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Green Business

After addressing energy-efficiency opportunities available in your facility, you may also want to consider renewable energy. Renewable energy refers to electricity supplied from energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, and biomass. These energy sources are considered renewable sources because they are continuously replenished.

Saving More Than You Know

When you invest in energy efficiency, the benefits go far beyond saving energy and money, and protecting the environment by helping prevent pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

ENERGY STAR qualified products are equal to or better than standard products of the same type, but the good news is they use less energy! And since they use less energy, ENERGY STAR qualified products save you money on your utility bills while helping to protect the environment by causing fewer harmful greenhouse gas emissions. The following links provides access to calculators of various types of ENERGY STAR qualified products.

A tax credit can provide significant savings. It reduces the amount of income tax you have to pay. Unlike a deduction, which reduces the amount of income subject to tax, a tax credit directly reduces the tax itself.

The following resources provide information on federal tax credits available to small businesses for making energy efficiency upgrades.

Tax Credits for Home Builders

You may wonder, "Where should I start?" Do I replace one piece of equipment or system at a time? Or, should I do a comprehensive upgrade of my entire facility? The answer will vary depending on each individual business' situation. The age of your current equipment and facility systems, your type of business, your local utility rates, your hours of operation, and your access to capital are all key factors in what level of upgrade makes business sense.

The size and complexity of the energy-efficiency project your business undertakes will most likely be the main factor in deciding who will manage the project. For something as simple as replacing HVAC filters or replacing incandescent lamps (light bulbs) with ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), you or your staff could do it yourselves.

Getting Started with Few Hassles

As the saying goes, "time is money" and that can be particularly true for small businesses. However, not taking time (to save energy) can mean big money lost.

Reduction in daily energy costs and monthly utility bills for the lifetime of your business can make it well worth the time needed to pursue effective-efficiency upgrades. Here are some strategies to jump-start your energy savings:

It always pays to do your homework before investing in energy-efficient equipment such as ENERGY STAR qualified products. What products and equipment really work? How much will it cost to install? Where do you find the money? How quickly will you recover your investment? There are many resources to help you get the answers that will work for your business.

Analysis Tools and Resources

Access to capital for an energy-efficiency upgrade need not be an issue. Some upgrades require little funding. For those that do require investment, don't worry; there are many traditional and non-traditional financial resources available. A well-designed upgrade can provide your business a positive cash flow from energy savings while paying off the capital investment for new equipment.

For small, inexpensive projects, you may want to use your own internal funds to pay for the upgrade in order to keep your payback period low and return on investment high.

You can't see energy, so it can be difficult to visualize the potential savings lying undiscovered in your facility. However, you can see and easily understand those utility bills you receive each month. Visualize your energy bill being lower by 25 to 30 percent, or even more. Visualize your potential energy savings as an appreciable pile of cash that could go to your bottom line instead of to your local utility.

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