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Significant opportunities exist for water treatment dealers who can present Green solutions to their customers, and for those who are able to demonstrate the environmental benefits their products can bestow. The most likely customers to receive the pitch to “go Green” are today’s consumers of bottled water.
According to the Container Recycling Institute, a non-profit group based in Washington, Americans bought almost 30 billion bottles of non-sparkling water in 2005, double the consumption of 2002 and seven times that of 1995. The Economist reports that in 2006 Americans spent nearly $11 billion on bottled water, even though bottled water can cost more per gallon than gasoline.
Salt Lake City’s mayor encourages citizens to drink from the tap and Ann Arbor prohibits bottled water at city events. San Francisco and Los Angeles are not allowing city-financed purchases of bottled water. New York promotes tap water and gives away a free beverage container if residents sign a pledge not to buy bottled water. High-end restaurants on both coasts are going Green by doing away with bottles and the waste of fossil fuels used to make the containers and transport them (both of which contribute to green house gas emissions). Across the country, a backlash against bottled water is building among environmentalists and regulators, which makes the timing right for dealers who can present legitimate environmental alternatives.
A way to go green
An example of a Green offering in the market today is the GE Homespring Central Water Purifier, the first ecomagination certified residential water treatment product that has consumers excited about the outlook of purchasing a highly efficient and high quality product. Its energy savings is equivalent to approximately three weeks of all power usage in an average home, and by replacing bottles of water in a 500-worker office, the amount of plastic waste reduced decreases greenhouse gas emissions by more than 61,000 lb per year.
Ecomagination is GE’s Green strategy, which is: developing the next generation of products within its divisions of water efficient solutions, solar power, clean coal plants, wind turbines, high-efficiency airplane engines, hybrid-engine locomotives, energy-saving light bulbs and appliances. Ecomagination started in 2005 and has since grown revenues of eco-friendly technologies past $12 billion, up 20% from 2005, while the order backlog rose to $50 billion, reaffirming that green is truly green.
“These extraordinary revenues and orders are the initial payoff from directly aligning our product portfolio with our customers’ needs and evolving trends,” said GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. “Ecomagination is growing beyond our expectations, evolving into a sales initiative unlike any other I’ve seen in 25 years at GE.”
The ecomagination portfolio of water technologies adds value to customers with truly differentiated solutions that help customers achieve energy efficiency and increase supply of usable water cost effectively. Ecomagination helps customers conserve more than 21 billion gal of water every year, enough to meet the daily water requirements of more than 100 million people, and set standards that meet and exceed environmental regulations, driving the industry to new heights.
“Green offerings set us apart from the competition and helps dealers get appointments to meet with customers and drive sales,” said Richard De Young, a GE Platinum Dealer in Houston. “Customers cannot look at them and say ‘I’ve seen this before,’ it adds a whole new aspect to the solution.” Silvia Madrigal is ecomagination leader for GE Water & Process Technologies. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected].