Saving Green: Finding Ways to Protect the Environment and Our Budgets

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April 17, 2009

The recession has financially hit us all in some way. And for some, it keeps coming again and again, beating us down until we are forced to curl up and remain as still as possible, closing our eyes and hoping that it will just go away. But it doesn't. It keeps punishing our budgets and stripping clean our pockets, like an elementary school bully looking for lunch money.

And we don't want to move for fear of our budgets. We can't handle going in any new directions, let alone the safe ones. Our budgets are too bruised and battered to venture out. So how then can we hear with open arms and willing hands these encouragements and admonishes to "Go Green" when we know that it will cost us precious money and perhaps even cost us more than before?

Just recently The McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin hosted the Sustainable Business Summit to confer specifically about this issue.

Renewable Energy and Carbon Trading as Panacea?

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What they examined was whether or not what once was thought to be mutually exclusive could now be obtainable: protecting the environment and saving money. At the summit the key speakers offered two medicines for the economic and environmental ills: renewable energy and carbon trading.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is energy that comes from any natural source that can be replenished in time (renewed). These sources can be rain, wind, heat deriving from deep in the earth, plants, sunlight and so on. These sources are all around us, and they can be harnessed in environmentally friendly ways to produce energy.

Cities like Dallas and Austin have made the switch to renewable energy easy and incentive rich. You can get up to 30% of the switch to both solar energy and wind energy covered. And you can receive up to 2,000 dollars in rebates for installing a solar water heating system in your home.

The same applies for commercial buildings and builders, with even more savings in rebates and tax breaks.

Carbon Trading

Carbon trading, though controversial in its efficiency and reliability, has also shown the ability to save money and ease a budget both personally and corporately. The way it works is, in essence, simple:

A group (could be a nation, nations or a community) has placed upon it a cap on certain greenhouse gases, like carbon. The group cannot go over the cap, and each member of the group is given an allowance of gases to use. These allowances are called credits.

If all use their credits, then the cap is reached. But if some do not use all their credits, they can trade them to other members who use more than they are allowed. This is called carbon trading. Ultimately, money is saved and earned the more credits a member keeps and sells. Now it is easy to go green and get green. They aren`t mutually exclusive anymore.

About the Author
Rick Walker is a LEED-AP and CEO of, and focuses on green building and LEED certification for business owners. He lives in Houston, Texas and works with the maintenance and operations aspects of LEED facilities throughout Texas. For more information on LEED, green building and sustainable living, visit his blog at:

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