Chamber Members Conserve Energy to “Go Green”

Posted by Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Under the leadership of HarneTech LLC, a company that helps communities lower energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint , Mount Prospect businesses have followed the nationwide trend to “go green.”

Katie Dolan Dix, owner of Capannari Ice Cream, along with Harne Tech LLC, crafted a two-year plan for her business to conserve energy by switching from plastic to paper products and changing to eco-friendly lighting .

“We’re still in the process of doing a lot more, but we’re starting to chip away at our foot print,” Dix says. The store’s next st ep will be to heat water with solar power .

Other Mount Prospect Chamber members, such as Home Depot and Walmart, have embraced eco-friendly techniques. Home Depot’s new “no old-growth sales” policy ensures the company will not use old-growth rainforests, and Walmart is launching a plan to power each store with 100 percent renewable energy sources.

Mike Wilder, Vice President Sales & Marketing of HarneTech, discusses his advice for businesses with Mount Prospect Chamber intern Kristin Ellertson.


Q: How does “going green” help businesses save money?

A: B usiness es will not only have a positive impact on the environment , but also a real impact in energy consumption , thereby reducing their cost to operate. It’s good for the environment if we conserve energy or invest in more renewable technology . We ’ re seeing an owner-tenant relationship where building owners have a vested interest in doing whatever they can to save operating costs.


Q: What role does HarneTech have in creating eco-friendly plans for businesses?

A: If businesses see opportunities for cost savings, then it’s worth investing the time – and in some cases, money – to better understand where they exist. Our consulting team sits down with business owners to create a “ green ” plan of what they want to accomplish. We help prioritize their strategies and create a longer-term vision. I f their goal is to be self- sufficient and powered on their own , then investing in energy like solar power is a viable option.


Q: How do businesses cut back on energy on by themselves?

A: If it’ s an office space , they could have controlled task lighting as oppos ed to larger overhead lighting. If it’s an assembly plant, there are ways to do so in the process line . It depends on the strategy and goals of the business ’ electrical consumption and recycling plan. We encourage employees to be more friendly toward the environment with this approach.


Q: How can the S mart Energy Design Assistance Center help businesses determine if a “green” plan is right for them?

A: SEDAC is a no- cost program and low threshold to star t understanding what you can do with your business. If you’re a small business and own a facility, having an energy audit done is the best investment you can make. Y ou can get a n understanding of what you can do , and it will yield from the operating cost perspective. After this, businesses should e ngage companies like HarneTech to formal ize these strategies for a great er impact.


Q: How does SEDAC help businesses begin the process?

A:  SEDAC is supported by the State of Illinois and ComEd and offers businesses a free energy audit to understand their facility, and we are an approved auditor . That’s a pretty easy first s tep to make . They may suggest changing lights, equipment or procedures. I f businesses fill out a two- page application and mention HarneTech in the referral piece , SEDAC will assign the business to us for an audit.


Q: What do you see for the future of “going green”?

A: With the Obama administra tion’s commitment to energy conservation, more rebates and t ax incentives will be available for business to invest in the facilities . The federal government is t rying to push state grants for this . If there’s anything to emphasize , it ’ s that these opportunities exist.


Q: How may HarneTech help businesses that pass the SEDAC audit?

A: HarneTech can help formalize strategies and longer-term planning, and subsequently look for funding and available incentive s. If the commitment is there an d the facility is right , w e can help design a system to meet their goals .

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Mount Prospect Chamber of Commerce

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