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Gauging Green on the Valley Isle

Almost all Maui businesses surveyed say they are saving money with sustainability

Survey Highlights

Though 117 of the 124 businesses surveyed said they saved money with sustainable practices, only 25 were able to say how much they saved. The average savings reported was $1,399,628. The larger the facility, both in square footage and in number of employees, the more likely aggressive sustainability and cost-saving improvements were made and tracked to document the savings, according to the report based on the survey.

Eight of the respondents calculated their savings by reduction in kilowatt-hours, showing an average 20-percent reduction in electricity used, according to the survey.

Here are other highlights from the survey:

81% of the companies surveyed have improved water conservation, including these areas:
50% with irrigation;
53% with low-flow faucets and toilets and other water-saving measures;
51% moved from bottled water to filtered drinking water;
7 manufacturers changed the way they used water in their manufacturing process.
81% wanted "knowledge of proven green technology."
83% changed glass, plastic and can recyclying. Some of those also changed other recycling practices:
66% with cardboard and pallets;
35% with composting;
25 restaurants and hotels are using biodegradable packaging and containers.
52% changed air conditioning and/or ventilation.
34% of owners/managers said they would periodically hire an independent consultant to help with green upgrades.
21% have installed solar photovoltaic systems.
19% have switched to solar hot water systems.
2% have installed wind energy systems.

A survey of Maui businesses found that 94 percent said they had saved money by adopting sustainable practices.

The survey of 124 Valley Isle businesses was conducted between December 2011 and February 2012 by Creative Conflict Solutions for two departments at the University of Hawaii’s Maui College, the Office of Continuing Education and Training, and the Sustainable Living Institute of Maui.

The survey’s goal was to gauge whether Maui businesses have found that going green is not only desirable but also profitable. “Our survey results prove the adoption of sustainable practices is seen by most participating Maui businesses as a necessity,” says Phyllis Robinson of Creative Conflict Solutions.

The survey results are similar to those of a global survey conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group. Of the 2,800 companies surveyed worldwide, two-thirds see sustainability as necessary to being competitive in today’s marketplace, up from 55 percent a year earlier.

Participants in the Maui survey were chosen randomly from a list of local businesses and organizations with 10 or more employees. In descending order of the number of business surveyed, they included: hotels and lodging businesses, miscellaneous employment services (banks, Realtors, media and others), retail businesses, schools and nonprofits, restaurants, grocery stores, construction, and other businesses.

The survey found that, although Maui businesses clearly recognize the benefits of going green, many are not yet tracking specific energy uses. Three-quarters of respondents expressed interest in Maui College interns providing individualized sustainability assessments and recommendations.

The full report, called “Supporting Maui’s Businesses and Organizations in their Sustainability Efforts,” can be downloaded at

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