I know you’re sick of all the ‘green’ buzzwords being shoved in your face by celebrities, politicians, and companies jumping on the green bandwagon, yet the fact remains that sustainability and ‘going green’ is about making money when it comes to entrepreneurship. In regards to Phoenix based entrepreneurs, the City of Phoenix itself is taking the environment seriously since Phoenix continues to grow larger and hotter (literally, not figuratively) which should result in new opportunities for eco-conscious entrepreneurs.
*If you’re not living in Phoenix, keep in mind that green initiatives and green businesses are beginning to gain traction throughout the US so chances are these 10 green business ideas may apply in your neck of the woods.
10 Green Business Ideas For Phoenix Entrepreneurs…
I was fortunate enough to present at the inaugural Ignite Phoenix event on August 12th, 2008 where I gave a presentation entitled 10 Green Business Ideas For Phoenix Entrepreneurs!. If you’re unfamiliar with Ignite, it’s a free and open information exchange about anything and everything with the aim of igniting and inspiring your city’s creative community. Presenters get five minutes and 20 slides to talk about their ideas and experiences, and as you can see from the other Ignite Phoenix presentations, anything goes.
Here’s the five-minute video of my presentation along with the slide show I created; feel free to visit the blog post if the video or slides fail to show up in your email or feed reader.
Updated Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Unfortunately, I created the slideshow before I understood the importance of respecting people’s copyrights. I’m a big proponent of proper use of people’s copyrighted images and work, and thus am removing all links to the slideshow and videos until I can create new ones that feature Creative Commons licensed works.
My apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.
By the way, a huge thank you goes out to Clintus McGintus for the great video footage, and much thanks goes out to all the great Flickr users whose photos I’ve linked to on the last page of the slide show.
Presenting 10 green business ideas in five minutes was brutal and didn’t leave much room for specifics (big lesson learned), so here is some additional information for your reading pleasure.
Idea #1) Selling Carbon Offsets
I contacted several regional green bloggers and ASU School of Sustainability faculty members only to find that no one was aware of carbon offset providers that directly benefited local Phoenix-metro initiatives.
Idea #2) Green Dry Cleaning
Initially, the only local eco-friendly dry cleaner I could find was Delia’s Cleaners who use a wet-clean process. A few days after Ignite Phoenix, I stumbled upon another dry cleaner using a wet-clean process, Chaparral Cleaners in Scottsdale. By the way, I didn’t include any dry cleaners using siloxane D5 or liquid silicone since it’s a fairly new process that just recently received the thumbs up by the International Fabricare Institute.
Idea #3) Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Phoenix averages around eight inches of rain per year and assuming an average home lot is 5000 sq ft, then you end up with almost 25,000 gallons of rainwater per home per year according to this annual rainfall calculator. Please keep in mind that this is a rough approximation.
Idea #4) Biodiesel Brewers and Biodiesel Transportation
The free biodiesel brewing e-book mentioned in the video is Biodiesel 101 by Hans Huth. As far as actual local brewers go, AZ BioDiesel is the top brewer in terms of media attention; good luck on finding the others.
Idea #5) Green Home Builder
The Philadelphia project mentioned in the presentation is the 100K HOUSE. What’s great about this project is that they’re actually creating a finished product as opposed to just offering a green building and design service. If you’re truly interesting in pursuing this idea, then check out their website for all the specifics. You can also check out the City of Scottsdale’s Green Building Program for additional tips and resources.
Idea #6) Green Business Consulting
A few days prior to Ignite, I stumbled upon the Phoenix-metro Green Drinks get together which I’m planning to attend in the coming months. I’m also planning on grilling any local green consultants about their non-existent SEO. Interestingly enough, the Sustainable Arizona website has a small blurb at the top of the page about greening your business, yet details are lacking.
Idea #7) Green Landscaping
If there are any eco-conscious landscapers in the Phoenix-metro area, then good luck trying to find them.
Idea #8) Electric Scooters and Electric Bicycles
The closest electric bicycle dealer to Phoenix is Spooky Tooth Cycles. They were located in Tucson then moved to Bisbee; this turns any visit into a 6 hour round-trip trek. Interestingly enough, NPR recently ran an op-ed talking about the difficulty of finding electric bicycles anywhere; click here to listen. As for electric scooter dealers in Phoenix, forget about it.
Idea #9) Paperless Services
I have already covered OfficeDrop.com on this blog, and I definitely think they have a great idea that’s going to be successful. The only reason I bring up the idea of a local version of Pixily is because people are somewhat hesitant to ship important documents out of state, so there is potential for a no-frills document scanning business to try and address the concerns of small businesses and homeowners with a more personalized local service.
As for junk-mail elimination, the tools are out there for homeowners and business owners to get rid of their junk-mail yet most don’t want to spend the time doing it, so bundling such a service with the aforementioned document scanning service could definitely be something worth exploring.
Idea #10) Green Remodeling and Demolition
Not much else to say other than finding a local green demo and remodeling service for residential homes is next to impossible, although a.k.a green appears to be gaining some major eco-cred when it comes to green building supplies.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, some of these green business ideas are slowly starting to gain traction throughout the US so I would definitely recommend that you take the time to research them for yourself. Also, be sure to check out Green LA Girl who also keeps busy at the LA Times’ Emerald City Blog and AzSustainability.com for more green ideas and tips. I should mention that these two blogs were a major resource for my presentation, so a big thank you goes out to Siel and James for all the informative posts.
The Closet Entrepreneur