Lessons from Dear Old Dad

It turns out my father was the first “environmentalist” I ever met. Of course I didn’t think in those terms at the time. As a kid I, generally thought of this particular quality as cheap, trending toward miserly. My personal philosophy about earth friendly behaviors began with dad’s words echoing through my head…“We don’t waste food in this house!”, “Close the door…I’m not paying to cool the outside!”, “Put a sweatshirt on if you’re cold!”, and my favorite “Shut the lights off when you leave the room!”. Now, some thirty years later I realize that his simple ideas about conservation laid the groundwork for what I love best about my career today.

Generally, when we think of Green Technology and Sustainable Energy Practice our minds drift to solar panels and wind turbines, but while clean and renewable energy sources are exciting, worthwhile goals, the heart of environmentalism is in basic grass roots conservation. The good news is that this approach is not only simple, but it also is makes good financial sense. The U.S. Department of energy estimates that nearly 35% of electricity used in commercial buildings is for lighting. In many cases newer, more efficient lighting system can bring better light into a space while cutting the energy demand between 40-60% existing systems. When we factor in the effect of lighting controls such as occupancy sensors or timers to eliminate waste while spaces aren’t in use, those demands can become dramatically smaller resulting in very real savings and increased value of capital property.

Now through the “Energizing Indiana” program as well as other utility and governmentally driven programs, Indiana is helping lead the way to a common sense approach to energy efficiency and responsibility. Through more than 45 direct rebate programs statewide, these agencies are offering opportunities to save thousands of dollars on the installations of new efficient lighting, and heating and cooling systems and thereby creating amazing returns on your investment.

And to think, Dad’s wise advice to “…turn the lights off…” not only set the foundation for responsible use of our resources, but may have just added real value to the bottom line.