Finance Green Initiatives With Government Grants, Incentives and Low-Interest Loans

As rising energy costs take an ever bigger bite out of corporate profits, a growing number of companies are looking to green initiatives to improve their bottom line. In fact, many of the world’s biggest companies, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., General Motors Corp., Ikea, Coca-Cola Co. and many more are going green to cut energy costs and boost profits. But its not just big corporations hoping to slash fuel costs—businesses of every size and type are going looking for ways to reduce their electricity usage.

Many businesses seeking a roadmap to improve energy efficiency look to the ENERGY STAR label, which is a measure of building energy performance. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the ENERGY STAR label in 1999. To attain Energy Star status, buildings must achieve a score of at least 75 (1 – 100 scale), which places them in the top 25 percent in the country for energy performance. The EPA reports that commercial buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR label use 35 percent less energy on average, than other commercial buildings.

With a little effort companies small and large can take advantage of government grants, incentives and low-interest loans to help defray the cost of going green and cutting electricity costs by improving the energy efficiency of their buildings or by deploying renewable energy systems such as solar panels. Examples of just some of the ways companies can increase energy efficiency include energy audits, lighting improvements, replacing windows, adding insulation or other retrofits that cut energy usage.

The federal government offers tax incentives, low-interest guaranteed loans and direct payments through grants to help private companies to improve energy efficiency or deploy renewable energy solutions to cut usage of fossil fuel-generated electricity and lower overall energy costs. These financial instruments are primarily administered through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) or the US Department of Treasury.

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