There really is a Green Revolution out there and businessowners had better join it if they want to make more money and increase market share, declares William S. Parrish Jr., president of NobleStrategy L.L.C, a Newark, N.J., construction management services firm.
In 2003, while employed by a New Jersey school district, Parrish was tasked with evaluating design professionals and the proposals and technologies they used in the planning process for 20 to 25 large, public schools in New Jersey. It meant he would have to raise his level of expertise to match that of the professionals who were presenting emerging technologies and alternative energy designed systems. Not doing so would have left him out of the loop in the architectural and engineering discussion for the new buildings. He spent the next 12 months researching the requirements for professional sustainability accreditation by the United States Green Council, learning the various codes and regulations of the Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system that the council had developed for building professionals. In January 2004, he passed the required exam and became a LEED accredited professional (LEED AP). This allowed him to use the council’s logo to market his business and the LEED AP designation after his name.
“Once I left my job at the school district and started my venture, I immediately started to market sustainable design and construction practices as part of the services my firm offered. It quickly became a differentiator for our construction management firm, since most of the people who had that expertise at the time were either architects or engineers,” Parrish writes in his self-published book Making Bold Moves: Creating Multimillion Dollar Success in 500 Days or Less!
Officials at the U.S. Small Business Administration contend that the explosion of organic and eco-friendly products on retail store shelves is more than just a passing fad. Rather, it’s big business and presents opportunities for environmentally minded entrepreneurs. Successful Green businesses not only benefit the environment, but also use Green business practices as a means to market their products, a strategy Parrish advocates in Making Bold Moves, in a chapter titled “Go Green for More Money and More Marketshare.” He writes: “Being one of a few firms that understood the value of sustainability on a project and its benefit to owners, we have been able to promote a new industry offering consisting of our sustainable construction management solutions, which we termed LEED CM™…We found our niche and, in 2007 started performing these very same services for one of the largest and oldest construction management firms in New York City as part of the major rebuilding effort in lower Manhattan after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”
The benefits of going Green are as much internal as they are external, Parrish insists. Businesses that are run on Green practices see lower operating costs, greater energy efficiency and greater efficiency in operating equipment than businesses without such practices. A bold move in this regard could be as simple as closing the office early one day a week, which is precisely what Parrish did after observing that productivity often slumped on Friday afternoons after lunch and few calls came in. “Closing the offices early on Friday contributed to reducing our energy consumption by reducing lighting and operational energy usage (copy machines, microwave ovens, refrigerators, cellphone chargers, etc.). We did, however, ask employees to work harder during the first four days of the week so that we would not miss much productivity.”
Bonus benefits came at the employee level as well: improved morale because they could plan on an early getaway on Fridays, and heightened environmental consciousness.