Green is good. That is, cash—something that small business owners are desperately in need of these days of Covid-19. Happily, one way to find more funds is to turn to another source of green: sustainable energy. Green energy incentives for small businesses is a great way for little fish to get their brands afloat again.
Government Green Incentives for Small Businesses
Incentives are more important than ever due to the global effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. Adding revenue wherever possible is the focus of most business owners. Many businesses, however, fail to recognize that green energy incentives even exist. They are a great way to add revenue in a sustainable, ultimately energy and cost saving way.
In fact, according to many, the way America’s economy will get back on its feet is through the recovery of small businesses, specifically through energy efficiency means. This makes sense as small businesses drive the economy by providing jobs and revenue. They are symbolic of the American dream and often the only source of products, goods, and services in more rural or remote areas of the country. Small businesses are often at the forefront of business innovation in ways that big box brands are reluctant to embrace, such as local sourcing and sustainability.
This is what customers by and large seem to want now, too. Business owners, both large and small, are finding that sustainability is better for you, your pocketbook, and the environment too. Why is that? It’s due to:
- Brand perception
- Cost savings
- Personal health
- Environmental impact
Forbes notes that a majority of consumers (88%) want to help you (the brand) make a difference in this world; they believe they have a big impact, too. More and more, consumers want brands to emphasize and practice their (the consumer’s) values. They will vote with their wallets. If your customers care about it, you should too. The risk of a brand dying because they couldn’t get with the times is just too high. And, even if you don’t personally believe in climate change, the fact is that many of your customers probably do.
Even if that wasn’t enough, sustainable practices that green energy incentives encourage yield cost savings to business owners. Cost savings such as switching to more sustainable and longer lasting materials and systems are significant. LED lighting, for example, makes up the largest share of energy efficiency for utilities. The little things really add up.
There are a lot of arguments about personal health and environmental impact when it comes to sustainable business practices. In general, when people know they’re doing the right thing they tend to report feeling better, physically and emotionally. Cleaner air to breath and water to drink, happier customers and staff, less stress from high utility bills and energy costs resulting in more money and better health—the choice seems obvious.
Green energy incentives for small businesses benefit absolutely everybody in this equation.
Seeing Green: Cash in the Form of Energy Incentives (and How to Find Them)
Okay, so you understand that green energy incentives for small businesses are a good thing. How do you find them?
There are a number of incentives that can result in cash in your pocket. These include cash, tax credits, rebates, grants, and loans. It’s pretty amazing all the resources business owners have for finding and stopping up cash pits. According to Energy Star, businesses can deduct up to $1.80 per square foot for buildings or systems that save at least 50% of heating and cooling. The U.S. Energy Information Agency reports that average savings from incentives is $24 per customer (with $3.6 billion on spending total!) but ranges anywhere between $0-128 in 2016. These savings were mostly in residential and commercial sectors.
You can find related programs here at energy.gov.
Know that the range of incentives will depend upon provider, location, and costs of measures that you need to implement or upgrade. It can be very business specific but generally speaking you won’t have a problem going through your utility to find ways to reduce costs; it benefits them too. Taking advantage of a certified CPA will be the best way to find the most tax credits available to you.
If you’re interested in learning about energy efficiency grants for small businesses, check out this previous blog.
As mentioned before, for some business owners the savings alone can be enough incentive to go green! Switching to LED lighting, for example, can reduce your electricity bills by 60% from the moment you turn the new lights on. Some “as-a-Service” providers such as Future Energy Services (FES) may cover upfront costs to switch (or even pay for you to make the switch in the first place), leaving you with more cash capital and starting to save immediately—before you even invest a single penny.