from Sear’s Sustainability website
“In 2009, Sears Holdings voluntarily began participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project.”
“Our participation in the Responsible Appliance Disposal program distinguishes us as an industry leader in sustainable appliance disposal initiatives.”
“Our Energy Management team has collaborated to discover new ways to reduce energy consumption throughout company operations. Some of our innovative solutions include retrofitting facilities with energy efficient lighting, installing more efficient equipment, and establishing sustainable energy consumption practices.”
Energy Star Rated Air Conditioning Units at Sears
Excerpt from Home Depot’s website:
“Home Depot expanded its long-term commitment to the environment and sustainability with the introduction of Eco Options in the United States. With more than 3,500 products, Eco Options is a classification that allows customers to easily identify products that have less of an impact on the environment and empowers them to help make a difference in their own homes.”
Energy Star Rated LED Lights at Home Depot
Kelly Groehler, PR specialist at Best Buy pointed out a few excerpts from Best Buy’s 2011 sustainability report:
“Last year, Best Buy helped our U.S. customers purchase more than 23M ENERGY STAR-qualified products” When discussing how Best Buy promotes sustainability internally, the report states that “Developing our Exclusive Brands product lines with energy-efficient options is one way we contribute to a healthier environment. This past year, we continued to work on reducing the amount of plastic and other not-so-environmentally friendly materials from our Exclusive Brands packaging. We eliminated 886 tons of PVC (a type of plastic) and removed 745 tons of other plastic. We also used recycled materials, non-solvent coatings and organic inks when possible. The report goes on to say that “Best Buy and PG&E have been working together since 2009 to educate consumers and businesses about energy efficient products” and “At Best Buy, we have experts and resources to help you learn about sustainable solutions.”
Energy Star Rated TV’s at Best Buy
Lowe’s Public Relations Manager, Steve Salazar, discusses Lowe’s commitment to sustainability “As a home improvement industry leader, Lowe’s values being in a position to affect widespread change. We are committed to providing solutions that benefit the home we all share. Lowe’s continues to meet that obligation through the products we sell and the partnerships we’ve developed. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy honored Lowe’s with the ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award for the second consecutive year in 2011. Lowe’s is the only ENERGY STAR partner ever to receive the top honor inproduct retailing. The Sustained Excellence Award recognizes our leadership in promoting energy efficiency year after year. It is our ninth consecutive ENERGY STAR award. Driving all of our success is our passion for our customers, and we remain dedicated to providing solutions that benefit their homes, their bottom line and the environment. For more on Lowe’s commitment to environmental leadership, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility.
Energy Star Rated Washers at Lowes
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