Categorized | Management

Reduce your taxes through energy-efficiency improvements

Although you might assume the incentives for energy efficiency included in the newly passed American Recovery and greenmovementReinvestment Act of 2009 (Economic Stimulus) are only for consumers, many can benefit small businesses.  Because the “placed in service” dates vary, hold onto your receipts and energy rating stickers.

Some of the incentives include:

·         An extension of the commercial buildings tax deduction to the end of 2013;

·         Expanded tax credits for electric vehicle purchases ;

·         $50,000 maximum credit for businesses installing most clean refuleing systems, up from $30,000;

·         A new 30% investment tax credit for establishing, re-equipping, or expanding select energy technology…

·         A new tax credit for the purchase of small wind turbines (home, farm or business use) 

To take advantage of these incentive, consider projects that do not call for big investments, such as improving your facility’s current building shell (insulation, windows, etc), lighting, HVAC (Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning) systems, refrigeration, and office appliances .

Start by estimating your savings potential through an energy-saving calculator. You can also get free, unbiased information and technical support through the ENERGYSTAR for small business program, where you can download or receive a no-cost hard copy of its small business guide —“Putting Energy into Profits.” Also, consider networking with other green businesses to get expert advice from engineers, architects, and other service providers.

After you have made some low-cost upgrades, consider looking for larger upgrade opportunities based on your industry.  Industry-specific resources for auto dealers, construction contractors, commercial food service (including grocery/convenience stores, restaurants, schools, and congregations, sports/entertainment centers), home-based businesses, lodging, retail, and small-to-medium sized manufacturers are available on Keep in mind, bigger energy savings will usually require a bigger investment.  

To finance these larger projects, small businesses have a number of resources available to them:

• SBA loan programs. The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several loan programs that can help offset the cost of purchasing energy efficient equipment and facilities for your business.  One of the most common  is the 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program, which offers eligible small businesses a loan to either purchase ENERGY STAR and other energy-efficient equipment, or retrofit an existing facility to increase efficiency.   

• State and local aid. Florida has an energy efficient assistance for small businesses.  The Florida Energy Office (FEO) is the state’s primary center for energy policy and the place to initiate your research.

• Energy pools. The collective buying power of pooling businesses to group purchase energy efficient equipment can result in lower unit prices on volume orders.  ENERGY STAR offers a helpful guide to group purchasing.

• Loans and grants.’s Loans and Grants search tool can help you locate the environmental financing that your business is eligible for.

Your business can continue to implement sustainable green business practices even after you’ve made significant upgrades.  Consider evaluating your business’ recycling/waste reduction practices, conservation of water, air pollution prevention, even your use of paper.   


Free Green Resources for Small Businesses

• ENERGYSTAR Small Business Program’s Green Business Guide  

• EPA Small Business Gateway


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