Living the Green Life in Honolulu
Here are 16 forward-thinking Hawaii businesses ready to help you make the switch, away from fossil fuels and into a renewable future.
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Green Up Hawaii
By Laura Berbusse
Begin in your own home, or at least, in Betty Gearen’s home.
At The Green House (www.thegreenhousehawaii.com), Gearen offers $20 workshops on everything from basic gardening and natural household cleaners to kid-friendly topics like cooking with a solar oven. “People used to depend on their neighbors, and that’s what’s missing today,“ she says. “If we build communities, we can become sustainable again.”
Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) customers can receive rebates through the Hawaii Energy program (www.hawaiienergy.com) for making changes such as using a ceiling fan instead of a conventional air conditioning system or installing CFLs instead of energy-wasting incandescent bulbs. Meaning not only will that new ENERGY STAR® refrigerator use two to three times less electricity than a 20-year-old refrigerator, but you’ll also get some money back.
If HECO has its way, soon all those appliances will be running on renewable energy from wind, waves, the sun, and even steam from Big Island volcanoes. Right now, about 12 percent of the state’s electricity needs come from renewable energy. HECO is working on more than 14 projects, ranging from wind farms on Oahu and Maui to an expansion of the geothermal plant in Puna, would more than double that.
You can find information on all these energy-saving incentives, a CFL guidebook and savings calculator, and even more tips to reducing energy use at home and work through the Hawaii Energy program (www.hawaiienergy.com).
Nearly 30,000 customers tap into another alternative – synthetic natural gas. The Gas Company (www.hawaiigas.com) points out SNG, made from by-products of petroleum, is cheaper, cleaner and more reliable than the fossil fuels so when the lights go out, gas stays on (not to mention that there’s a lot to say about not having to wait for that cold shower to warm up.) Everything from air conditioners to clothes dryers can be gas-powered and with every new energy-efficient gas appliance you purchase, The Gas Company offers a $100 credit.
“Our Company and employees are committed to providing Hawaii with a quality product, dependable service, and the best energy value,” says The Gas Company President and CEO Jeffrey Kissel.
If remodeling is in your near future, pick up gently-used building materials from Reuse Hawaii (www.reusehawaii.org) for a lot less than what a home remodeling store will charge. Search www.freecycle.org for furniture, fixtures, and almost anything else people in your community are giving away free to anyone willing to take it.
Tap into the Sun
If you want to start at the top, Hawaii and the Federal Government are ready to give you a little credit – various tax credits of up to 30 percent the price of a new solar system.
Strictly Solar Hawaii (www.strictlysolarhawaii.com) has one mission – reduce the cost of installations by keeping the price of its award-winning photovoltaic systems affordable. Although the company is less than a year old, its staff of experts has more than 10 years of experience in the field installing solar water heaters and photovoltaic systems. So they know what they’re doing with top-rated products such as SolarWorld panels.
With up to 12 percent more yield than other brands, SolarWorld modules were ranked number one in two consecutive tests carried out by Photon Trade magazine. Not only are the panels more efficient, they’re built to stick around. SolarWorld guarantees its products’ performance will not decrease by more than 0.7 percent per year.
By keeping costs down, Strictly Solar Hawaii is committed to getting the state to its goal of 70 percent green by 2030.
Award-winning RevoluSun (www.revolusun.com) takes every project personally. Armed with its proprietary design and pricing software RISE®, Revolusun experts specialize in creating photovoltaic and solar systems customized for each homeowner’s specific needs.