You gotta spend money to save money. For energy efficiency upgrades, that saying couldn’t be more timely or accurate.
Energy efficiency programs and rebates are getting a real shot in the arm from, among other things, the stimulus package, plus many other federal, state, and local programs. As a result of the stimulus package, energy efficiency tax credits have been raised from 10% of cost to 30%. The maximum credit has been raised from $500 to $1500, and more expensive upgrades, such as solar panels, solar water heaters, and geothermal pumps are not limited to the $1,500 maximum. The $200 tax credit cap on efficient windows has been removed, however, the standards are also more stringent. All of this means that there has never been a better time, financially, to upgrade, insulate, and/or weatherize your buildings. These investments should pay for themselves relatively quickly, given the incentives and the energy savings, and provide long term savings in addition to good PR for your company.
The Small Business Association also has a guaranteed loan program for construction and renovation including Energy Star appliances and upgrades. The 7a Loan Guaranty Program, has a high degree of flexibility in what you are able to use the money for, including energy efficiency, retrofitting, and new Energy Star upgrades.
Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and hopes that someday the green economy will simply be referred to as…the economy.
Photo credit: BrentDanley on Flickr Creative Commons