Watch out, Black Friday and Cyber Monday: there's a new shopping day in town.  Small Business Saturday encourages shoppers to kick off the holiday season on Main Street because, "When we all shop small, it will be huge." There's real possibility behind this feel-good slogan: half of America's workers either own or work for a small business, and their businesses champion local causes and create local character.  That's certainly true for the home performance industry, because the advantages of buying local apply to building local, too.  Here's how:

Help the environment: Shopping downtown reduces the sprawl associated with big box strip malls and the carbon cost of shipping goods from afar, but improving your home’s energy efficiency is the ultimate green move.  One-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions come from residential structures, and the average home performance upgrade reduces energy use by 25%.

Encourage entrepreneurship: Making American homes more energy efficient has a double financial benefit: homeowners save money by cutting energy costs, and workers earn money by retrofitting exisiting homes. The only stumbling block in this win-win scenario is a lack of green entrepreneurs, but improving your home’s comfort and efficiency directly encourages this new breed of business.

Foster local job creation: Retrofitting and weatherizing older homes - especially in Maine, which has the oldest housing stock in the nation - will be an ongoing process, requiring a new “green-collar” workforce. Trained home performance contractors are in demand, and they’re uniquely qualified for sustainable jobs that cannot be exported.

Keep local dollars in the local economy: Half of the oil we use each day is imported – which is as far from local as it gets.  Energy efficient homes reduce our dependence on foreign oil and keep dollars that might have gone overseas right here in Maine.

Celebrate what makes our community unique: Old houses are the norm in Maine.  From ship captain’s mansions to hundred-year-old farmhouses, these buildings tell the unique story of our communities.  Home performance retrofitting preserves the historic character of old homes while meeting modern expectations for comfort and energy efficiency – making the buildings and the community stronger.

Nurture our community: Our homes are the centerpiece of our community.  When homeowners, green entrepreneurs, and green-collar construction workers collaborate to make them more comfortable, more energy efficient, and more durable, we’re demonstrating our confidence in the community we share.