The benefits of becoming green
These days, you can’t help but be inspired by the numerous green initiatives flooding New Hampshire’s businesses, homes and even schools. With the support of federal and state programs that promote the use of sustainable energy products, such as solar panels and wind turbines, business and homeowners are able to qualify for varied grants and rebate programs. So what are the benefits of a business becoming “green”?For a business owner who chooses to support this global effort, the benefits are limitless. To begin with, if you are a business that has adopted eco-friendly practices into your day-to-day routine, you are not only supporting a worthy cause, but are getting a leg up on the competition.In a 2008 survey conducted by research firm DoubleClick Performics, respondents were asked for a major influence when choosing a company with which to do business, and 83 percent said they are “extremely” or “very likely” to choose the more environmentally friendly option.If your business is thinking about or has already taken the initiative to become more environmentally conscious, now is the time to let your customers know. You may just be chosen over that competitor because of your green practices.Other reasons to consider going green are the various tax benefits currently offered to business owners who incorporate sustainable practices, which significantly reduce utility costs and provide a healthier bottom line in the long run.Current federal programs include the business energy reduction tax credit, energy-efficient commercial buildings tax deduction, energy-efficient appliance tax credit for manufacturers and a new energy-efficient tax credit for green-savvy builders.National Grid currently supports a utility rebate program for both commercial and industrial and small business and multifamily properties that will provide rebates ranging from $100 to $4,400, depending on the utility changeover. This alone has provided many local businesses with a great incentive to become eco-friendly. Numerous advantagesEarlier this year, Gov. John Lynch announced a partnership between the University of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning to create Green Launching Pad. The two-year, U.S. Department of Energy-funded project was created to connect entrepreneurs and private industry with technical, scientific and business faculty and students at UNH to successfully launch new green businesses.The goal of the program is to launch a competitive green energy technology commercialization program, accessible to New Hampshire entrepreneurs, businesses and innovators.Companies chosen to take part are Revolution Energy in Dover, which supports educational institutions that create energy-efficient programs to meet the school’s power needs, and Innovacene, in Durham, a manufacturer of organic semiconductors for solar cells and LEDs. (For additional details about the Green Launching Pad visit greenlaunchingpad.com.)Those interested in building new or renovating and seeking a more eco-sound facility, Build Green NH, based in Concord, provides information about contractors who are Certified Green Professionals (CGP) around the state. CGPs build homes that are based on the National Green Builder Standard and focus on water efficiency, energy-efficiency, the environmental impact of the project, waste management, material and resource efficiency.Build Green NH also focuses on educating consumers about how to become more energy-efficient, from eco-friendly products to the numerous tax refunds and incentives available to them. (For additional details about Building Green NH visit build greennh.com.)For over 15 years, GT Solar, based in Merrimack, has supplied the continuously growing solar power industry with design and equipment essentials that have aided in the production of key materials needed to produce solar cells and panels. GT Solar has significantly helped to raise awareness of the solar power market and its many benefits to the state and has certainly earned the reputation as a global industry leader.Jeff Nestel-Patt, GT Solar’s director of marketing communications, said, “As the world’s demand for secure, low-cost energy continues to grow, renewable energy such as solar, wind and other promising technologies must play an increasingly larger role in meeting this global demand. GT Solar is delivering technology that helps make solar technology less expensive. This helps to accelerate the adoption of solar energy and thus reduce our dependence on fossil fuel-based sources of energy.”With so many programs and incentives available, we cannot overlook the numerous advantages that go hand-in-hand with adopting a green state-of-mind. From business creation to added employment opportunities, New Hampshire’s economy can only benefit by contributing to the global effort toward which so many are working.Jim Dunphy, chief executive and president of Hampshire First Bank, can be reached at 603-263-1444 firstname.lastname@example.org.