In addition to using solar panels at its Boulder and Denver offices, the company has taken extensive steps to make the buildings environmentally friendly. The Denver offices have already been certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the Boulder office is in the process of achieving the organization's Gold certification.
"We want to walk our talk and be green ourselves and set a powerful example for others in our community," Namasté Solar President and CEO Blake Jones explained.
Jones provided 9NEWS with a tour of the Boulder office, highlighting the many environmental features. The former warehouse was renovated by Namasté Solar to efficiently use Colorado's sunlight to warm and light the offices.
"We've poked holes in all the walls to put in windows. We've put in the clerestory in the ceiling to let in more natural daylight. As a result we don't have to have the lights on as much," Jones said.
When lights are needed they are triggered by motion sensors and, as you might imagine, powered by saved solar power. In fact, solar power is used to power all the company's computers, appliances and even a cappuccino machine. Fans circulate air in a giant circle through the offices keeping the temperature manageable, even in the summer time.
The company also recycles all of the cardboard and Styrofoam used to ship the solar panels and has worked with the manufacturers to limit waste.
Despite the recession, 2009 was a great year for Namasté Solar and Jones says 2010 may be even better. In the past year, the price of solar panels has dropped nearly 40 percent, making the renewable energy option more affordable for home and business owners.
"The cost has come down dramatically and also the efficiency has gone up. And by efficiency we mean a panel of the same size can produce more watts, more watts per square foot than it used to," Jones said.
The solar industry has benefited from subsidies, like the one in the economic stimulus plan announced by President Obama during his visit to Denver a year ago. Namasté Solar was highlighted by the president during the event. Jones believes the industry will soon be able to compete without the government's help, however.
"We're hoping in the next 10 years, we will wean the solar industry completely off of subsidies. It will be able to stand on its own two feet and compete head on with subsidized conventional energy sources," Jones said.
He believes the popularity of solar energy is because it's a tangible way environmentally-minded homeowners can contribute.
"It's something you can put on your own roof. You can make direct impact. You can participate in the New Energy Economy, you can participate in the solution by having a solar system on your roof," Jones said.
He believes solar units will become as common on homes as a chimney or satellite dish and any home builders will incorporate the devices in their designs.
"I think that every roof that gets constructed is going to be designed with solar in mind, so solar fits nice and neatly on the south facing roof. Right now a lot of the homes that were constructed in the past have plumbing vents, they have chimneys such that it's not always easy to put a solar system on the roof," Jones said.
The company says solar panels can make a real difference for Coloradans. In some cases they cover the entire energy needs of the home, exchanging energy with power companies when there is a surplus.
"You'll sell it back to the grid and it will spin your meter backwards, giving you retail credit for all the electricity you produce," Jones said.
Namasté Solar was recently selected as one of the 50 Colorado Companies to Watch by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Every Thursday 9NEWS reports about another company, highlighting its success in this difficult economy.
To see those stories, visit http://www.9news.com/life/programming/shows/mornings/ctw/.
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