TreeHugger's guides for How to Go Green are one of the best ways to get started in making your own life green. But what if you want more help? What about all those local issues? Who is figuring out the heavy lifting in your neck of the woods? Wayne and Amanda Green (no known relation to our very own Hank Green) decided they would bear the brunt of this effort for the good people in San Diego - the Greens decided to 'go Green'. Aptly named LiveGreen is the company they created to do just that, and help others find the 'green way'. I had the pleasure of meeting with Wayne and discussing his little (not so little anymore) company a few months back. Since I met with Wayne he has moved into a new (old) house, and started some amazing projects. Including completing a solar system to generate 100% of their power, a vermi-composting system for all organic waste, and an organic garden to supply the Greens with 80% of their food. They hope to begin replacing their appliances over the next year with energy efficient options, and plan on replacing their car as well. We need more local hero's like Wayne and Amanda. To get an idea of how it all happened I asked Wayne a few questions about his company, motivation, and vision for the future.Why did you start LiveGreen?
"My wife, Amanda, and I had been changing our lifestyle over the last seven years to have a smaller footprint. It started as a change to organic meats (which was caused by working on an animal feed project at work). This in turn had us look at other areas of our lives that we could change to be greener.
We bought a house last month (an older, inefficient, very non-green home) and wanted to work on it to make it a green home. When I started doing research on our first project, solar, I was amazed with the amount of leg work I needed to do. First there was a search for a company (the list is huge) or you can try and do it yourself. But that’s just half the battle – then there’s the rebate system, application for net metering, taxes, financing…I now understood why more people do not have solar. At the same time, my wife and I had been kicking around an idea for a company for about a year. We wanted to make it easier for people to go green.
So, back in 2006, we were driving to a friend’s party and kicked around some names. My wife, she’s the idea person, came up with LiveGreen. The company’s premise was to make it easier for people to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle by providing simple solutions. And an interesting thing is that the friend who’s party we were going to was our first client, they went solar."
What has been the response?
"Overwhelming. We started our company here in San Diego to fill a void. San Diego is a beautiful city with a diverse population…many people come here for natural beauty. However, the green business side of San Diego is (was) almost non-existent. We started out company last year with the intent on growing slowly over the course of five years. We just wanted to lay the legal groundwork (name, license, etc). However, as we started to talk about LiveGreen, first with friends, then with others at social functions like Green Drinks, we could feel the pull. People wanted this, the vacuum was lifted and we were sucked in (happily). Now, just eight months later we have a pretty good base to start from. Our company is mainly internet based with a referral service to local green businesses we test personally and can recommend, we have a shop page with eco-friendly products that we personally use and wanted to share, and we have a blog. It’s really amazing when I think about it…
And overwhelming indeed. We participated in this year’s Earth Fair in San Diego’s Balboa Park. The announcement said to expect 60,000 participant…wow, it was amazing. We went through a lot of reusable bags that day!"
What is the best part?
"That we’re really doing this! We are making a perceptible difference (and not just here in San Diego). We’ve helped three homes go solar (just by making it easy – all three of these referrals were people who had wanted to go solar for a while, just didn’t have the time to do all the leg work). We’ve sold our products to people in Alaska, Texas, Georgia, Colorado…it’s really nice. "
What is the future vision?
"To take it a little slower and focus the company. When we started, we went in all directions to try and find a business model that worked. Now we are coming back to the original vision, to change our lifestyle one project at a time and use our experience to help others. We are also looking to utilize the expertise of the green companies and individuals we collaborate with to broaden our knowledge base to reach a more diverse audience (our experiences won’t relate to everyone.)"
Anything else you want our readers to know?
"We sell products that we personally use and think are simple ways to reduce your ecological footprint. Our first product was our reusable bags. We have a bag for everyone’s need. The main grocery bag is simple, then there’s the wine tote (has inserts so you don’t need bags or cardboard), and the last bag is our Netbags, a replacement for the plastic produce bag. This is exclusively sold on the net by LiveGreen (the wholesaler is here in San Diego). EPIC is our green cleaning line. EPIC stands for Environmental Products for Important Causes and is located in San Diego. They donate all profit to environmental organizations and have really nice cleaning products that are a great replacement for toxic cleaning supplies."