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Sustainably Speaking

‘Plunging Into Green’ is a must read

For the August issue of CONTRACTOR, I wrote an article about a variety of educational programs contractors can take to learn about cutting-edge technologies and gain skills applicable to their profession. Click here to read the article “Be a Cutting-edge Contractor.”

In the process of conducting interviews for the article, I spoke to John Smith, owner of Big John the Toilet Guy, Tucson, Ariz. John took a series of Green Plumbers USA courses to become a Green Plumber and also took a series of classes to become an instructor, so he could teach his staff about water conservation, products and systems. At the end of my interview with John, he offered to send me a book he wrote about his experience with Green Plumbers USA.

I just finished reading his book, “Plunging Into Green,” which is a true testament to how learning about water conservation changed his business and personal life. By taking Green Plumbers USA courses and being open to learning about conservation, John’s business started to grow. He attributes this growth, along with his own personal change, to Green Plumbers USA. If he never took the first step, going to Las Vegas to take Green Plumbers USA courses, he would not be an advocate of water conservation and his company, now known for its water-conservation philosophy and business practices, would not be a main staple in the community.

Here are some points John makes in his book that resonate with me:

-The best way to accomplish goals is to take things one step at a time.

-Conservation involves a balance between business and believing that it’s the right thing to do. Sustainable practices may require a certain amount of financial sustainability as well.

-Surround yourself with like-minded people. They can be inspiring, giving fresh insights.

-Don’t be afraid to ask questions and admit that you do not fully understand a concept, product, system, etc. When in doubt, ask an expert and they will usually be happy to answer questions, so you can learn something new.

-Remember that it is impossible to save every drop of water. If you have realistic expectations of others and yourself, you will be more productive in the long run.

Anyone interested in water or energy conservation should read this book. It’s an easy read, and a great example of the benefits, both personally and professionally, of being open minded to learning something new.