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It's Easy Being Green

There are more ways than ever for your business to save energy, money and the environment.

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This story appears in the April 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

For Bob Chandler, entrepreneurship and the environment go hand in hand. As co-owners of McCracken Building LLC, Chandler, 36, his business partner Matt Patton, 37, and four other partners outfitted their Eugene, Oregon, building with at least $60,000 in direct energy-saving measures. The upgrades to the three-story warehouse, which houses Chandler and Patton's 8-year-old snowboard, skateboard and surf equipment company, Tactics Boardshop, go above and beyond Oregon's standard building codes. McCracken installed ultra-efficient, compact fluorescent lighting, including outdoor lighting that runs on a timer. Skylights were added on the top floor to lower total energy usage.

The changes don't stop there: McCracken upgraded to double-pane windows with high-performance glazing that help keep the heat in during Eugene's dark, cold winters and keep sunlight out on long summer days when temperatures get into the 90s. A much more energy-efficient heating, air-conditioning and ventilation system was added, and motion sensors throughout the 27,000-square-foot building's common areas turn lights on and off as Tactics' 22 employees come and go. McCracken also added a bioswell, a natural rainwater drainage system that keeps run-off out of storm drains and away from local rivers. "I was always curious what we could do to lower our impact [on the environment]," Chandler says, "and, of course, at the same time, hopefully save money--or at least not cost the company too much money in making those choices."

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