Energy Star Awards, LEED Certifications and more: what are they and how can my business get one?

Energy Star Awards, LEED Certifications and more: what are they and how can my business get one?

There are more benefits to business owners today than there have ever been to going green–be it a small business, a nonprofit, or a corporation. Aside from the obvious benefit of protecting the environment (because what planet would you even be doing business on if we don’t protect it?), going green improves public image, cuts operating costs, gives tax breaks and even increases sales. You may be asking yourself how the word that your business is eco-friendly can get out without spending hard-earned money on advertising, or how you can prove to your audience that you’re committed to the environment–or how to even go about going green in the first place. There are plenty of certifications in place that you can obtain for your business. Two examples of these are Energy Star Awards and LEED Certifications.

Energy Star is a component of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that allows labeling of energy-efficient products to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It has partnerships with thousands of organizations, all of whom are a resource to those who wish to be more environmentally sound with their buying habits. With Energy Star labels on major appliances, home electronics, commercial and industrial buildings and office equipment, consumers are able to make wise choices and businesses are able to adopt similar practices. Some businesses that have gotten Energy Star awards have gone through significant programs to change their practices and cut costs. Cenergistic, for example, is a Dallas-based company that specialized in implementing programs to support school districts, universities, churches and healthcare facilities to adopt new practices, equipment, and ultimately cut their carbon footprints as well as their energy costs. Cenergistic has been recognized by Energy Star and many of their completed projects have earned such awards (see more from Cenergistic on Youtube).

Similarly, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications recognize green buildings, homes and neighborhoods through a point system. Certifications can be mere certifications, or the building can be recognized as silver, gold or platinum depending on how many points they have. Businesses have found that younger generations prefer to both work for and buy from businesses who have gone green, and both Energy Star and LEED exemplify ways to solidify your business’ commitment to the environment. Additionally, there are plenty of tax benefits. With an environmentally sound hearing and air conditioning system, a solar wind energy system, or a geothermal heating system, you can qualify for up to a 30% tax credit. This means that on top of having lower operating costs (since energy costs businesses hundreds or thousands of dollars a year) and possibly making more money from increased eco-friendly customership, you can also qualify for a tax credit.