With the abundance of databases to search, eligibility requirements to meet, and forms to fill out, applying for government programs can be complicated and time consuming. But when it comes to government programs for energy efficient products, getting into the green swing of things might be a little less complicated than it appears.
This summer President Barack Obama has invested $346 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into expanding and accelerating the use of energy efficient technologies in commercial buildings as well as new and existing homes.
Joining the green revolution will not only help small businesses access those investments, but it can also help them generate positive publicity, improve employee morale, and differentiate the companyâ€™s products or services from its competitors.
There are many government programs that help businesses go green, but weâ€™ve sifted through the â€śgreen tapeâ€ť and found four programs that will put your sustainable practices in gear.
Join the Green Power Partnership
The ARRA alone included more than $60 billion in clean energy investments. When a company joins the Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™s Green Power Partnership it agrees to purchase a certain percentage of its energy needs through green power alternatives.
By buying renewable energy such as wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, and solar energy instead of traditional power, a company can reduce its environmental impact. Although green power may cost more than standard power sources, it is not subject to fuel instability and the accompanying rise and fall of prices.
Businesses can purchase green power by installing renewable systems such as solar panels; purchasing green-powered products from a utility company; or buying renewable energy certificates.
â€śA lot of people install [on-site renewable energy systems] because they want to have more control over their energy costs and bills,â€ť says Maria Vargas, a spokesperson for the EPA.
Add the Energy Star Label to Your Product
Customers consider products with the Energy Star label to be more energy-efficient than other products and also more cost-effective. Companies can apply to have their merchandise qualify in more than 60 categories for residential and commercial use. Unlike some other energy-efficiency rating systems, adding the Energy Star label to your product is completely free.
The labeling process differs from product to product. To begin, first review the specification requirements for the item you manufacture. If it meets the eligibility criteria, then send in a completed Energy Star partnership agreement and commitment form. For more specific information about the process of becoming an Energy Star partner visit the Energy Star Manufacturerâ€™s Resource Page.