At HARDI's executive session last year, my publisher, John Ehlen, asked the panel whether the green issue or movement had “legs.” He was really asking whether this was a long-term commitment in this environmentally sensitive direction that would turn into an institutionalized approach, or if was it a fad. All of the participants agreed with the former.
That was more than six months ago, a lifetime in the journalism world. I wanted to see whether the interest in green has abated. In fact, it's been a forest fire of interest that seems unquenchable.
I subscribe to a private and rather expensive service that allows me to peek into the story ideas of other journalists. The only green I recall over a year ago was possibly a St. Patrick's Day story. Since the latter part of 2007, there has been an explosion of interest in journalism from virtually every spectrum, not just HVACR, the mechanical trades or energy-related segments of our industry. Now, interest in green-related stories seems to top the theme list.
Through this service, I put the word out to PR people to see what companies were doing to go green, both inside and outside the HVACR industry. Here's just a sampling.
- MoreVisibility, a search engine marketing and optimization company, says you can go green even if you're an Internet-based company. They are a “greenified” company which, according to their press release, with guidance from the Green Business Alliance, “has successfully implemented specific practices that will benefit the environment and its employees.” (www.MoreVisibility.com)
- Mathew Linden, the owner of Conscious Build in San Luis Obispo, CA, says he was a green builder before the recent tidal wave. He's building his own green house and intends to use it as an educational tool. Practices include passive solar principles and technology. Insulation is made from recycled denim material. Cabinet materials are formaldehyde-free wheat-board. His company's motto: “Inspiring the future of Conscious Living; building luxury homes and lifestyles that contribute to our planet.” (www.resourcemedia.tv)
“The big point to remember is that customers interested in green products tend to be less price-sensitive and thus provide companies with more flexibility in marketing to the higher end,” according to ethical marketing expert Shel Horowitz. As an example, think of the cost differential between a well-insulated home with solar features vs. a conventional home in the same market — or how much more it costs to buy a Prius than a Matrix.
“Green, as you say, is here to stay, as people tune in around global warming and their own fuel costs. It will soon enough become not: Are you green?, but: How green is your company? You'll have to be there in order to be a player.
- “I address some of the factors and benefits of a green marketing approach in my award-winning sixth book, Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First.” (www.principledprofit.com)
- HARDI's own David H. Heckler, vice president of Pittsburgh, PA-based Comfort Supply Inc., just celebrated the grand opening of the Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) Living Lab in April. This state-of-the-art lab, the first in North America that a private company operates, will study and promote VRF technology. The opening ceremony included remarks from Stephen R. Lee, a LEED®-accredited professional and professor of architecture who noted the importance of high-efficiency operations for modern buildings. (www.ComfortSupplyPGH.com)
- The word “green” has entered the lexicon of Master-Bilt, a manufacturer of refrigeration and freezing equipment for the foodservice industry. In a press release touting their equipment and technology that they intend to display at a trade show, company Vice President Bill Huffman said: “Master-Bilt recognizes the growing trend and demand for ‘green’ equipment solutions. We are always looking for ways to provide products that will help our customers reap the environmental and economical benefits of energy-efficient equipment.” Sounds sensible to us. (www.master-bilt.com)
- Who's creating the pressure for going green? According to TAC Global Business Development Manager Brandi McManus, the biggest call for green is coming from customers, of course — the people with buying power. For an interesting chart depicting who's creating the pressure, visit www.cfoconferences.com/The Role of Finance in Environmental Sustainability Efforts.htm.
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