The Greentrepreneur: Joule Energy

"Follow your gut" – it's a general rule of thumb for running a company and really, living your life, but few of us listen as closely to our internal convictions as Julian Thomas, leader, entrepreneur, and successful business owner of Joule Energy. As the first B Corporation in the State and one of the most successful solar companies in Louisiana, Joule Energy is living proof that a business can be socially and environmentally responsible while also creating high-quality jobs for our community. Joule is run by a team of 16 employees who receive health benefits, enjoy a flexible work environment, and also know their work is contributing to a larger benefit to our community, both locally and globally. Thomas explained his holistic perspective as a business owner, where he believes that creating quality jobs is interdependent on the company's social and environmental impact: "As a B Corp, taking care of our employees is part of the mission and our triple responsibility, meeting higher standards of transparency, accountability, and performance." This past spring, Louisiana became the 8th State in the country to support B Corp Legislation, allowing businesses to change their legal status in order to protect them when making decisions that are driven by a social or environmental impact. Joule Energy was one of the first Certified companies in the State and helped drive this legislation as a community champion. Even beyond policy, staff benefits, and the general mission of the organization, Joule considers every aspect of its operation to support and uplift our environment and community. Ranging from composting to their own solar rooftop installation, Joule is one of LifeCity's few certified Leaders in the Impact Economy and winner of last year’s Sustainable Business Awards. "We compost, recycle scrap metal, and try to reduce our energy usage regularly. We have also partnered with a local artist, Brent Houzenga, who takes scrap wood and electrical boxes to use as instillation art. We allow the local community to take our pallets and used wire spools. One man converts our spools into tables and gives them away to his family and friends. We are glad that our waste can be upcycled to benefit others.” While walking through Joule Energy's warehouse and seeing the organized recycling piles from aluminum to electrical boxes, it appears that their conviction for sustainability is a walk in the park, but it takes real time and attention. "The only challenge is weighing Eco vs Eco," says Thomas. "We always have to consider the ecological vs the economic impacts of our decisions." In general, Thomas reports that they choose the decision that supports the environment and community, and we certainly found that to be true throughout our LifeCity assessment. "The main thing we can say to companies is follow your gut. Weigh the cost benefit, but look again at the benefit from a global level. Does it help you, your employees, your city and the world? Try to make the best decision for the whole world." In today's shifting economy, it is those daily decisions that consider the world that will lead tomorrow's future. Congratulations, Joule Energy – we look forward to watching your company continue to grow and succeed. Keep following your gut.

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