Well, he may have a lot more to do with saving the world than Superman, surprisingly and arguably. “It’s not that easy…being green. Having to spend each day as the color of the leaves…” I know this is very cheesy, but I always giggle thinking of Kermit saying this phrase so morosely. Why couldn’t he be a color that stands out more? Poor Kermey. However, that famous frog may have something going with his first phrase: it’s NOT easy being green, or at least going green in business practices and at home. But, why? Especially, when the benefits are so awesome?!
“It’s not easy…being green. Having to spend each day as the color of the leaves…”
Well, first, foremost, and most simply: change is hard! Making any kind of change in your routine, behavior, habits, schedule, or life in general is going to take practice. And I’m pretty sure everyone’s shooting average on first tries is not so hot, (and beginner’s luck doesn’t count). Besides, it’s not the first attempt or “that one time” something was changed that we’re concerned with when it comes to making ourselves, our companies, our lives better. It’s the continuous, persistent, and tenacious demonstration of performing our new behavior. So without going into a summary of Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath, why is developing the habit of becoming green so important for not only regular businesses and residential areas, but especially for manufacturers?
Glad you asked. The amount of energy that manufacturers use to generate products though varies across industries is, none the less, ENORMOUS! The industrial sector took up just over half of the world’s total energy consumption in 2011, (chart below, 1). And the energy demand is only increasing, (graph below, 2). But, I’m not saying anything new from what the numerous documentaries, organizations, and scientific data have already said for decades. What I want to point out is how much a difference can be made from the industrial sector from just a few small changes in behavior.
Manufacturers have multiple resources and opportunities to help save on energy consumption (and cost!!) to reduce their impact on the indirect negative by-products from wasting energy. There was a video I saw from the founder of 5-Hour Energy drinks that threw me for a loop because it was a similar concept I had conceived of back in my undergrad, but (for whatever reason) didn’t think it would catch on; the founder, Manoj Bhargava, had designed a system to power a household for 24 hours from just riding a stationary bike for one hour. Talk about human hamster, right? And I was blown away because I thought of a similar concept with treadmills at Georgia Tech’s recreation center to power the building, but I was too busy studying, playing soccer, working part-time, conducting experiments, and socializing to ever think of doing something useful with my engineering degree AT THE TIME I was earning it. Jokes and excuses aside, I’m so thrilled with Bhargava’s design that I want to find the pre-order list NOW for my home.
But, can’t this same system also be used for businesses and manufacturers? Especially because more and more companies are also getting on board with providing better health care initiatives for their employees to reduce their health care costs? So, wouldn’t there be a lot more usage and overall benefits a company could receive from the gym that was installed for the employee’s use? I know I’ve been asking a lot of questions especially when I think the answer to all of these is a resounding, “YES!” Not only would the employees and the company be receiving an assortment of additional benefits, the amount of energy produced from the newly-modified GREEN gym could be easily converted into a competition by seeing and “giving props” to the department and/or shift with the most energy saved and pounds lost from using the gym. Yes?
No matter how it’s done, encouraging this habit of being green and relentlessly practicing or improving upon it will end up being better not only for your company, your employees, but your home: Earth.
Let me know about some green energy initiatives that are combined with employee benefits for health, pay, cost savings, or some combination of the three.
Photo credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3218820/How-Kermit-starts-dating-new-Muppet-girlfriend-Denise-ending-40-year-romance-Miss-Piggy.html