Bottom Line “Green” Strategies for Businesses

Everyday business owners and managers are meeting to discuss operating expenses and profits. But how often do you see “Green Strategies” as a line item on the agenda? Not often enough but more often now than in the past for a good reason; green business strategies increase profitability.

When a business implements green strategies they reduce waste, increase efficiency and lower their operating costs. Not only do you help improve the environment, you profit by doing so. Where do you start?

There are a significant amount of resources available from organizations, companies and government agencies.

Industrial Technologies Program (ITP): Leads national efforts to improve industrial energy efficiency and environmental performance. ITP is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and contributes to its efforts by partnering with U.S. industry in a coordinated program of research and development, validation, and dissemination of energy efficiency technologies and operating practices. There is a wealth of information available on their website including additional details concerning the Industrial Assessment Centers (more info below).

Industrial Assessment Centers: The Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs), sponsored by EERE’s Industrial Technologies Program, provide eligible small- and medium-sized manufacturers with no-cost energy assessments. Additionally, the IACs serve as a training ground for the next-generation of energy savvy engineers. Manufacturers can request an energy audit from IACS. A team of energy specialists will visit your facility, perform an energy audit and help you identify projects that conserve energy and reduce waste.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE): DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I have conducted dozens of environmental audits in North Carolina. The state does a fabulous job providing information to businesses, consultants and the public. If you can’t find what you need on their website, give them a call – they are very helpful.

Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program: Partnership of environmental agencies, utilities and nonprofit organizations that assist, recognize and promote businesses and government agencies that volunteer to operate in a more environmentally responsible way. To be certified “green,” participants must be in compliance with all regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution and minimizing waste; all of which result in lowering costs and increasing profits. The program was initially developed by local governments in the San Francisco Bay Area in collaboration with US EPA, Cal EPA Department of Toxic Substances Control and the business community. Although the program is focused on the Northern California area, they offer a variety of business resources you can use to reduce waste including “Green Business Checklists” such as the following for:

Buying Green Power in Your State – Green Power Network: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Green Power Network provides news and information on green power markets and related activities. This site provides state-by-state information on Green Power Marketing in Competitive Electricity Markets and Utility Green Pricing Programs. In addition, the site lists marketers of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) (also known as green tags or tradable renewable certificates), which represent the environmental attributes of the power produced from a renewable energy project. Whether or not consumers have access to green power through their local utility or a competitive electricity marketer, consumers can purchase RECs without having to switch electricity suppliers.

Wind Powering America: The U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America site provides state-by-state wind project information, including validated wind maps, anemometer loan programs, small wind guides, legislative briefings, wind working groups, and state-specific news.

Profitable Green Solutions: More and more focus is being placed on total carbon emissions; your carbon “footprint” so to speak. First, you must accurately measure your carbon emissions using global standards. There are numerous ways to measure and subsequently reduce carbon emissions that result in cost-savings. Profitable Green Solutions, a private consulting firm, solicites new business by offering free carbon audits.