It's not always easy being green. The myriad clean energy options available for fueling electricity, heating, and cooling systems can be confusing – and require significant up-front investment. But you can save money using renewable energy sources over the long term and gain peace of mind that your business will leave a lighter footprint on the Earth.
Currently there are three widely-available sources of small-scale alternative energy in the United States:
- Solar power, sometimes called photovoltaic power.
- Wind energy.
- Water, or hydro power.
Soak up the sunSolar energy is a safe, eco-friendly and free power source that's abundant in many climates.
Harness the windRenewable and clean, the wind can also lower your energy costs. And thanks to new technology, you don't have to have a huge windmill or live in a constantly-gusty area to capture its power.
Tap into rivers and streamsIf your business is situated near running water, a micro-hydropower system is a possible earth-friendly energy source
Get a tax breakReducing energy consumption in buildings, buying solar equipment and other green business decisions can reduce your tax bill.
Keep informedThe technology and availability of renewable and clean energy sources is always changing and developing. Subscribe to a publication that specialized in alternative energy so you'll stay in the know.
- Research the energy companies in your area. An increasing number of clean power generators, providing energy from renewable sources, are entering the competitive market and may be available in your state.
- Using trees, grasses, plants and other organic materials to create fuel, heat, and electricity — known as biomass or bioenergy — is an emerging option in the United States.
- Small-scale solar/wind hybrid systems are becoming increasingly available and allow you to take advantage of occasional strong winds or direct sunlight, even if your climate isn't always sunny or windy.
- If you can't use alternative energy throughout your business, consider making small but significant changes. Even laptop computers can now operate by solar power.