How Trade-Skill Companies Can Hold Themselves More Environmentally Accountable

Reader Contribution by Kayla Matthews
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A healthy environment: We can’t live without it. While the mainstream media appears to focus on either the mindless pollution tactics of Big Business or the everyday steps the consumer can take, the vital middleman is often forgotten: the skilled trades who build, install and repair. If you’re a skilled trade craftsman, here are examples of four skilled trades and the ways each can implement ecology-friendly services into their business.

Keep in mind, while the initial changes may appear cost-prohibitive, your investment will pay off in the long run because you’ll be able to use your “green living” services in your advertising campaigns. Today’s consumers are environmentally savvy, and will appreciate the company that takes the extra steps to make our world a little bit cleaner.


An electrical company well trained in the latest energy saving practices will always be in high demand. If you specialize in new construction, be in on the beginning consultations with the builder so the construction can include plans for heat pumps, solar panels and other electricity saving devices. If you specialize in remodeling consider offering energy audits as well as Energy Star rated appliances, programmable thermostats and LED lighting to complete your conservation services.


Often out of mind until the toilet plugs up, plumbers rule the waterworks in both new and old buildings.  Find a green plumber if you’re considering solar water, a tankless hot water heater or a water recirculation pump. Much like the electrician, a savvy plumber will offer a water saving audit as part of his services.

High efficiency showerheads, faucets and toilets are also part of the plumber’s domain. You can also specialize in landscape watering systems that minimize water waste and installation of off-the-grid products such as macerating toilets.

Construction Companies

If you’re the owner of a construction company, become savvy in green building. Recycled materials such as foundation blocks, wood fiber beams and insulation can be implemented into the shell of a building — many consumers are open to using materials from deconstruction of old homes.

Green construction companies can opt for used equipment instead of new, and look for low-emission equipment when buying new. Construction sites have a lot of waste — make sure your employees have the training and specified bins to separate recyclable scrap such as metal and paper to reduce your overall waste and impact on the environment.

Automotive Repair Shops

Car repair is traditionally filled with environmental waste, and the green auto shop owner can become the most sought after business in town. Antifreeze and oil can be recycled — you can invest in a bioremediation sink to break down grease instead of using high volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as solvents. Switch to biodegradable cleaners for the shop area, office and the mechanics’ personal use.

By capturing grease in pans instead of using absorbents it can be recycled instead of discarded — keeping the floor and parking lot free of oil and grease will prevent the pollutants from reaching the ground water when it rains.

Aside from the internal operative steps, becoming certified in the maintenance of green vehicles will allow an automotive repair shop bragging rights for green advertising, which will pay for the costs of implementing any special equipment needed to become environmentally friendly.

All Skilled Trade Companies

Whatever skilled trade business you own, there are basic steps which can help you cut energy waste. Mush paperwork can be transferred to computer — vital paperwork such as receipts should be recycled both when purchased and when shredded.

Switch to LED lighting in the offices — set up recycling bins and encourage employees to use them.

Consider used furniture instead of buying new, and switch your cleaning supplies to biodegradable cleaners throughout your business.

Photo Credit:  Life of Pix

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