One of the benefits to being a green energy company is spending a lot of time in the Garden! Next week, Microgrid will be attending the Green Products & Services Expo hosted by the Missouri Botanical Garden at their Commerce Bank Education Center – where we recently installed a 25-kilowatt solar PV array. With more than 25 vendors exhibiting products and services related to Renewable Energy, Recycling, Energy efficiency, Green Transportation, Lighting, Printing Supplies and Office Products, Information Technology, Cleaning Products, Financial Services, Solar Shades, Education Programs, and Green Transportation…. it is sure to be a memorable day!
The Missouri Botanical Garden – a National Historic Landmark – has an amazing presence in St. Louis’ Green Community. (We couldn’t be prouder to work with this cultural treasure.) It was the Garden’s sustainability experts who helped longtime partner RCGA (the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association) launch the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, in which Microgrid is now a proud participant! Currently, the Garden’s EarthWays Center serves as the Resource Advisor to all Green Business Challenge companies. While RCGA has hosted a mini-Green Fair as part of the Green Business Challenge last year, and the Botanical Garden has hosted Green Vendor Fairs in past years, this year the two organizations have joined forces to bring the St. Louis green community a full-fledged expo.
Jean Ponzi, the Green Resources Manager of the EarthWays center, described the Green Business Challenge as a program that builds on the LEED standards for building design, equipping Green Teams at all varieties of companies to understand and act on their resource conservation options. “This broad-based development of eco-logic is a compelling development in our region’s business sector,” she said. “Case studies from Challenge participants show how Green thinking and practice is translating into business advantages, for small firms to our region’s major corporations.” She believes St. Louis businesses are learning for themselves that “green practices can yield green profits!”
I asked Jean for her take on the challenges facing renewable energy and green practices in our region.
“Local obstacles, such as higher first costs and limited availability of Green products and services, are slowly being addressed as increased demand expands the Green market share. Perceptions that sustainable practices are impractical or fiscally damaging are being steadily transformed as Green champions emerge at every level of the workforce – from hourly employees to CEOs – and responsibly integrate sustainable thinking across all levels of workplace activity.”