Embracing innovation to solve difficult energy challenges

[caption id="attachment_72578" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Some 3,444 solar panels installed at the Mark West Quarry are capable of producing 1,165 megawatts of clean energy annually. (Business Journal file photo)[/caption]

As climate change bears down on us, one solution is to eliminate energy-guzzling businesses. In many cases, a better solution for these businesses is innovation -- making money while going green.

BoDean, a local supplier of aggregate and asphalt, has transformed the face of quarry operation and asphalt production. In 2011, they won the Bay Area Helios Award for leadership in Sustainable Business Practices. As they celebrate their 25th anniversary, it seems important to showcase their remarkable achievements both in quarry management and at the asphalt plant on Maxwell Drive in Santa Rosa.Go green, make money: BoDean Company's story

Can a business stay profitable while going green? BoDean Company, an aggregate and asphalt producer in Sonoma County, discovered that in making changes in their operations to conserve resources and reduce emissions, they saved money as well. As it turns out, it’s profitable to do the right thing.

Video and editing by Andrea Allen.

Photography by Andy Ferguson.

Produced by Business for Clean Energy and the Climate Protection Campaign.

Dean and Belinda Soiland took over operations of the Mark West Quarry near Calistoga in 1989. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors was phasing out mining in the Russian River. The Soilands set out to prove he could produce high quality material from a hillside quarry with the smallest environmental footprint possible.

In 2011, that quarry became the first in the world to run on 100 percent solar power. Bill Williams, general manager, talked about the process. "One of the biggest hurdles was getting the management team on board with a capital expenditure of over $4 million. Was solar financially responsible?" 

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