Sustainable Stories: Native

Native Solar

EDITOR’S NOTE: We want to learn how other companies approach sustainability, so we’ve decided to publish a series of posts featuring innovative companies and people who are doing their part to support our planet. See below to read a guest blog from Amy Olsen at Native, a sustainable home builder and solar installer serving Central Texas. Native also is frequent installer for the Green Mountain EnergyTM Sun ClubTM in Texas.

What’s your organization’s mission?
We are green builders, leading the way to a sustainable future.

Please explain your company’s sustainability efforts and goals.
Native is an innovative green building company in the Central Texas region. We specialize in net zero construction and solar installations. Net zero means the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on site. Native is unique because we take a comprehensive approach when looking at a building and can address many aspects of making a home or business energy efficient. Our in-house photovoltaic (solar) services install systems on residences and businesses all around Texas.

Why is sustainability important to your organization, and how do your employees and/or students participate?
Sustainability is at the core of our business plan. Native has partnered with the City of Austin to become a gold level Green Business leader. Besides the everyday work we do offsetting energy consumption, we also change our business processes to further promote sustainability. Recently, we started using biofuel to power our fleet of work trucks.

Most of our employees found Native because they believe in the core principals of reducing energy use through innovative construction and installing solar. We also give our employees opportunities to further their knowledge of sustainable living with educational newsletters, on-site recycling, access to local organic community supported agriculture and stipends to offset the costs of purchasing an energy efficient car. We don’t just practice sustainability, we live it!

What are the 5 easiest things homeowners can do to improve the energy efficiency of their residence?

  1. The absolute easiest thing a homeowner can do to conserve energy is to become aware of your energy usage. Most utilities have the capability to view your usage throughout the month, day and even hour. Start learning how your habits and behaviors affect energy usage.
  2. Most homes use the most energy for heating and cooling. In the hot Texas summer you can set your AC to 78-80 when home and 80-82 when away.
  3. The next largest user of energy in the home is the water heater. You can either put yours on a timer to heat water when you need it or just lower the thermostat setting to 120 degrees.
  4. Heating elements are huge users of energy, dryers, toasters, ovens etc. Hang your clothes on a drying rack and see how much energy you can save by not using the dryer.
  5. Turn something off if you are not using it, whether it is a TV, light or computer, it is using energy even when you are not using it. Turn it off, save energy, save money!

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What advice would you give other companies who are trying to get their sustainability initiatives off the ground?
Be honest. Start small. Sustainability boils down to making small choices that add up to a lot. Start small and build up to the larger choices and initiatives. .

Where can people learn more about Native and about sustainable home building?
Go to our website, www.buildnative.com, and look around. Subscribe to our newsletter and call us at 855-BLD-NATIVE if you have any questions. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+.

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To read about more businesses and people focused on sustainability, visit our “Sustainability Stories” archive by clicking here.