Saturday, September 18, 2010

Conservation Marketing

Save big! (by not spending money)

Conservation needs better marketing because it doesn't show up on the balance sheet. There's no easy way to count 'money you didn't spend' or 'energy you didn't waste', but it all goes straight to the bottom line.

You did want more money on the bottom line, right? Whether you run a small business, a big corporation, or just a household, conserving your resources is a way of hanging on to more of your money.

Let's be clear. "Save 50% on blue widgets" doesn't actually save you anything, it encourages you to spend more. If you needed them anyway and you buy them on sale you spend less, but that's not savings until you put the money you would have spent but didn't into the bank. Save 100% by not buying it.

For the cost of several tanks of gas you could own a bicycle that could keep you from burning the gasoline in the first place. That sort of savings can endure if you keep riding the bike.

If you gave up the vehicle completely, you could also eliminate the fixed costs like insurance, registration and car payments that don't care whether you drive the car or not. Maybe it would be cheaper to rent a car when you need it, rather than owning it outright. That's savings, but you can't really add it up because it's just money you didn't spend.

Another potential big win for conservation has to do with the potential interconnections that might not be obvious at first.

Take the example of a swimming pool and a skating rink. You need to heat the pool and cool the rink. If these buildings were separate you would have to heat and cool them separately.

By designing them together, you can take the heat you sucked out of the skating rink and use that to heat the pool, saving lots of energy. If you can pair up with someone who can use your energy or your waste products it will be good for both of you.

This takes thinking ahead, but by thinking ahead you can save money and energy for the life of the project.

If you didn't think ahead and want to achieve the savings then you're looking at retrofitting, and that means spending money to change something that's already working. That makes it much tougher to justify economically. Better to do it right the first time.

Want to really save money? Pay off your debt. Put money into savings. You won't see that advertised though, because nobody makes money when you hang on to your cash.

Having said that, nobody is going to unplug from the economy either, so take this to heart: When you spend money, spend it at local businesses. The value to your community of a thriving local economy far outweighs the buck or two you might save elsewhere.

You might also like:

Your city needs you

A future with a future

How interest on debt threatens the environment

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