Going Green? Get Government Help for Your Business - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

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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 company’s products or services from its competitors.

There are many government programs that help businesses go green, but we’ve sifted through the “green tape” 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 Agency’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.

“A lot of people install [on-site renewable energy systems] because they want to have more control over their energy costs and bills,” says Maria Vargas, a spokesperson for the EPA.

For more information, visit The Guide to Purchasing Green Power at EPA.gov.

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 Manufacturer’s Resource Page.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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