Great brands have a point of view.  Environmentally friendly is a viable point of view.  How can this benefit my jewelry store?

What do Apple, Wal-Mart, and Google have in common?  They have all invested in “green” technology for the betterment of their bottom line.  Apple just announced the purchase of a 25-year contract to buy continuous power directly from a huge solar plant in California.  Wal-Mart has been installing solar panels on the roofs of their stores since 2009.  Google signed a 400-megawatt deal for wind energy, bringing its total wind energy commitment to 1 gigawatt, enough to power the equivalent of 750,000 homes.  What is the advantage for these companies?  They are investing in energy security, reliability and infrastructure with a generational timeline in mind.  In addition to improving their bottom line, these investments reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

April 22, 1970 was the first “Earth Day”.  1980 – 1993 Environmentalists are objects of ridicule.  The age of conspicuous consumption has begun.  In 1993 the U.S. Green Building Council was founded.  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) would encourage corporations to join in.  The first LEED Pilot Program was launched in August 1998.  2009 LEED for Retail was established.

Energy Management is the low hanging fruit.  LED replacement lamps or fixtures with integral LEDs provide long life and directional light.  Fluorescent, either compact, T8’s or T5’s provide long life and soft light.  The combination is perfect for diamonds.  Clarkes Jewelers, Shreveport, LA save 1/3 of their former electrical bill in a 25% bigger store.  Not only does this lighting save electrical power costs but also air conditioning costs since there is less heat generated by the lighting, a big deal for jewelers.

What else can you do?

  • Incorporate daylight.
  • Use a ceiling fan.
  • Install occupancy sensors.
  • Use LEDs in your storefront signs.
  • Have the signs on a 24-hour timer.

What is the return on energy retrofits?  Lighting is the largest energy-related expense for retailers, according to a recent U.S. Department of Energy study.

This study estimated that saving $1 in energy costs has the same bottom-line impact as increasing sales by $80.00!

Here is another way to save money by being “green” – through the way you use water.

  • Repair leaky faucets.  Manitoba Hydro says 1 leaky faucet can fill 55 bathtubs in a year!
  • Install “smart” irrigation controllers, tied to your GPS coordinates.
  • Install low flow faucets and toilet fixtures.
  • Install motion sensor faucets.
  • Use “greywater” in your bathroom.

Plants can help you improve your “green” rating.

  • Ficus plants have especially strong gas absorbing, antimicrobial activity, even removing formaldehyde.
  • Choose xeriscaping or drought tolerant landscaping outside your store.  This saves water; uses less fertilizer; entails less maintenance.
  • Plant a tree.  Plant on the west or south side of your property to cut air conditioning costs.  Trees absorb carbon dioxide and emit oxygen.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 35 – 60 million Americans have building-related symptoms of eye, nose and throat irritations or headaches or fatigue.  To help eliminate these problems from your store, consider implementing the following.

  • Open the door(s) in spring and fall to let in fresh air.
  • Use cleaning products and processes that emit low levels of VOCs and particulates.
  • Use no VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint from Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams when renovating.
  • Ask your contractor to use solvent free grout for all tile floor

and wall installations.

Your people – staff and customers – are your most important asset.

  • Studies show that “green” retail spaces can reduce absenteeism and increase productivity.
  • Young workers new to the business environment want to join a financially successful company with commitment to protecting the environment.  Young customers feel the same.
  • Involve your staff in efforts that you are making to create a “green” store environment.
  • Let your customers know the good news via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and don’t forget all of your traditional communication media – mailings, print, radio and TV advertising and billboards.  Remember, people love stories.

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