Across the country, companies and homeowners are going green, retrofitting old structures or building energy efficient buildings from the ground up.
Many Southeastern companies making such a switch have to look no further for help than Forsyth-based Innovative Energy Solutions, which opened its doors in March.
Innovative Energy Solutions offers consulting, installation and commission services, while its two partner companies provide the products.
The company's partners have a combined 46 years of experience, said Brian Mushimba, Innovative Energy Solutions' director of business development.
Enigin, a 30-year-old England-based company handles all retrofitting solutions, which includes heating and air updates, refrigeration, motor-driven applications and lighting.
Mushimba said the services can range in cost from a couple hundred dollars to a few thousand, though the initial investment can pay for itself in less than two years.
For new construction, Innovative Energy Solutions uses Eco$mart, a Florida-based firm that tailors its products to new buildings.
Top products include solar water heaters, heat-reducing windows, insulation-maximizing walls and a water recycling system that treats and funnels used water to toilets.
"All our solutions require a customer purchasing something that we put on, and then they can see how they save energy over time," Mushimba said. "A one-time up front cost for a lifetime of savings."
Interested businesses first receive a visit from an Innovative Energy Solutions engineer, who will ask about concerns and do a thorough run-through of the facility.
The engineer will then map out a plan for the company and present the most efficient options.
Consultations are free, Mushimba said. Only after a business agrees to the service is there a charge.
While Mushimba said company officials first thought they would appeal mostly to industrial and commercial businesses, residential properties have accounted for just as much of their business.
"I think people feel that every quarter, utilities are coming up, and they're trying to find ways of saving," he said.
For retrofitting existing facilities, whether for businesses or residential properties, customers can save up to 50 percent of refrigeration costs, up to 20 percent of energy costs, and up to 30 percent of lighting costs. The savings only go up for new systems.
If a new building is fitted with up to six energy-saving products, it can cut all energy usage by half, Mushimba said. That does not include government tax credits for going green.
The Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Committee has been working on ways to encourage and reward businesses to become more environmentally friendly, said James McCoy, the organization's president and chief executive officer.
"Increasingly, what we're finding is that companies are doing that to save themselves money in the long run," McCoy said. "It can be a large capital investment at the front end, but at the back end, they save money."
McCoy said more companies are looking into the benefits of energy reduction, as well as certain residential neighborhoods and local governments.
"The county is even getting on board," McCoy said. "If you can marry doing the right thing with saving some money and running a better business, there's no reason not to."
Innovative Energy Solutions' main goal is to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint, Mushimba said. But while the environment is a growing concern, going green also will help business save some green.
"Look at the savings that the companies actually realize," Mushimba said. "Our electrical systems can cut the electric bill by 30 to 40 percent. So just from a purely profit standpoint of the business, you're getting a lot of your money back and that's pure profit.
"Not only are you helping the environment, but you're actually also helping your company. And that's why we feel it's a win-win situation for companies to work with us."