News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Report: California Businesses Saving Money, the Planet

Century Plaza Towers in distance, just one of several California businesses making use of renewables and conservation | Photo: InSapphoWeTrust/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Much of the reason we're in the bind we're in with regard to climate change is that people in industrial societies have gotten used to being able to be energy spendthrifts. As it turns out, though, it can actually be much cheaper not to waste energy, meaning that lessening your carbon footprint can actually save you money.

That's the upshot of a report released today by the group Environment California, entitled Greening the Bottom Line 2012; California Companies Save Money by Reducing Global Warming Pollution.

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Written by Bernadette Del Chiaro and Nicholas Matthews, the report profiles ten California businesses -- "businesses" here being defined to include military bases, nonprofits, and community colleges -- that have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by an aggregate of 280 million pounds of CO2 equivalent each year, saving $4 million in the process. By incorporating a number of energy efficiency measures and installing renewable energy generation capacity, the businesses in the report have trimmed their carbon footprint while cutting long-term costs.

"Solving global warming and strengthening our economy are two sides of the same coin," Michelle Kinman, Clean Energy Advocate at Environment California Research & Policy Center, said in an Environment California press release. "The experience of California companies flies in the face of claims that California's leadership on solving global warming is bad for business."

A formal ceremony launching the report was held today at Century Plaza Towers in west Los Angeles, one of the businesses profiled in the report. According to the report,

The Century Plaza Towers became a LEED Gold rated building in 2011, a rare standard among high-rise office buildings. To achieve this distinction, building ownership invested in a variety of state-of-the-art energy efficiency improvements, hightech transportation solutions, and other sustainability initiatives including a highly efficient heating and cooling system, lighting improvements, and special window coating to help keep interior areas of the building cool. Its most significant measure, however, is a ParkHelp System in its parking garage that guides drivers to vacant parking spaces, reducing traffic congestion and achieving significant fuel savings.

The nearby Constellation Place tower, a neighbor of Century Plaza Towers in the Century City area, was cited in the report for installing a 1-megawatt rooftop solar installation on its roof.

Also noted in the report: Oxnard onion grower Gills Onions, which generates 60 percent of its electrical power needs from crop waste such as onion peels; The Marine Corps Air Station Miramar - San Diego, which is working to become completely energy self-sufficient; and Clif Bar in Emeryville near Oakland, which has installed more than 500 kilowatts of rooftop solar and has cut down on its carbon footprint by using recycled shipping materials.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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