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Conservationists by Coincidence?

“If you got only one take away from this Green Week here on CNBC,” Cramer said Thursday, “I hope it’s the soul-crushing revelation that saving the environment and making money in stocks to augment your paycheck are incompatible goals in this particular market.”

Don’t believe him? Check his report on First Solar. And remember what CSX CEO Michael Ward told “Mad Money,” that 50 percent of voters like coal, and how it powers 63 percent of the US. Plus, the only way these solar stocks and wind companies and lithium-ion battery makers can survive is through government largess. And that’s just not available during this time of very tight budgets.

Therefore, investors must consider all renewable-energy stocks, and the exchange-traded funds that own them, toxic, radioactive—choose your pun. Just stay the heck away from them. If you’re going to try to play green at all, then find the companies that aren’t dependent entirely on an environmentally conscious business for profits.

Case in point: EnerNOC , a company Cramer recommended as a play on the smart power grid. He realizes now that he should have endorsed Honeywell International instead, as its myriad other divisions can make up for any lumpiness in smart-grid revenues. EnerNOC, though, was a pure play on the space, and as a result it’s down since Cramer’s Aug. 3 recommendation.

Honeywell is, as Cramer described it, a “conservationist by coincidence,” and it’s exactly the kind of semi-green angle that can make investors money, if they insist on trading this trend. Because in the end, corporations aren’t going to spend dough on renewable energy, but they will do almost anything to save money. And that’s where companies like Honeywell come in.

See, a big trend right now in cost savings is in heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. HVAC, for short. It allows for the decreased use of energy through power management. So while we may still operate on a coal-based power system, these updated HVAC systems help us to burn less of that energy.

Even better is that right now we happen to be in an HVAC bull market, as regulators push for minimum energy-efficiency standards and companies look for ways to save money on their electric bills. Not to mention, a lot of old HVAC systems are being replaced with newer ones, and that’s driving sales in this industry as well.

The key here, because HVAC is a late-cycle play—meaning it takes off when the economy heats up—is to buy these stocks before business is booming. Like now.

So who’s the best? Cramer likes three companies: the aforementioned Honeywell, Emerson Electric and Eaton . All of them offer entry into the energy-efficiency market, and all of them are worth a look by investors looking to trade this space.

“I want you to forget the wind-power clean energy,” Cramer said. “That is a money loser. So is solar. More efficient energy is the moneymaker, which is why I like Honeywell, why I like Emerson and why I like Eaton.”

When this story published, Cramer’s charitable trust owned Honeywell International.

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