Summary: The article details how companies can benefit from green policies through savings on electricity bills and tax cuts from Section 179D incentives.
The biggest companies and corporations adopt green policies more from sheer profit than a real desire to save the environment. Green policies can cut a company’s overhead without high costs. The government has also set up incentives for businesses that meet a threshold in energy savings — with monthly tax deductions that can go as high as $1.80 per square foot. Go green and give your business a PR boost, save on utilities, and meet Section 179D requirements for massive tax breaks.
Mind Your Windows
Most buildings have proper insulation, but most also have big windows. While harnessing natural light will somewhat reduce the need for lighting, it will also increase heat transfer and require office cooling systems to work harder. The latest offices of Google and Facebook use smart glass on their windows. Smart glass can go from clear to opaque with a press of a button, allowing offices to control the amount of sunlight that passes through. Of course, smart glass requires significant investments and renovations. It is better used before building a structure so it can be integrated into the design.
One good alternative for smart glass is UV-filtering window film. UV film blocks 80 percent of heat from the sun and 99 percent of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Elevated cities like Denver and Colorado Springs in Colorado or Salt Lake City and West Valley City in Utah have increased 20 -30 percent higher concentrations of UV. Installing window films will reduce your company’s energy consumption and protect your workers from UV damage that causes skin cancer and melanoma.
Switch It Up
The average business consumes 6,000 kWh of electricity every month. Cooling systems make up most of the consumption, as offices need to stay cool to run efficiently. Don’t bother with light clothing for employees so you can set temperatures higher. The lower temperatures are set for office equipment — a few degrees lower, and things might start breaking down. A newer cooling system can cut energy consumption by 5-20 percent.
Switching to a new system might be expensive, but it should pay for itself through savings on electrical bills in 1-2 years. Similarly, opt for appliances that use the latest inverter technology. Newer models of refrigerators and freezers consume 5-10 percent less energy than previous models or up to 30-50 percent compared to non-inverter models. When buying products, look for Energy Star labels, and don’t hesitate to buy more expensive models if they are more energy-efficient.
Section 179D requires businesses to consume 50 percent less energy than comparable properties. No amount of saving electricity can meet that threshold, but it can be easily done with solar power. Producing power cuts a business’s reliance on the grid, insulating it from power price hikes. Solar power systems might seem expensive.
However, they are practically free, and they’ll pay for themselves thrice over in their lifetime. 6,000 kWh per month costs around $700-$800. Covering that amount of power will require a 40-kW solar power system that can cost $70,000.
It requires 120-130 solar panels or at least 1,000 square feet of rooftop. Even with a 10-year loan at 4 percent interest, you can easily cover the premiums with the savings on your electric bill, making your solar power system practically free. Solar companies guarantee their systems will keep running at 80-90 percent efficiency for the first 25 years, but most systems can last 35-45 years.
Energy use is often taken for granted in the office. Lights are left open, and the air conditioner stays on even if there’s only a single person working. While there are smart systems that track the location of each employee and adjust power use accordingly (turning off lights and adjusting temperatures), they can be expensive and difficult to implement. It’s better to make your workers more mindful of energy use through short workshops or firmly-worded emails.
Of course, enforcement of these policies can be difficult unless your employees get with the program. Have maintenance check for unused rooms, turn off the lights and cooling, or give your employees incentives for proper electricity use.
Going green might give your company a much-needed boost. A $1.80 per square feet tax break is a significant cut on overhead, especially since most buildings have over 15,000 square feet. Going green to save the environment might only get your company a slight PR boost, but you’ll also get a ton of savings on your electric bill and a significant cut on taxes.