This past Friday March 2nd 2012 TNCC put together a Green Business Roundtable all about the recent completion of the Main Street Efficiency Initiative in which 12 businesses and non-profits participated in full energy audits or lighting audits in which have according to estimates saved 12 businesses in both San Miguel and Ouray counties 47,000 kilowatts of electricity, 1,120 therms of natural gas, and $27,000 in utility bill savings.
During Friday's GBR local businesses and non-profits like BootDoctors, Picaya, and Christ Presbyterian Church spoke about the actions they have taken through the MSEI program along with actions that go beyond the scope of the program in order to become more energy efficient.
Penelope Gleason and Becky Reiman spoke on behalf of BootDoctors. Through a full audit, they implemented energy saving techniques such as using a programmable thermostat, installing more energy efficient lighting, and sourcing their store merchandise from the most local sources, and from companies that don't use excessive packaging and generally are conscientious about their business practices. Also, Becky explained how used a form of crowd sourcing with their employees in order to determine what the most affective program to implement would be. The employees came to a consensus on implementing a recycling program, which is exactly what they did. Beyond the recycling program in the stores, BootDoctors is working on developing a way to recycle old skis, boots, and other equipment into building materials in the region.
Lisa Horlick, owner of Picaya on Main Street spoke about the challenges of making an older building more energy efficient, especially because she is renting the space and does not own it. The take away message is that there are ways to engage your employees to encourage greater efficacy like encouraging them to wear jackets inside, recycling everything, and not letting the toilets run for weeks at a time. Picaya also underwent a full energy audit and made changes like replacing all of the fluorescent lighting in the store with LED tubes, and installing a programmable thermostat.
Pat Bellai of Christ Presbyterian Church was the final speaker of the event, and emphasized the actions he has led in both the Church as well as the adjacent housing unit. Changes made include initiating a recycling program, installing a programmable thermostat, as well as long-term plans like saving money in order to replace large single pane windows in the front of the church and installing solar panels to power the church. Pat emphasized the importance of connecting people with nature as a way of encouraging them to be more efficient.
A BIG thank you to our businesses that presented their successes, and to all of the businesses that participated in the program!