"Green is so 2008..."

Serious Materials CEO Kevin Surace says, “Green is so 2008.” After interviewing him, along with an energy expert, a green tech consultant, and a BBC producer, I’m beginning to think that’s right. Green for green’s sake may be history.

Do you remember 2008? Global Warming was so hot back then. Now in 2010 over 41% of people think global warming is exaggerated. In the most recent CNN opinion poll, only 4% of respondents listed energy and the environment as the most important issue facing the country today. It’s not even listed as a choice on the Pew and Reuters’ polls.

The economy is the one issue people never get tired of. Maybe it’s time we start appealing to the bottom line: convincing people to save green while they go green.

That’s what Surace is doing—and doing well—he was Inc. Magazine’s Entrepreneur of the Years. His company was also chosen for the Empire State Building’s massive energy retrofit, and he told me that although building owner Anthony Malkin’s heart was in the right place, he wouldn’t commit to a plan until the payback time came down to three years.

In order to do that, they excluded numerous potential renovations. Good ideas, but they’d be waiting a decade or more to get their money back. They put every option on the table, and picked the plan with most savings and the least costs. They approached this like a homeowner, because they want homeowners will approach this. The ideas that came out of this project could easily be adopted by anyone who wants to cut costs, no tears necessary.

I’m all for pulling on America’s heartstrings, but doom and gloom time is over. Instead of making people pessimistic and unsure, we need to start advocating some clear, affordable solutions. I’m convinced that there is a magic space where energy, economy, and environment collide. We just need find it.

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