Visiting Sustainable Future’s solar park and modest headquarters is an immersion in energy conservation for the 21st century. The showy display of large solar panels out front gives potential clients examples of all sorts of construction possibilities. Of course, the main building displays a large array of photovoltaic panels, as well.
A modern carport uses a roof full of solar panels to quickly charge an electric car each day for the company’s owner or anyone else interested in refueling there.
Rainwater replenishes a stone fountain that gurgles softly amid a garden area where permeable pavers limit the sort of urban runoff caused by solid stretches of pavement. Instead, water can slowly seep into the ground, nourish plant life, and be cleaned naturally as it passes through layers of rock.
The business faithfully recycles, composts and is trying other new energy sources such as a special biomass stove that burns wood in a super-efficient way.
On the wall of the reception area hangs the certificate remembering founder David Bolt’s visit last year to the White House. Bolt is one of the nation’s Champions of Change, receiving the award at a special ceremony for his corporate environmental responsibility. Bolt also contributed a blog post about his corporate philosophy to the White House blog.
During my recent visit to the company’s headquarters, Bolt shared this motivation with me, as well. “Too often people look at sustainability as a sacrifice instead of a joy…Just by living in harmony with nature rather than fighting it, life is simpler, it’s filled with more joys. Rather than seeing sustainability as a compromise or a sacrifice, it needs to be seen as freeing.”
Since converting to solar seems overwheloming for most of us, that I asked Bolt for an easy starting point. He suggested the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. “You can go to the NABCEP certification website. Where the’ll have a list of NAPCEP-certified installers. If you want to tie into the grid, you need a NAPCEP-certified installer to do so, so that’s a good place to start.”
No wonder a Tennessee-based company known mainly for installing solar panels has such an idealistic name. Sustainable Future‘s David Bolt has the technical background to know his stuff. Plus, he tries to make each day a living example of the philosophies he believes, “long-term we have to move toward renewables.”