Getting greener: Is peer pressure key?

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July 5, 2013, 10:51 am
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(NECN/NBC News: Chris Clackum)-  President Obama recently outlined administration plans for limiting pollution and encouraging new energy technologies. But some experts say it's the consumer, rather than the government who is really changing the way America produces and uses power.

When President Obama spoke last month at Georgetown University, he outlined broad plans reducing pollution and increasing alternative energy production.

But some industry watchers say it may be the consumer who leads the country down a greener path.

“Alternative energy is definitely growing across the globe and across the US. It's becoming much more mainstream as a generation source,” says Marlene Montyka, who leads Deloitte's alternative energy consulting business.

Their recent study found that in many cases businesses are responding to the expectations of their customers as well as their accountants.

“Their consumers, their shareholders want them to look at green alternatives,” she says.

A concept put in practice by BMW at their South Carolina production facility. Using landfill gas, solar energy, and hydrogen fuel cell technology they've lowered their energy costs by 40-percent over the last five years.

 “Customers expect that a premium brand like a BMW is manufactured in an environmental-friendly process,” says Josef Kerscher, president of BMW manufacturing in US.

Deloitte's study also found that while they're still concerned about the cost, consumers are growing more interested in alternative energy sources and energy efficiency in the home, especially if their friends and neighbors are doing it

“If a relative or friend or co-worker has adopted something and then talks about it and realizes the impact it could have or how easy it is to utilize or install, then more people are willing to accept that technology and try it out themselves,” says Montyka.

Something witty about the key to solving global warming may be peer pressure rather than presidential decree.

Tags: Green, Georgetown University, pollution, President Barack Obama, global warming, Green energy, NBC News, Chris Clackum, marlene montyka
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