By Dana Burton
Green Savings Co-op
Going “green” can save you money! The high prices that were tolerated “for the good of the planet” are gone. The outpost for this new economic paradigm locally is the Green Savings Co-op
, a member of the Bethesda Green Incubator
, under the leadership of its founder and director Mike Kennedy.
New members invest $130 to join this consumer-owned cooperative and gain access to a wide array of sustainable goods and services. Green Savings Co-op has done the work of selecting the best suppliers of everything from light bulbs and power strips to rain barrels, lower-cost electric energy, home energy audits and weatherization, heating and AC, solar hot water, solar electric, home remodeling, green kitchens, geo-thermal and more.
Green Savings Co-op is the first in a planned network of locally-based sustainability cooperatives. The cooperative business model is a very old one: buyers uniting to buy in bulk at lower unit prices where the savings are split and passed back to the members. But Green Savings Co-op puts a twist on the model by (1) researching and selecting the most valuable categories of sustainable goods and services, (2) screening for the best local green suppliers and (3) using the power of group buying to negotiate substantial discounts, usually around 10 percent, for members. One of the Co-op’s suppliers, Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union, even offers great rates on financing, if needed, while members wait for their federal, state and local rebates to come in.
The Co-op’s philosophy extends beyond saving money. Mike Kennedy feels a key purpose of the organization is to educate people in resource usage in order to make a difference in their own way of living and in their community. Success for the coop is not only measured in more members, but also in stimulating the local economy. Success also means more business and local jobs for businesses that partner with Green Savings Co-op. Mike believes that real sustainability can only be achieved if we think about, and act, in the interest of people, planet and profit.
Green Savings Co-op