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 Lucy Stolzenburg, Executive Director of the Texas Solar Energy Society (TXSES), whose tagline is: “The Solution Comes Up Every Morning.”
What’s your organization’s mission?
To educate citizens on the value of solar energy for their homes and in their communities, empower them to make informed decisions, and encourage them to connect with professional Texas solar businesses.
Please explain your company’s sustainability efforts and goals.
Our non-profit has a goal to educate Texans on the importance of clean, renewable and water-wise solar energy, and thus increase the prevalence of solar in communities across the state. We do this through solar tours, educational events, neighborhood meetings, our website, social media and our newsletters.
For the younger set, we have great success with our Solar Car Kits for Kids, providing solar education at schools and various solar events. We have four chapters in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and North Texas, that work in their local communities to encourage the adoption of solar energy. We collaborate with like-minded Texas and national non-profits who promote the adoption of solar energy, as well as utilities who see the value of solar energy for their customers.
Why is sustainability important to your organization?
Ours is a company of one, and sustainability is the goal. It’s my job and also my desire to be cautious in the use of all resources. The climate is about to get very uncomfortable for many people, and the reliance on fossil fuels for power is the biggest contributor. I drive a Prius; I have a 3,200-gallon rainwater collection system for gardening; I cook only a little in the summer; I turn off the lights; I raised a very conservation-minded son (he puts me to shame); and I just installed a vented metal roof on my house. I’ll be going out of this world with a fairly clean conscience. Yes, there is no solar (I would not benefit from the Federal tax credit and there are no rebates-yet- in my utility), but an energy-efficient home is the crucial first step before solar installation. The energy you don’t use is energy you don’t need to purchase or produce.
What advice would you give other companies who are trying to get their sustainability initiatives off the ground?
Set up sustainability competitions. I’ve read studies that state rewards don’t work, but competition to use the least energy does. Go figure.
Are you a business?
To read about more businesses and people focused on sustainability, visit our “Sustainability Stories” archive by clicking here.
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