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Green Business Network Helps Members Save on Energy Costs

The Colorado Green Business Network recently welcomed 117 new members, joining 36 green businesses that already have access to the network’s funding resources, support system, mentorship, technical assistance, and statewide recognition.

A voluntary program funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and housed in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the network’s consultants provide free offsite coaching and onsite assistance to businesses, schools, and other organizations interested in increasing their energy efficiency, Administrator Rayna Oliker says.

“We have two levels of support,” she says. “Our nonrecognition level is for businesses that are just getting started or don’t want recognition but want to be connected with the network and receive the resources that come with that. The recognition level is for businesses that have demonstrated commitment to going above and beyond regulatory compliance and into operational sustainability. For those businesses, we offer incentives, window decals, signed certificates, press kits, opportunities to mentor and to speak at our workshops — things like that.”

Mentorship is one of the most valuable benefits the network offers members. “We have businesses constantly sharing best practices with each other,” she says. “We also offer connections to funding opportunities and resources. There are always new opportunities in other departments at the state, and with local utilities that businesses might not know about. We also provide letters of recommendation for those grants so that our businesses can move forward with sustainability projects.”

When a business owner signs up for the network, they can request a site visit during which a consultant evaluates the space and makes recommendations for simple, low-cost actions, such as replacing light bulbs with LEDs, adding window film, or installing smart power strips. The network also can provide businesses with templates and recommended software to track energy and water use.

“We’re looking for those low-impact things that have the potential to save a business money, and allows them to save up for larger projects,” Oliker says. “Sustainability and efficiency can feel really overwhelming to a business owner who has a lot of competing interests,” she says. “It’s not something that happens overnight, but businesses can take small steps toward saving money, saving resources, and getting more invested in the community.”
For more information about the network, visit cdphe.colorado.gov/co-green-business.

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