Sustainable small businesses do more than hug trees. They’re reducing energy costs, eliminating waste and shoring up their supply chain. And they’re attracting the 69 percent of customers who want to buy green. It makes good business sense to be a green business. But it can also require an investment in equipment or modifications to realize these gains. Did you know there is government-sponsored assistance to help? Take a look at these programs to see if one is right for you.
Sustainable businesses meet two goals. They serve the needs of their customers, and they protect the natural environment. This might include starting a recycling program, ethically sourcing your raw materials or being more energy efficient. It can also include “green innovation” – creating a new product or service that’s environmentally friendly.
The Small Business Administration lists these government sources to help business become more energy efficient:
- Industrial Assessment Centers – Small manufacturers are eligible for a no-cost assessment that identifies ways to improve productivity, reduce waste and save energy. It typically identifies more than $130,000 in potential savings, which can be used to recoup investment. See these case studies for examples from actual businesses.
- Directory of Energy Efficient Programs (DEEP) – Find organizations in your state that sponsor ENERGY STAR efficiency programs. They may offer financial and technical assistance to improve the energy efficiency of your business.
- Environmental Protection Agency Office of Small Business Programs – Offers resources, information and ideas to reduce your business’ environmental impact. For example, the E3 program provides technical assistance to locate environmentally-friendly suppliers.
- Energy Efficiency Grants – The U. S. Department of Energy helps you identify tax credits, rebates and savings in your state. For example, Arizona features the Energy Efficiency Solutions for Business program. It gives eligible businesses incentives that cover up to 90 percent of lighting and refrigeration project costs.
- Guide to Federal Financing for Energy Efficiency – Provides information on federal financing programs that find capital for energy efficiency and clean energy projects. One of these is the New Market Tax Credit Program. It helps small businesses in low-income communities access to financing for renewable energy installations.