Using green energy to run your business can help protect the environment, but it can also be a low-cost way to build a company's brand and profits. It certainly works for Scott Nash and his little organic grocery chain. This week, the Environmental Protection Agency released an updated list of organizations that voluntarily choose to use clean, renewable electricity. Solar energy, wind energy, and low-impact hydropower are called "green energy." Corporate giants such as Intel Corporation, Kohl Department Store, and Microsoft Corporation have become the largest users of green energy on the kWh list due to their large presence. However, smaller companies dominate the list of companies that use 100% green energy to power their businesses. More than half of the 1,300 organizations that cooperate with EPA in the EPA's Green Power Partnership are small businesses or organizations. Brian Collison, director of the Green Power Partnership, said that small businesses may not have enough employees to spend a lot of time "greening" their business, but it does not take long to participate in the program.
If you want to use green energy to run your business, you can install solar panels on the roof of your business or install wind turbines in the backyard of your business. Great choice, even if not that realistic for most entrepreneurs. EPA's Green Energy Partnership is a more viable approach: You call an energy provider and ask about their green energy options and request a conversion. If your current energy provider doesn't have a green option, check the EPA's online locator to find one. For a little more money, you can buy Renewable Energy Credit Lines (RECs), which are actually units of electricity that energy providers agree to source from sustainable sources. If the company buys enough CERs to cover the amount of energy used by each of them, even if there are no wind turbines in the parking lot, the company is actually using green energy. The operation of a clean energy business promoted the commercial development of MOM's organic market, which is the Nash supermarket chain, based in Rockville, Maryland. "Customers know, employees know, we know" about the company's environmental issues, Nash said. The company has been on the EPA list since its first launch in 2007 and has been a green energy society for the longest time. "Yes, doing these good things will cost us a little more money, but I think it will help our bottom line," he said. He said employee retention is high and customers are more loyal. Also, it's not that expensive. Charis EglandSmith, director of MOM's environmental protection project, said that for each grocery store, using 100% green energy requires an additional cost of 2%. The 25-year-old chain has approximately 500 employees. EglandSmith said the price of local green electricity is almost comparable to coal-fired electricity, and the company's green electricity prices are sometimes even higher. Big profits come with bragging rights. "For a small business, 'we are 100% green energy,' because their total energy load is quite small, and because they are actually a small business, the final absolute marginal cost is often not very high," Corey said. Sen. And "'We are 100% green energy' is a very valuable piece of information, and they found it attractive." In fact, it is so eye-catching that the green energy purchased by MOM's organic market is almost the same. Twice as much as it takes to operate a store. "At the time we were compensating for other people's dirty energy," Nash said. The store then uses signs, social media, and information on food bags to let consumers know what it is doing. For example, you equate your energy savings with a car taken off the road.