As consumers become more conscious of the environmental impact of their day-to-day lives, entrepreneurs are taking the opportunity to create new businesses and products that enable green living.
Annual green building construction spending in the U.S. is projected to increase 15 percent a year between 2015 to 2018, reaching $224.4 billion in 2018, according to The U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Building Economic Impact Study. Enter TreeHouse, a home-improvement startup in Austin, Texas, that sells eco-friendly construction materials and services. Every product in their store is scored based off of health, performance, corporate responsibility, and sustainability.
The company, which was founded in 2011, received $16 million from investors for expansion, starting with a second store in North Dallas in 2017 with plans for continued growth into new markets. They are currently scouting locations in California, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest.
TreeHouse is the first retailer that Tesla authorized to sell the Powerwall, its home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels. At night, when many utility rates increase because of the additional demand, the battery powers your home independently from the power grid. Homeowners can receive a net zero energy rating—meaning their home produces as much energy as it consumes.
A gym in Portland found another source of green power: human exertion. The Green Microgym, retrofitted its spin bikes and elliptical machines to convert exercisers’ energy into electricity. Recently named one of “the most innovative gyms in the world” by Smithsonian.com, the gym says it has generated 20 percent of its own electricity from both human and solar power since it opened in 2009.
Green Microgym owner Adam Boesel took green innovation a step further with the UpCycle Ecocharger, which lets you turn your own bicycle into a human power generator by replacing your back wheel. A 20-minute ride produces two full smartphone charges; one hour of riding your bike allows you to fully charge your laptop. Inspired by the powerless days following Hurricane Sandy, the Upcycle Ecocharger can be a total game-changer when natural disasters hit, allowing people to charge and use their mobile devices when electrical power is unavailable.
These businesses are leading the charge on sustainability products, but owners and managers in the hospitality and real estate markets should know that green initiatives are becoming the expectation, rather than an added bonus. Distinguished Programs has partnered with the Association of Green Property Owners and Managers (AGPOM) to help the hospitality and real estate industries implement environmentally sound solutions.