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Panelists Steve Roberson, Scott Shurett, William Carroll and Frank Thomas spoke on green business practices at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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William Carroll with Armstrong Relocation speaks at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Frank Thomas with Brookwood Baptist Health Shelby speaks at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Steve Roberson with Alagasco speaks at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Scott Shurett with Alabama Power speaks at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Ingrid Wildermuth and Holly Kuck at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Bryan Sheffield and Wendy McDaniel at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Kevin Wood at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Pelham Police Chief Larry Palmer and Robin Wilkinson with Pelham Fire Department at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Debra Stamps at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
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Emily Jenson, Debbie Parrott and Vicki Everett at the March 29 Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
For businesses hoping to take an example from plants in spring and go green, a panel of speakers at the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce’s March luncheon had a few tips.
The chamber’s “Guide to becoming green” luncheon was hosted by the existing business and industry work group, and members of the panel discussed why businesses choose to become green, the expenses involved in becoming green and the return on investment in becoming green.
There are several ways to become green and reasons to do so, the panelists agreed, but most of those steps are going to come at a cost. William Carroll with Armstrong Relocation said going green is, in part, motivated by doing the right thing. But that does not mean the business does not see a benefit.
“You’ve also heard that there’s cost advantages to it as well,” Carroll said.
By replacing halogen lights with LED bulbs, Carroll said they have become more energy efficient — meaning they save money — as well as safer. In a warehouse where piles of cardboard boxes and paper stay, halogen lights pose a risk of becoming too hot and bursting, which can be a fire hazard.
“Naturally, we changed to LED lights. It’s just an option, something to think about for your business,” he said.
Changing out light bulbs even got the support of Scott Shurett from Alabama Power.
“There’s a cost associated with that. Be careful you don’t buy the cheapest thing elsewhere … but if you replace it, your energy savings will be fantastic,” Shurett said. “We encourage you to do that. We’ll use your energy, and sell it to somebody who didn’t do that.”
Shurett also encouraged business owners to make sure they are not wasting energy in other places. One way to do this is getting HVAC units tested, to make sure the air businesses are paying too cool isn’t just going in the attic or right outside.
“Alabama Power appreciates when you cool outside because you have a high bill, but it’s not the best source of energy,” Shurett said. “So we’d rather you do it this way, where you fix it and don’t have problems.”
There also several options for businesses to consider as far as recycling. If a business uses lots of cardboard and paper, that is something that can and should be recycled. But businesses should also keep in mind other items that can be recycled, such as electronics, said Frank Thomas with Brookwood Baptist Health Shelby. Brookwood Baptist Health partners with an EPA-certified company out of Atlanta to recycle some of it’s electronics “so we know it’s not getting into our landfills,” Thomas said.
Travel is another way businesses could save money. While Brookwood Baptist Health has seven locations, Thomas said they will have video conferences to communicate between campuses. This reduces their fuel consumption, he said, while saving some money.
Other businesses have turned to fleets fueled by natural gas, said Steve Roberson with Alagasco. The cost of compressed natural gas (CNS) is lower than other fuels on the national level, Roberson said, although some conventional fossil fuels, including diesel, have dropped in price in recent years.
CNS also has lower emissions, Roberson said, and also produce less noise and odor compared with other fuels.
“Compressed natural gas has been growing exponentially, almost, since 2009 in fleets in Alabama,” Roberson said.
The Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce started its Green Business Program, which recognizes Shelby County businesses that are engaged in green business practices, in 2013. To date, it has certified 13 businesses as a “Certified Chamber Green Business.”