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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Finance and Financial Management for Green Business > Grants for green businesses in California

Save Money with Sustainable Business Practices for ROI

Incentives can help you stretch your green building dollars to save budgets, water and energy.

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Vision, Plan and Strategy for Savings

Financial incentives are not the only reason to go green. However, we recognize that the cost of doing business is a major concern, so the following resources can help you stretch your green dollars.

First, of course, comes the vision, followed by the plan and the strategy. Without a defined strategy you probably won't get there. Going green isn't the easiest thing on earth or everyone would be doing it! But it is feasible...and very beneficial. Kind of like the difference between a one-night stand that's strictly a financial proposition, and a family that certainly costs more in time and money...but has many long term benefits.

Construction, Maintenance, and Demolition of Buildings is one of the most Resource-demanding Industries

According to SERC, the State Environmental Resource Center, the construction, maintenance, and demolition of buildings is one of the most resource-demanding industries in the United States. Buildings account for 45% of worldwide energy use, 80% of potable water use, and 50% of the timber harvest in North America. They also account for about 40% of municipal solid waste and 30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming and acid rain.
Greening is definitely a long term proposition -- and it's worth it! Check out SERC's Frequently Asked Questions for a primer on green and sustainable design

Green Building Doesn't Have to Cost More

A. A recent study of 33 green buildings in California found that the average cost of building green over traditional methods (the “premium”) was about 2%, which equals about $4 per square foot. The average energy reduction from the 33 buildings was 30 percent. This alone provides savings sufficient to pay back the initial 2% premium in less than 9 years. The same study found that, over a twenty year period, the overall net savings for a green building is between $48.87 - $67.31 per square foot, depending on the LEED rating of the building.

Step 2 is compliance. Codes and guidelines need to be planned into the project from the beginning in order to keep costs in-line. Compliance is tightening because of many regional issues such as tightening water supply, more volatile climate conditions, health problems that arise from emissions, and general stewardship of our critical natural resources life support system.

Step 3 is implementation. And getting sound information on design, materials, and inspections that help construct vibrant communties is available from your local service providers as well as government agencies, nonprofit groups specializing in green and sustainable education...and experienced friends and confidantes.

Finding Incentives for Greening & Sustainable Business Projects

The Division of the State Architect (DSA)

DSA acts as California's policy leader for building design and construction, and provides design and construction oversight for K-12 schools and community colleges. DSA has offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, and San Diego.

Sustainability, Universal Design of Public Buildings

Key areas of oversight include sustainability, universal design, excellence in public buildings and testing laboratories, as well as historical building safety and inspection programs.

DSA also develops and maintains the accessibility standards and codes utilized in public and private buildings throughout California. See DSA's "Universal Design" pages for more information.

The DSA's "Sustainable Schools Website" holds a wealth of information about

  • Indoor Environment Quality
  • Transportation
  • Water
  • Energy
  • Siting
  • Materials
  • Sustainable design
  • Measurement and Evaluation
  • Faculty and Student Performance
  • Community building

Top Level to the Division of State Architect's Sustainable Resources: Financing and Incentives Description State of California Division of the State Architect

Databases of Incentives for Green Buildings

The Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE) for Solar Schools.

This database contains information on state, local, utility and federal incentives that promote renewable energy. Information is searchable by organization and technology. Residential and commercial parties, including schools, are eligible. Access the database

Link to the latest California Incentives Resources

Incentives relating to Energy, including conservation, efficiency, renewables, self-generation and commissioning.

Incentives related to Water, including conservation, effiency and re-use.

Incentives related to Material Selection and Waste Management, including recycled content, re-use and waste reduction.

Incentives related to Siting, including brownfield redevelopment and "Smart Growth" strategic planning.

Incentives related to Green Building, including grants for projects and programs, plan review expediency and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) submission cost coverage.

Incentives related to Landscaping, including education, tree-planting, mitigation and restoration.

Incentives relating to Transportation, including: bicycle and pedestrian safety and facilities construction and alternatively fueled vehicles.

Incentives relating to Environmental Education, including: education tools, grants for educational projects relating to the environment, gardening, science, and many others.

Incentives relating to Miscellaneous features not contained in the previous categories, including: financing programs granted by private institutions.


DSIRE: California Incentives for Renewable Energy

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency includes direct links to statewide as well as local incentive programs. And they throw in some national resources as well.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California:

Commercial/Industrial Rebate Program: Offers rebates for such technologies as: Cooling Tower Conductivity Controller, Water Saving Toilet/Urinal, High Efficiency Washing Machine, Pre-rinse Kitchen Sprayer Pressurized Water Brooms, Dual Flush Toilets, and X-ray recirculating water systems. Offers financial incentives to industrial customers for savings due to process specific water use efficiency measures. Program available to all 26 MWD member agencies' customers: including; LADWP, San Diego Co. Water Authority, Anaheim, Inland Empire, City of Pasadena, etc.

Check here for a list of members

Program funding is on-going with no deadlines.

State of California Financing and Incentives

Here is a sample on the "Water" resources found on the State Architect's website

Water Quality Control Board:

State Revolving Loan Fund for Non-point Runoff: Low interest loans to address water quality problems associated with discharges from nonpoint source dischargers and for estuary enhancement. Municipalities and public entities are both eligible for these funds.

Water Recycling Construction Program and Water Recycling Facilities Planning Grant Program Construction program provides grants and low-interest loans for the construction of water recycling facilities. Planning Grant Program allots grants for feasibility studies regarding water recycling.

Agricultural Water Quality Grant Program: Funding for projects that reduce the effects of discharge and runoff from irrigated agricultural land and improve water quality through management practices,demonstration projects, education and outreach. Projects that reduce pollutants in agricultural drainage through water reuse and/or integrated management.

Integrated Regional Water Management Grant Program: The Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) grant program, funded by Proposition 50, provides $500 million for competitive grants for projects to protect communities from drought, protect and improve water quality, and improve local water security by reducing dependence on imported water.

Environmental Protection Agency:

Wetlands Protection Grants: To assist states, Indian tribes, and local government in implementing new programs relating to wetlands preservation and enhancement. Award amount varies and there is a 25% match required. State and tribal agencies, local governments, and conservation districts are eligible.

Longterm Benefits Escalate with High Performance Design

Incentives are good. Sustainable business practice is better. Smart, low-impact sustainability is best! It's better for your own health and happiness, your family, your friends, your neighbors...and your bottom line. We hope these resources help you take additional steps toward good stewardship of our shared life support system.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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