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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.

By Chris Penttila

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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."

As we celebrate the 37th Earth Day this month, there's a renewed emphasis on energy conservation and growing evidence that an eco-conscious mind-set is not only good for the environment, but also good for business. Consider Wal-Mart, which is installing freezers with energy-saving LED lights in its new Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations. And a November 2006 McKinsey Global Institute study found that companies and households could slow the yearly growth rate in worldwide energy demand more than 50 percent by 2020 through increased energy efficiency.

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