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Green is Good

Dave Burns, president of Ray Sands Glass in Rochester, N.Y., had a local power company audit his business to determine ways he could save energy.

At least three of the four speakers on a "Green is Good" panel in Tucson earlier this week had something in common—they're all conservatives who insist they're not "tree-huggers." Mike Boyle, president of GlasWeld Systems in Bend, Ore., Dave Burns, president of Ray Sands Glass in Rochester, N.Y., and Doug Linderer, president of Go-Glass Corp. in Salisbury, Md., all preceded their discussion of how their companies have gone green with similar statements about how they never expected to become environmentalists.

But, they all have, in some form or another-and they all agreed that green is good.

Boyle provided an overview of how his company has gone green, even by changing their light bulbs into green-friendly ones, and advised how businesses can utilize green ideologies to their benefit by marketing to the "conscious consumer." Boyle, who is a member of the National Windshield Repair Association's Board of Directors, provided a similar presentation at its annual conference in November 2007. (CLICK HERE for related story.)

"Every decision we make is based on the question, 'is it environmentally sustainable?'" Boyle said.

He also made note of all the major companies that have gone green, including several car manufacturers, such as Volvo and Chevrolet.

Burns actually called a local power authority to audit his company and advise how the company could save energy. For example, they discovered one of his three furnaces was cracked-fixing this lowered his monthly gas bill by $300. In addition, he tinted the windows in his office with film that prevents electronic signals, such as wireless network singals, from being transmitted through them.

"Let's see-I lowered my fuel costs and I protected my business," Burns said. "That's a win-win situation."

Linderer said he started to go green when he read the book "Contract with the Earth," and soon realized that if he didn't start to make his company green, eventually it could be mandated by the government.

"If you don't construct an environmental energy platform, someone else will do it for you. Do you want the government to do that for you?" Linderer asked.

But, he added, going green can happen in a variety of ways.

"There are as many ways to go green as there are to play golf," Linderer said.

His company's motto has been to follow the three R's: reduce, re-use and recycle. The company prints on the front and back of its paper, recycles aluminum cans and has taken steps to decrease the fuel it uses.

"The company that collects our cans weighs them and writes you a check-that's my kind of green," Linderer said.

Pat Farrell, vice president of corporate responsibility and communications for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, also participated in the panel, and advised how his national rental car company has taken steps to become environmentally friendly.

"Our goal is to ensure that our passenger vehicles and the fuel they use are acceptable to society," he said.

The company also has partnered with the National Arbor Day Foundation, and has developed a website,

Farrell also noted that with environmental issues becoming of more importance to society, customers look for this as well.

"This is not just about the sustainability of our planet-it's also about the sustainability of our business," he added.

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