Ask the Meadmaker – Let the Sun Shine In

In which Ricky the Meadmaker chats with Duane Peterson, Co-President and Founder of SunCommon, announces that Groennfell is now officially a B Corp and shares plans for going solar in 2020.
Further Reading:
SunCommon
Certified B Corporation

Ricky Klein 
This week we're not actually talking about making mead. We're talking about what it takes to make mead, which is actually sort of what we always talk about.

Welcome to Ask the Meadmaker, where I, Ricky the Meadmaker, answer your questions about mead making, mead drinking, mead brewing, and really any question you're willing to send me. 

No real questions this week. This is Duane Peterson. Hi, Duane. 


Duane Peterson
Good to see you. 


Ricky Klein
So, Duane Peterson owns, runs, CEO of, one of the most amazing companies in Vermont and he is on our show today to talk about B Corps and how B Corps are helping change the world because guys, we just became one, after like 146 hours of compliance paperwork. So, Duane, tell them what you do.


Duane Peterson 
Well, SunCommon is Vermont's largest provider of residential, community, and commercial solar. So, we are a market solution to climate change. We're trying to do our bit to address the crisis of our time, and that is the climate. We are a benefit corporation and SunCommon is a certified B Corp. So, the point of that is to document. Every business decision we make is an opportunity to reflect our values. Who we hire, how we care for them, how we operate in the community, what we do for the planet, every business decision is an opportunity to do it right. And so, with that focus, it kind of helps us run our business truly sustainably. 


Ricky Klein
And part of the reason I wanted to have Duane specifically on is one, if I said all those things about us becoming a B Corp, I would have sounded like I was bragging. And two, one of the biggest inputs for making mead, especially at a commercial level is not the honey. It's not the water. It's the power that goes into it. And we've talked in the past about some of our really cool innovations here about how we're recapturing our heat, you can go read all of our articles, but we're going to be working with SunCommon over the next few months to finally go solar. So we've been with the Cow Power program for Green Mountain Power, which is amazing. You can go watch E-I-E-I-O, one of our old episodes, all about how much we love it. 

But what are the benefits of going solar for someone that is an energy intensive industry?


Duane Peterson
Well, the formation of electricity, typically across the United States, involves the burning of fossil fuels. And that just pours carbon pollution into our atmosphere. And we all know what that's doing. So, we now have the opportunity not to kick the can down the road, not to stick our kids with this problem. But like, right here, right now, in most of America, folks can power their homes, they can fuel their vehicles, they can heat and cool their homes or their businesses with clean energy. And what's really cool about it is it's not just not far off. It's something we can do here and now, but we can mostly provide the opportunity to actually save money while you're doing that. So, I don't know, do the right thing and save money in the process. Like, that turns out to be kind of a winning thing. And the clean energy industry, therefore, is just exploding.


Ricky Klein
And everyone knows from past episodes, I am at base level stingy. And so when there is something that we can do as a company that provides us long term benefits, this is an obvious one for us. Environmental solutions aren't always obvious, but we felt like going solar was. Becoming a B Corp was long and exhausting, but we think that it makes our company more sustainable in the long run. Our employees stick around. We are able to come to work every day and have a good environment to work in. I've been down to SunCommon many times. And you certainly do as well. So, you guys do events all over the state, right? 


Duane Peterson
We do. 


Ricky Klein
And we're hosting one here this Friday. I know that about 90% of you are somewhere else on Earth. They can't come to St. Albans this Friday. But, thank you for being part of our community, part of the reason we wanted to commit to being a B Corp. Thank you for all you do for our Vermont community. Keep sending your questions. Come drink with us if you can. Keep sending your questions I will answer them eventually. Cheers.

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