Ezra Green has been involved with renewable energy companies for seven years and founded Clear Skies in 2003. Prior to Clear Skies, Green was a successful entrepreneur who founded TAL Design & Construction in 1990.
AMERICA’S 15 “GREENEST” STATES 2007-2008
7. New Jersey
8. Rhode Island
9. New York
Source: Forbes, October 2007
States were ranked in six equally weighted categories: carbon footprint, air quality, water quality, hazardous waste management, policy initiatives, and energy consumption.
BF: Besides being environmentally responsible, what are some reasons or incentives for businesses to go green?
GREEN: Money is a huge factor. If someone is in business, you need to assume they are a capitalist of some sort. Solar energy, for example, saves large sums of money on monthly utility bills as time goes on, and it also adds to the value of the real estate. Furthermore, businesses can advertise that they are using solar energy, which is gaining respect and growing by leaps and bounds in the business arena. As such, companies receive recognition as being good corporate citizens and stewards of the environment.
BF: How can businesses reduce their upfront costs when going green or, more specifically, installing solar energy systems?
GREEN: Several forms of financing are available for businesses to install solar energy systems, making it so businesses incur little, if any, upfront costs for installing the system. These financing options are structured in accordance with businesses’ individual needs. If a business is very profitable, we recommend self-financing. If they have little or no profit, we suggest leasing, and in a few years they will start increasing their savings, which is as good as cash. The Power Purchase Agreement exists for non-profits who have a system installed at no cost and then purchase the electricity produced from the system at a predetermined discounted rate. The Clear Skies Group’s experts can help clients determine which form of financing will best suit their needs.
BF: What advice would you give to a business that wants to go green, but doesn’t know where to start?
GREEN: I suggest starting with solar and have a utility-provided efficiency person to inspect the premises for money-losing issues, such as poor insulation or window and door leaks. Since electricity is the most expensive form of energy that we use and cannot do without, why not make it yourself? With generous rebates available and high costs for traditional energy sources, there is no reason not to go solar.
Hawaii’s Clean-Up Act
By Bill Trüb
In January, Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) established the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a long-term partnership to make the Aloha State a “world model” for clean energy economies.
Hawaii has set a goal of producing 70% of its energy needs through green methods—such as solar, water, wind, and geothermal power— by the year 2030. This shift would reduce the island state’s oil consumption by an estimated 70% and make it an exemplar of energy independence.
With assistance from experts in clean energy technology development and partnerships in both the public and private sectors, Hawaii and the DOE plan to:
• Design cost-effective ways to exclusively use renewable energy on smaller islands;
• Design systems to improve the stability of electric grids operating with variable generating sources, such as wind power plants on the islands of Hawaii and Maui;
• Minimize energy use while maximizing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies at new military housing developments;
• Expand Hawaii’s capability to use locally grown crops and byproducts for producing fuel and electricity; and
• Assist in the development of a comprehensive energy regulatory and policy framework for promoting clean energy technology use.