When Marc Pons joined the board of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce in North Carolina, he volunteered his company to serve as a beta tester for a new program the chamber developed to help area businesses save money through renewable energy and other sustainability practices. He was, however, deeply skeptical: “I felt that whatever the test was, we would fail because we’re in the auto repair and tire industry.”
Aaron Nelson, President and CEO of the Chapel Hill chamber, was more optimistic. “Chambers are always looking for ways to help our business members make and save money,” Nelson said. “We envisioned Green Plus as a chamber-created tool to help smaller employers enjoy the same savings from renewables, energy efficiency, and advanced technology that large employers enjoy.”
Pons quickly and happily discovered that his business, the Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center, flourished through exploring sustainable energy solutions through the chamber’s Green Plus program. He installed a solar array, replaced lighting with more efficient lamps and replaced old toilets with modern dual flush models.
“We started saving money by becoming more efficient but we also really engaged our customer base and employees,” Pons said. “Our mechanics are skeptical salty dogs, but they saw the press and it made them proud. They started asking for more hybrid training and they are now at the top of their game.”