Her company's energy audits help you locate and eliminate wasted energy, target the worst energy-hogging appliances in your home, and verify tax credits your upgrades might help you achieve. REpower's solar-enegy projects have included not only numerous farms and private homes, but also a project at the Cleveland Indians' baseball stadium, and an installation at the visitors' center of the Malabar State Park in Lucas, OH.
We asked Erika to tell us more the energy projects she's working on now.
Green America: What does your business do, and what makes your business green?
Erika Weliczko: REpower Solutions was established to design and build renewable energy solutions that make sense for people and the planet. As such, most of our time is spent on solar electric and wind electric projects.
We help property owners, business owners, and homeowners decide how renewable energy can work for their situation. We try to set the example of responsible material use during our projects by recycling cardboard, metals and styrofoam. We redirect pallets to reuse streams whenever possible. REpower Solutions also invests in renewable energy projects to help offset the impact of driving to our job sites.
What are you working on now?
Erika: We recently finished a solar installation for the Vita-Mix corporation in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. We were able to work with the design team on the addition early on, making the solar addition very rewarding when all the pieces came together.
What did you do before you started your own green business?
Erika: Prior to focusing on renewable energy, I spent time in the traditional electrical field. I became involved with the electrical trade for the purpose of moving into the renewable energy sector.
What have been some of the biggest challenges of maintaining high standards of social and environmental responsibility?
Erika: Maintaining high standards in all facets of the business requires effort on a daily basis. Sometimes, that means going through the supposed trash to remove recyclables, other times that means ordering a product with less packaging even if it costs a bit more. Most often, it requires installing materials that are durable in a manner that will help them last. Projects that last are good for everyone. If it can be recycled, it should be. If fuel can be saved, it should be. If it can be purchased locally, it should be. I don’t see it so much as a choice, but as a reasonable and ethical thing to do.
What has been your proudest moment as a green business owner?
Erika: The best moments are shared with my customers getting to see their electric meter spin backwards. Making your own electricity is very empowering.
What would you tell other green entrepreneurs just starting out?
Erika: Stop trying to do everything yourself. Find the professionals that will work with you to allow you to focus on your core competencies.
What's are you most excited about going forward?
Erika: I am excited about continuing to help our customers diversify their approaches to reducing their impact, saving money and making their own electricity. We deliver services ranging from energy audits and consultation, to lighting retrofits through installing on-site solar or wind generation.
What green product or service could you not live without?
Erika: My compost spinners and piles. They help keep my trash down to practically nothing.