MILFORD, Ohio - Tucked away in a valley in Milford, Melink, an alternative energy company, has a wind turbine, geothermal heating and cooling, and solar panels around its campus. Recently, Melink has been recognized as a net-zero energy company. That means that it uses no energy from the power company.
"I am confident the sun will rise," said company owner Steve Melink by news release. "I believe it is a much better investment than many other options available."
Melink is known to keep the building so cold in the winter, that he purchased his employees sweaters imported from Italy, to keep them warm. One of the other ways the company cuts its energy use is by using natural lighting.
"We don't turn on unnecessary lights," said Marketing Director,Colleen Hines. "The lights are on timers, or we use low wattage task lights, if needed, because we have so many windows in the building a lot of times lights aren't needed."
The cost cutting measure has the company saving big. Its energy bill used to be as high as $1,500 a month and now there is a $400 credit. Basically, the building produces more energy than the business uses, and it pumps electricity back to Duke Energy, to receive a credit.
"We send enough back, for four months in a row, [that] we actual had a credit with them," said Hines.
Angela Zimmerman says that her family has benefited from the behavioral changes at Melink. She began working as a Controller in January and admitted it took some getting used to.
"I mean you're used to coming in your office and flipping on your light switch and it being on all the time," said Zimmerman.
She began implementing light usage and other techniques from work to cut her energy bills 10 to 15 percent. Angela says her bills used to be as high as $300.
"All of these are small changes that may take some time, " said Zimmerman. "When you put them all together, they benefit you in your pocketbook. It is easier to do than what people think is what I would say is the lesson learned."
Hines admitted, that the building cost an extra 20 percent to construct with all of the energy producing devices on, in and around it. However, their efficiency, Hines explained, have paid for themselves since the building was completed in 2006.
Melink said the company had $17 million dollars in sales during 2010. His projections suggest an improvement to $30 million by the end of 2011.
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