Moving the Green Needle as Private Citizens

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Wayne Alldredge
Energy and Sustainability Services

Let’s face it, money talks. Most people look for the ‘Lowest’ price for everything, rather than the ‘Best’ price. But what is ‘Best’? It is my opinion, that Best is when the value received is the greatest. For those of us who live green and breathe sustainability, that means buying things that benefit not just ourselves, but our environment as well. Finding the most sustainable companies to support with our hard-earned money is a noble goal. By casting our financial votes, we show the marketplace that the only way to earn our trust and our money is for businesses to increase their sustainability from activities like buying Green Power.

What is Green Power? Well, it’s a segment of Renewable Energy (as opposed to Conventional Power) and includes solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources (large hydroelectric and nuclear doesn’t count due to their secondary environmental impacts). Green power is available either though buying it directly, self-generating the power or through buying select Renewable Energy Certificates to offset consumption from locations where the first two options don’t exist.

Let’s say sustainability means something to you and you need clothes; try shopping at Kohl’s. They buy the equivalent of 105% of their 1.5 billion Kilowatt hour consumption in qualified Green Power. Now, 105% may sound odd, but we could consider the extra 5% as Kohl’s way of “giving back” to Mother Earth. Here are some other notable companies:

  • Need office supplies? Staples buys the equivalent of 106% of their power.
  • Like the outdoors? Outdoor retailer REI buys the equivalent of 100%.
  • Wear Make-Up? Estee Lauder Companies buys the equivalent of a staggering 140%.
  • Need a computer? How about buying an Acer laptop with Intel chips inside? Both companies buy the equivalent of 100% and in the case of Intel, that’s over 3 billion Kilowatt hours. (By the way, this post was written on exactly that.)

When ‘less sustainable’ companies see their more sustainable competitors gaining business, they are forced to become more ecologically conscious corporate citizens. Greater demand for Green Power will create domestic job growth building and installing the required infrastructure as well as providing us with a cleaner environment for generations to come. I can’t think of a greater value than that. Let’s start putting our money where our heart is.

For a full list of Green Power Partner Companies, visit .


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