- In the first seven months of 2009, green funds _______ standard funds by ________
B. Although the market has been weak this year because of the financial crisis, green investment funds have done relatively well -- out performing Standard & Poor's 500-stock index by 3 to 1. And green funds are expected to continue doing well, as the Obama administration pursues policies that benefit alternative-energy businesses.
- Although saving paper by paying bills online sounds good, it's not as safe as receiving bills in the mail and mailing back a check.
False. Paying your bills online can actually help prevent identity theft. And by doing so, you can reduce the amount of paper used and the energy costs of delivering the mail. You can do almost all of your banking online, as well as pay utility and cell-phone bills.
- As you search for green investment opportunities, you need to look out for "greenwashing."
True. It's easy to find examples of greenwashing -- companies whose claims to be environmentally friendly are mostly just a marketing gimmick. But that doesn't mean that all green opportunities are bogus. If you do some research and work with mutual funds you trust, you'll be able to find plenty of respectable green investments.
- What are the top four states for "cleantech" (industries centered on efficiency and energy savings)?
A. Cleantech is an up-and-coming industry mostly known for efficiency and energy savings. As discussed in our Green Investing group on Climate Crossroads, the top states for cleantech firms are California, Texas, Massachusetts, and Colorado, where capital, colleges, wind farms, and educated workers abound.
- Socially responsible investors often refer to the triple bottom line:
D. Traditionally, publicly owned businesses have been beholden only to shareholders, but businesses committed to the triple bottom line often speak about their "stakeholders," and consider the communities affected by their work and the environmental impacts of their practices in addition to profits.
- When it comes to banking and the environment, all banks are the same.
False. Several banks across the country have adopted the triple bottom line model or have stated environmental goals. E3bank, for example, will soon offer loans to people pursuing alternative energy projects, and New Resource Bank offers a certificate of deposit that raises money for solar-energy projects in California while you earn interest.
- Your "green" portfolio should include mostly companies that make products like wind turbines and photovoltaic cells.
False. While it is important to invest in companies that actually make products like wind turbines (how else are we going to get alternative energy projects off the ground?), you should also consider companies that are working to reduce carbon emissions or cut down on packaging. Google, for example, has started several initiatives to support alternative energy and reduce its energy consumption.
- For every dollar in energy savings an office building with an Energy Star rating has, landlords can expect ______ in property value.
C. A study conducted by Center for the Study of Energy Markets at the University of California found that rental rates for "green" buildings were three percent higher than in regular buildings. That worked out to about $18 of increased value for every $1 put towards energy savings.
- From a carbon-emissions standpoint, it always makes sense to buy a new, more efficient car if you can afford it.
False. It depends on the car. If you are trading in an older car that gets 25 miles per gallon for a new car that gets only 30 miles per gallon, then it's probably not worth it. That's because, as a 2004 Toyota study found, as much as 28 percent of a car's lifetime emissions come from the manufacturing process.
But if you are trading in a 15-mile-per-gallon SUV for a new Prius, then it's definitely worth it. Plus, by supporting hybrid and electric cars now, you can help establish a market for cleaner cars in the future. Then again, you might also consider not buying a car.
- It always makes sense to buy green products.
False. Not necessarily. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that you need to buy products advertised as "green," but there are a few questions you should ask yourself before you do. First, do you really need it? It's not really green if you won't use it. Second, if you do need it, can you find an alternative repurposed good? Finally, if you need it and can't find it used, do some research using a site like Good Guide to make sure the "green" claim holds up to scrutiny. And don't forget to consider quality, if nothing else, so that you can get years of use out of whatever you're buying.