That is the message for the next three weeks, and there are some simple reason why everyone should:
- We have to in order to survive. Seriously, our world is in trouble and we need to fix it before it's too late.
- Going green shows other people that you are smart. You're trying your best to fix it and encouraging others to fix it as well.
There are two ways to make profit: Charge more, or spend less. Everyone in America has heard of Wal-Mart, the world's largest public corporation by revenue. How is it that they are so successful? Part of it is that they crunch down their spending, and then reduce their prices to below all their competition while still making profit. They are more efficient than the competition. Nudist resorts can do the same, and can probably undercut traditional textile places in the process if they act soon. If it's cheaper to stay at a nudist resort instead of a motel, I bet more people would try it. We don't have many hostels in the US, so there is certainly potential.
Wal-Mart's goal is to cut spending to a bare minimum, and they have realized that going green is a way to do it. According to their initiatives: "In October 2005, Wal-Mart announced it would implement several environmental measures to increase energy efficiency." Their new stores include plenty of natural lighting, bio-fuel capable boilers, water-cooled refrigerators, xeriscape gardens, wind turbines, solar arrays, and they have acted to reduce packaging and reduce transportation costs. Coca Cola and UPS are deploying fuel-efficient vehicles. Culvers recycles their waste vegetable oil into fuel. Many new buildings are going for LEED certification. The world is going green, and making profit from it, so we need to get with the trend.
Things are rapidly changing in green technology, which makes investment difficult to justify. Why pay $1,000 for something when it'll probably be $500 next year? Another way to look at it is that it's estimated to save you $10,000 over the life of using it, so your ahead either $9,000 or $9,500. If you wait a year before buying it, and keep waiting year after year to maximize the profit, you'll end up without it and without any of the rewards. To get the reward, the loop needs to be broken, and you need to commit to buying the item even though it'll be cheaper (or better) next year.
Technology exists for a wide variety of uses and climates. To evaluate if something is a worthwhile investment, you need to figure out the cost of going without it and the cost of purchasing it and using it. This is difficult, because it relies on a lot of assumptions and estimates. Going without it should produce a cost/time graph with a straight line that rises over time. For example, a light bulb that costs $1 to buy (or $0 if you already have it) plus $1 every month will cost $13 after a year. The alternative is a compact fluorescent, which costs $10 to buy, plus $0.25 per month. The CF is a bigger investment, but the cost line rises much slower over time. After 1 year, both options end up costing $13. This is the point where the CF investment has "paid for itself". The CF will be the cheaper option every month beyond that. After 10 years, you'd save a total of $81 by replacing that one bulb with a CF.
If the light bulb in the above example is hardly ever used, a CF in it's place may take 100 years to be cheaper over-all. If this is the case, buy a bulb. Neither option would last 100 years anyway.
How do you calculate the number of years it'll take to have a green technology "pay for itself"? This is based on the intersection of two lines. Assume that the green technology is more expensive initially, and that it is cheaper per month. Let GI = green investment cost, NI = normal investment cost, GM = green monthly cost, NM = normal monthly cost. Find the length of time (in months) it'll take with: (GI - NI) / (NM - GM)
In the next three parts, I'll focus on water, electric, and heat/AC. The goal of my resort is to come as close as possible to eliminating those utility bills!