Saturday, February 5, 2011

Go Green, Live Rich...

The book of the week was Go Green, Live Rich by David Bach. I have mixed feelings about this book. The content has merit, however, the statistics and numbers are quite exaggerated. For example, Bach uses the $9.00 as the price for a sandwich at Subway for lunch. He then multiplies that number out to make an unrealistic claim that you could have over $100k after 20 years by taking your lunch instead of eating out. I really like David Bach's other books, so I am trying to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one, but when I see numbers that I know aren't accurate time after time, it makes me question the accuracy of the others. He does source all his references in the back of the book, but if you are referencing an exaggerated 'facts' it doesn't make it any more true when you print it. Maybe the numbers were all based in L.A. or New York where the cost of living is much higher, I'm not sure, but I really don't like reading exaggerated 'facts.'

I am not a huge environmentalist, it's not that I hate the environment, I just haven't had a huge passion for it (I'm not my older brother). However, from a business stand point there are some great environmentally friendly practices that cut down long-term costs. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest pioneers of using green ideas. Two things that I learned about Wal-Mart while attending Eco-friendly Business Conference is they use LED Sensor lighting and Skylights. Both are super cool, LED lights are more expensive up front, but have a much better life than a florescent bulb and they use a lot less electricity. Wal-Mart uses these in two main places- their facade signs and inside their cooler and freezer doors. The cooler/ freezer LEDs have a little camera/sensor in some store that senses when someone is within 7-10 feet and turns on when someone is close. That way they save electricity when no one is around. The other thing that Wal-Mart does is use skylights to let in sunlight and the overhead lights dim based on how much light is coming in from outside. This is becoming really common in their stores, so next time you are in a newer Wal-Mart, look up- there are a ton of skylights up there.

I said previously that this book has merit and it does. I would recommend taking it slow. To use all the tips in this book would get a little crazy and you'd probably either quit or lose your mind quickly. Starting an eco-friendly life is a multitude of habits that take some serious lifestyle adjustments. And I'm not going to try and fool you and tell you that you'll make a bunch of money with every single transition. You can use all kinds of logic to help yourself justify certain costs, but because of basic economic principles most organic food will cost more and hybrid cars aren't free. But if you are smart about what you are doing you can save some money, like Wal-Mart did.

The book says that eco-friendly real estate is the next big trend, so people will opt for organic materials and sunflower based panels instead of granite counter tops and cherry cabinets. That's not likely. I think there will be a niche for eco-friendly types of taste, but I don't think that's going to be the standard. So I wouldn't spend a boat load on renovations hoping that your organic materials you spent so much money on are going to have a ROI of an insane amount. Because it will most likely be less than if you just used standard renovation materials.

I'll like to come back to brown bagging you lunch. I think it is an awesome idea. I don't think you'll be paying $9.00 a meal if you eat out every day, but you will probably pay around $5.00. And it really adds up. I am super frugal, so I am a huge advocate of the PB&J or when I want to splurge a little I'll do Pepper-Turkey and Gouda. If you bring your lunch you'll spend a lot less. Probably $1-2 per meal instead. It won't only save you some money, but it's also much healthier.

I think this book is okay. It has some cool resources like a thing called World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms where you volunteer working on a farm for a vacation. Costs less and you get to do something new and fun. Sounds interesting to me, but I'm a big nerd. That is just one of many little treasures I learned about in this book, but I know this subject isn't for everyone, so flip through a couple pages at B&N if your hesitant (and then go home and buy it on Amazon because it's less expensive). As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

1 comment:

  1. Although I think it is wonderful that Wal-Mart is "going green" as they say, I worry about the motivations. It seems like, as you mention, a money-saving thing, as well as a image-modifier. They have also began to carry a lot of organic foods, but this is as a result of public demand, a shift in food consciousness. The business must change in order to seem relevant, despite the sourcing of a great deal of their product (China), the treatment of employees, and the big box's effect on small businesses. Just a thought.