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Energy Case Studies: The Towbes Group, Business

The Towbes Group has a motto – “do the right thing, even when no one is looking.” The company’s commitment to integrity, quality and sustainability has made it a leader in real estate investment, development and property management for over 50 years. After achieving certification from the Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County in July of 2010, Towbes Development Project Manager Craig Minus hopes that the Santa Barbara community will be paying attention. He is especially proud of the internal changes that significantly reduced energy costs and minimized the company’s environmental footprint.

Prior to certification, Towbes’ corporate office consumed over 19,000 kWh of electricity per month. Towbes was able to take advantage of Southern California Edison’s Energy Management Assistance Program, which allows businesses to have its lighting replaced for free. “Changing the light bulbs was a no brainer,” Craig said, “you can do a lot in your daily actions.”

  • To further reduce the company’s carbon footprint, Towbes has a small electric vehicle, affectionately nicknamed “Towbie,” which is available to corporate office employees for local errands throughout the day.
  • Towbes also installed programmable thermostats in order to improve energy efficiency throughout the office. One of the bigger changes was the replacement of their old A/C system with an evaporative cooler, as well as the installation of A/C economizers to further improve efficiency.
  • In part by simply replacing existing T-12 fluorescent light bulbs with more efficient T-8 models, Towbes achieved an incredible 25% reduction in energy consumption.

Importantly, participation in the Green Business Program has brought a new level of awareness to those working at the Towbes Group. Craig noted that employees are making a concerted effort to turn off lights and other electronic devices when they are not being used. The program’s success has inspired Towbes to consider extending the Green Business Program to all of its 2,100 residential units in the future.

Become or support a green business

The Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival is coming up on April 21 and 22 in Alameda Park. This event is the perfect opportunity to learn how to make changes like this in your own business. We recommend the following stops at the festival:

  • Visit the “Live Green” zone and watch live demos on the “Live Green” Stage to discover ways to make your own changes. View the schedule…
    • Learn about our local sustainable meat, egg and milk resources on Saturday, April 21, 4:00pm
    • Learn about local, sustainable food sources with Edible Santa Barbara on Sunday, April 22, 2:00pm
  • Visit the Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County booth to learn how to become a certified green business, and how to support other local certified green businesses.

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