Green Business

Green-Business Certified: Tips to Making Your Business Energy Efficient

By David J. Alexander

While electricity usage in the U.S. has increased by 50% over the last 35 years, California has kept its per capita use almost flat.1 Maintaining that status can be tough, especially for a booming business, because commercial energy consumption typically increases in proportion to increasing commercial floor space. But there are steps businesses can take to achieve a green workplace and position themselves as leaders in energy efficiency.

Green tips for indoor environments
Initiating sustainable practices helps businesses conserve resources and makes them more efficient and cost effective. Money is saved when resources are used more economically. Businesses can increase their green efforts for indoor workplace environments by:

  • Recycling toner cartridges and using remanufactured ones.
  • Using only 100% post-consumer waste paper in printers and copy machines.
  • Installing low-flow aerators on all faucets in the building.
  • Installing LED products, such as exit signs, which consume around 2 watts per fixture, as opposed to 10 or 40 watts for typical incandescent and fluorescent products.2

A comfortably heated or cooled environment can consume a lot of energy. Outdated and incompatible heating and cooling systems (including systems that aren't the right size for your building) are notorious energy wasters. The Indoor Environment and Energy Efficiency Association (also known as the ACCA) recommends that building managers consult professional contractors to determine the type of heating and cooling system needed. If a new HVAC system is required, it should be labeled with an ENERGY STAR rating to verify that it is energy efficient and meets guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.3

Maintaining the equipment will ensure that it remains energy efficient to continue its green operation. Follow recommendations from the ACCA and use a maintenance schedule that includes routine filter replacement, monthly inspections and servicing equipment quarterly. This will help conserve natural resources, keep energy costs down and improve indoor air quality.

How to become green-business certified
Businesses that want to achieve a certified status can apply through a certification program. There are several programs available, including SmartWay and the Green Suppliers Network for small- and medium-sized manufacturers.4

Beyond obtaining the credentials, becoming green certified means a healthier workplace, improved efficiency, reduced utility bills and additional cost savings. It also has its advantages in marketing, as certified green businesses can promote their environmental status in advertisements and display the green certification at their place of business.

Getting a green certification is a great step toward implementing a green program. According to the California Green Business Program5, there are 4 easy and straightforward steps to becoming a certified green business:

  1. Register with the program's site to tell them about your business.
  2. Fill out and submit an application.
  3. Await certification while your application is reviewed.
  4. Once certified, fill out your company profile so customers can find you.

Preserve energy and save money
There are many rebates and incentives for commercial customers based on the type of business or equipment used. Federal tax credits are also available for using consumer energy efficiency products. According to the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy, there are numerous incentives, grants and rebate programs available to California businesses, including rebates for alternative energy sources and new construction, and green building incentives and rebates.

Beyond achieving cost savings and energy efficiency, businesses can initiate green practices to benefit from sustainable operations, added certifications and a healthier workflow. Because numerous steps are involved and maintaining an energy-certified business status is a long-term process, working with an HVAC contractor can be the first step in making a business green.

In fact, HVAC and lighting contractors are better informed about products, rebates and incentives to guide you in the right direction when initiating a green business implementation. Download "The Complete Guide to Working with a Lighting or HVAC Contractor" eBook from PG&E to ensure long-term green business operations and efficiency.

Referenced in article:
  1. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  2. StopWaste
  3. StopWaste
  4. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  5. California Green Business Program
Use these 5 #tips from @PGE4Me and take the first steps in becoming #green business certified:
  • SMB Blog Author
    David J. Alexander
    Senior Product Manager of Customer Energy Solutions for PG&E, plays a large role in the products and solutions that support SMBs. Involved in the company's energy-efficiency programs since 2006, Dave is also an energy solutions manager for the field engineering services team. He's been instrumental in the design and launch of PG&E's initial LED-focused programs and continues to serve as one its leading lighting experts in the field.

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