Talks Business
July 2019

Rutabaga Buys Green Power for 10+ Years

Darren Bush

Darren Bush, owner of Rutabaga Paddlesports, has purchased green power for his business for more than 10 years. 'It's just about doing the right thing.'

Just as canoeing is second nature to Darren Bush, so is making choices that are good for the environment. As the owner of Rutabaga Paddlesports, Bush gets to act on both every day. He shares his passion for the outdoors by introducing people to paddlesports and helping customers with equipment and related products. At the same time, he powers his business with clean energy.
 
For more than 10 years, Bush has purchased green power from MGE for his Monona specialty shop, which sits at a small inlet that flows into Lakes Monona and Waubesa.
 
"Why wouldn't I buy green power?" he asked. "We are an organization that thrives on clean water and air and the earth being a better place. It's a small price to pay to do my part."
 
MGE's Green Power Tomorrow (GPT) program is an easy, affordable way for MGE electric customers to purchase more of their energy from renewable sources. GPT customers pay a penny more per kilowatt-hour. Participants can choose a fixed dollar amount or any percent of their monthly energy use. It is one way businesses can help to advance renewable energy and protect the environment.
 
"The cost doesn't matter to me—in fact I don't even notice anything extra on my bill," said Bush who also purchases green energy for his home. "It's just about doing the right thing."
 
GPT is a win for businesses like Rutabaga, but the benefits extend further. GPT supports clean energy generation across the region. Energy purchased through GPT is generated by MGE's wind farms in Wisconsin and Iowa.
 
MGE continues to grow its use of wind and solar resources. The company is targeting net-zero carbon electricity for all customers by 2050. Learn more about MGE's transition to a cleaner energy future at energy2030together.com.
 
By working together, we can create a cleaner environment. GPT is an easy way for businesses to do more now. If you would like to purchase clean, renewable energy for your business or home, visit mge.com/gpt.
 
An even greener workplace
In addition to buying green power, Bush makes other environmentally friendly actions part of the daily routine at Rutabaga. Shipping is one area with opportunities to make an impact. Rutabaga works with manufacturers to ship goods as efficiently as possible.
 
"If there is space on a truck, we will try to arrange a pickup from another supplier at another location. By combining loads and being flexible with delivery timeframes, we are using resources more efficiently," Bush said. "And in some cases, we have manufacturers who typically compete now partnering with each other and with us to help the environment."
 
Another example is working with a manufacturer in northern Wisconsin that ships paddles in poly bags. Rutabaga removes the bags and sends them back to the manufacturer to be reused.
 
"This isn't something we have to do, the manufacturer doesn't require it," Bush said. "But from our perspective, it's exactly what we should do. We don't think twice about it."
 
Rutabaga also upgraded to all LED lighting in recent years.
 
"With LED lighting quality being good and payback taking just a couple years, this is another easy way to reduce our carbon footprint," Bush said.
 
While living green is part of the philosophy at Rutabaga, Bush also encourages his 50 employees to make smart choices outside of work—and on their way to and from work. Employees who ride their bike to work can earn a financial incentive. Bush sets an example by commuting nine miles daily on his electric bike. And, since he charges his bike at his home, which is powered 100% by green energy, it's a carbon neutral commute.
 
"There's nothing amazing about what we believe or what we do. It just makes sense," Bush explained. "The right business decision is the right decision for the environment."