Film uses Vermonters to send energy message

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(Host) A new movie shows businesses how to clean up the environment, and improve their bottom line.

The film is called The Green Makeover. It tells the story of Vermont companies that save money by cutting waste and energy use.

The film’s sponsors want to spread the word, so they’ve sent copies to 3,800 Vermont businesses.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Elmore Song writer Jon Gailmor was one of several well-known Vermonters who donated their time to help with the film.

Besides writing and performing the theme song, Gailmor has a cameo role as one of three men in black. He’s part of a mythic team of eco-agents who help cut energy use and save the environment.

The real green team in this movie are a group of technical consultants from the state and Efficiency Vermont. These experts conducted an environmental assessment of Johnson Woolen Mills.

The film shows Logan Brown from Efficiency Vermont as he looks for savings at the plant.

(Brown) “Throughout the store, I see you’re using a lot of older technology, tubular fluorescent T-12 lighting. And one of the recommendations I’m going to make is to switch to new, high performance T-8 lighting.”

(Dillon) Other experts look for heat leaking from the woolen mills old buildings. The owner of the company, Stacy Manosh, was impressed by the green team’s results.

(Manosh) “I had no idea that there were so many great organizations out there with great technologies. Logan from Efficiency Vermont showed us how to save $6,000 a year on our lighting. It was absolutely wonderful.”

(Dillon) The Green Makeover movie is written in the style of public television’s This Old House. There’s practical advice served up with a generous helping of some quirky, down-home humor.

Local Actor Rusty DeWees, also known as the Logger – tries on some classic red long underwear. And you may have heard this character before.

(Lange) “I see you’ve doing some renovation, the place has changed since the last time.”

(Store clerk) “Yeah, they’re going through with the lighting and making it more efficient.”

(Lange) “Well, if you’ll ring me up, dear, I gotta get back to work!”

(Dillon) That was guest star and VPR commentator Willem Lange. He’s joined by some other well-known Vermonters.

(Sanders) “You’re generating more electricity than you’re consuming, right?”

(Dillon) In the movie, US Senator Bernie Sanders visits Draker Solar Design in Burlington. The company’s solar-powered building is so efficient that at times it produces more electricity than it needs.

(Sanders) “I should think that businesses who are worried about the cost of electricity, fuel in general, would be interested in how they could pay zero for a suite of rooms. That’s a pretty good electric price, right? I’d like to know how to do that.”

(Dillon) The film was written and conceived by Daniel Hecht. He directs the Vermont Environmental Consortium, an organization that tries to promote both business and environmental opportunities.

(Hecht) “The idea that environmentalism is anti-business is no longer correct. And the idea that the state maintains a function only to regulate and force compliance on business is also incorrect.”

(Dillon) The movie spreads the word that there’s plenty of help available to get businesses to green up their bottom line.

(Hecht) “So the best message is, it’s time to go green, and it’s easy and it’s fun. And the second message is a lot of technical points. One of the things I hoped we pointed out in there is that you can be creative in solving the particular aspects of your business.”

(Dillon) The film is in the mail to some 3,800 Vermont companies. It cost $50,000 to make and was funded by the state, the federal government and other non-profit organizations.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.

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