Energy efficiency is smart business

Photo courtesy of Morgue file user gordonwnd.

Photo courtesy of Morgue file user gordonwnd.

Did you know that thousands of businesses in Wisconsin have saved more than $512 million in annual energy costs since 2001? And that businesses in other states have seen similar results? That’s not only great news for the balance sheet, it’s a huge win for the environment. So what’s their secret?

Programs such as Focus On Energy help companies evaluate projects, assess energy savings and provide financial assistance for stalled projects. No matter the size of the company, they offer resources to help. And their assistance isn’t limited to expertise on the energy efficiency of buildings. Financial incentives are available for equipment upgrades including compressors, HVAC systems, food service operations, lighting, refrigeration, and information systems. Wisconsin companies interested in renewable energy should contact Focus On Energy for information on the application process for the 2014 Renewable Energy Competitive Incentive Program.

Wisconsin utilities are not the only ones helping businesses save money and energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has created the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE). It lists available federal, state and local financial incentives for businesses and residential customers as well as links to additional information.

The Better Buildings Challenge is a program run by the U.S. Department of Energy to support commercial and industrial building owners who volunteer to participate in the program. Companies receive technical assistance and proven solutions to energy efficiency. The program also provides a mechanism to match energy service providers with companies seeking to save dollars and energy.

In addition to government resources, some non-profits specialize in helping businesses reduce their carbon footprint. In the Madison, Wisconsin area, one such non-profit is Sustain Dane. They’ve created the MPower Business ChaMpion Program. Companies enroll in a one-year, customizable program. Participants receive access to sustainability resources and experts who help the business reduce waste and energy use while engaging employees in creation of a healthy workplace. Through MPower, companies develop and implement a sustainability plan that will produce measurable results.

One recent MPower participant was the Madison Mallards, a minor league baseball team. Watch Greening the Duck Pond to see the innovative way they recycled aluminum bleachers and are successfully selling locally sourced food products at the stadium.

For a list of non-profits in your area which specialize in energy efficiency, search the resources available through the Energy EcoGateway Link Center.

So now it’s your turn. Has your company made a conscious effort to increase energy efficiency or embrace sustainability practices? Share your story and inspire others by relating your success.

Please leave your comments below or contact me on Twitter or G+.

About Delora Newton

Delora Newton is the Vice President, Advocacy for the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. She has over 20 years of experience in state and local public policy advocacy and is passionate about building a business climate that supports economic growth and protects community assets. Follow her on Twitter: @Delora4Biz or G+

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