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Using sun, wind … and honey? Cox Printers diversifies its commitment

For Martin Rubin (left) and Michael Kaufman, going green is the only way to go.-(PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

A large array of solar panels, two wind turbines and a duo of honeybee hives.
The roof of Cox Printers in Linden is a medley of environmentally friendly elements — ranging from the state-of-the-art to the unconventional — that has to be seen to be believed.

And many are more than eager to do just that.

Being a printing service provider that’s actually a place that people request tours of is a point of pride for the eccentric Michael Kaufman, the company’s president.

“If you’re in the world of retail, you want to be a destination — that’s obvious,” he said. “We want to be a destination, even as a commercial business-to-business (printing company).”

But it required a major investment from the company, which has around $4 million in annual revenue and 33 employees.

Kaufman couldn’t, as he said, put his money on his printing shop’s copy machine and pay for it that way.

The company spent $95,000 on the purchase and installation of 8,000 square feet of solar panels in 2011. After that, the company added two Honeywell WindTronic 6500 wind turbines for $25,000.

If the next couple of winters don’t dump “20 feet of snow” on the company’s solar equipment as last winter did, Kaufman said he may see that seven-year return on investment on the panels.

The wind power was more of a gamble, and he’s not even sure how long it will take for it to yield a return. A steady 30-mph wind is not common to Linden, but he keeps hoping for it.

Between the two energy solutions, the company reports that it saves $500 per month on energy bills. But, Kaufman said, it’s not all about the money.

“ROI can be measured in different terms — it can be by the dollars, or it can be by the way you feel,” he said. “When I started doing this I had two young daughters. … I wanted to ensure we were doing something good for their future.”

Brett Johnson

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