A new plumbing business in La Grande has responded to the call for greener business ways.

Union County natives Aaron and Jamie Akers opened Aaron Akers Plumbing this summer with the goal of avoiding some traditional plumbing methods for practices that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Treating pipes with harsh chemicals and installing upright water heaters is no longer in the best interest of the environment or a customer's energy bill, according to the Akers.

"I don't use chemicals during my water pipe installation" Aaron Akers said. Instead, he crimps piping that it is durable, flexible and chemical free.

And Aaron Akers said using green technology can pay off in reduced energy and water bills to customers. For example, he said low-flow toilets conserve water compared to typical toilets, and tankless water heaters that hang directly on the wall are more energy efficient, too.

The couple opened the business after attending several classes through the Small Business Development Center and Northeast Oregon Economic Development District. The couple hope the contacts from the classes can pay off in spreading the word that green is the way to go. They believe incorporating sustainable practices in their businesses can encourage others to do so.

"By going through these programs, it allowed us to start it off right," Aaron Akers said. "We were also able to network with other businesses and help each other get started."

And the husband-and-wife team said they make the effort to take waste to the recycle center and Island City Salvage.

"I'm trying to figure out a fun way to recycle old toilets, too," Jamie Akers said.

Aaron Akers also stressed consumers should check with their energy companies for available rebates or assistance by converting to more energy efficient appliances and plumbing.

For more information and tips for greener plumbing practices, visit www.AaronAkersPlumbing.com.

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