Energizing Small Businesses: The Economic and Environmental Benefits of Sustainable Energy Practices

Energizing Small Businesses: The Economic and Environmental Benefits of Sustainable Energy Practices

By Frank Scotti – Sustainable Energy Advocate – Apr 15, 2024

Small businesses are the backbone of economies worldwide, yet many are unaware of the significant advantages that come with reducing energy consumption and embracing sustainable practices. From cutting energy bills to accessing grants and incentives, the benefits are substantial and multifaceted.

One of the most compelling reasons for small businesses to reduce energy use is the substantial cost savings it can bring. Take, for example, a small retail store. By upgrading to energy-efficient LED lighting, they can reduce lighting energy consumption by up to 75%. For a store operating 12 hours a day, this could translate to savings of hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually on electricity bills. Similarly, replacing old, inefficient HVAC systems with energy-efficient models can result in significant savings on heating and cooling costs, often up to 20-30% reduction in energy usage.

Moreover, investing in energy-efficient equipment and technologies not only reduces operational expenses but also enhances the overall efficiency of small businesses. For instance, installing programmable thermostats allows businesses to regulate heating and cooling based on occupancy, reducing energy waste during non-operational hours. Similarly, investing in insulation and weatherization can improve building envelope efficiency, reducing the need for constant heating or cooling to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.

Fortunately, there are various grants and incentives available at the local, regional, and national levels to help offset the initial costs of implementing energy-saving measures. Local utility companies often offer rebates for energy-efficient equipment upgrades, such as installing energy-efficient appliances or HVAC systems. Regional governments may provide low-interest loans or tax incentives for businesses that invest in renewable energy systems like solar panels or wind turbines. National programs, such as the Small Business Administration’s Energy Efficiency Loan Program, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE), or Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), offer financing and grant options specifically tailored to help small businesses implement energy-saving measures.

For instance, TECH Clean California is offering incentives of up to $4,800 to contractors across the state to support the installation of heat pump water heaters for commercial customers such as retail, businesses, office buildings, and schools.

Beyond the obvious energy and cost savings, embracing sustainability can open doors to new opportunities and markets. Many governments and larger corporations prioritize working with environmentally responsible partners, offering incentives, grants, and contracts to businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability. By positioning themselves as eco-friendly suppliers or service providers, small businesses can access a broader network of clients and collaborators, boosting growth and profitability.

Small businesses that prioritize sustainability contribute to the greater good by reducing their environmental footprint. By conserving resources, minimizing pollution, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, they play a crucial role in combating climate change and preserving natural ecosystems for future generations.

Furthermore, by taking a proactive stance on sustainability, small businesses can inspire change within their own communities and industries. Whether through leading by example, educational outreach, participation in local initiatives, or advocacy for environmentally responsible policies, small businesses can catalyze broader shifts towards a more sustainable and resilient economy.

Ultimately, the benefits of small businesses reducing their energy use and embracing sustainability extend far beyond mere financial savings. By cutting energy bills, saving money, and addressing sustainable practices, small businesses can enhance their competitiveness, attract customers, and contribute to a healthier planet. In an increasingly interconnected world where environmental stewardship is paramount, embracing sustainability isn’t just good for business—it’s essential for long-term success and prosperity.

Solarponics Hosts First Annual Nonprofit Volunteer Signup Day

Solarponics Hosts First Annual Nonprofit Volunteer Signup Day

Solarponics has partnered with local nonprofits to host the first annual Share the Sunshine Volunteer Signup Day event happening this Friday, November 18, from 11 AM to 1 PM at Solarponics office in Atascadero. Attendees are invited to meet a nonprofit that is a perfect fit for them to volunteer.

Solarponics created Share the Sunshine as a way to introduce their employees to nonprofit organizations in the community that need help. At Solarponics, every employee gets a paid day off to volunteer for a cause of their choice.

When employees started inviting family members and friends, they quickly realized how rewarding and valuable this program was for everyone involved. The idea quickly expanded to our community-wide launch of Share The Sunshine Volunteer Signup Day.

“We saw how our employees jumped at the chance to volunteer when the opportunity presented itself,” says Kristian Emrich, Solarponics president. “Share The Sunshine is that opportunity, made easy and approachable for everyone in the community.”

Over a dozen area nonprofit organizations are expected to be on hand to share what they do, and what type of volunteer help they need. Organizations attending may include; health services, animal rescue, faith, arts and education, food services, community development, environment, and more.

Come by and meet your local nonprofits Friday, November 18, from 11 AM to 1 PM at Solarponics office, 4700 El Camino Real, Atascadero. Find a nonprofit that is a perfect fit for you. Give your time, and your heart to those in need in our communities. For more information, visit

North County Businesses are Going Green.

North County Businesses are Going Green.

Atascadero, CA – Two north county businesses, Gathering Thrift and Solarponics, are the first two businesses in the north county to get Green Certified through the California Green Business Network (CAGBN). The CAGBN has stepped up its effort to certify more businesses in an attempt to build a greener, more vibrant economy.

Being a Certified Green Business is the clearest way for a business to prove to the community and customers that you care about sustainability. It shows them that you are committed to taking action to conserve resources and prevent pollution in both the facility and operations. It means that your business complies with environmental regulations in the areas of waste, energy, water, pollution prevention, and air quality.

The California Green Business Network leads the state and nation in working with small to medium sized businesses to create a vibrant green economy. Led by a coalition of cities and counties, the CAGBN contribute by helping to make our communities healthier and more livable while also conserving resources and saving money.

Companies throughout the central coast have become Green Certified through the CAGBN. Those select few Certified Green Innovators have met the highest verifiable standards of sustainability. They represent the spirit of our work better than any words could describe. And they are leading the movement of businesses in California making a positive impact on people and the planet. So far, only two north county businesses are Green Certified; Gatherings Thrift, and Solarponics.[1]

“I don’t know why a business wouldn’t want to get green certified. It’s a good thing all the way around,” says Frank Scotti, solar advocate at Solarponics in Atascadero. “It is a thorough process to go through, and well worth the effort”, Scotti said.

Some benefits of being a green certified business include cost savings, differentiate from competitors, become part of a larger community, and marketing and public awareness. But perhaps the biggest uncelebrated benefit to being green certified is the internal achievement. Companies that are green certified often operate more efficiently and employees are happier.

 

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The California Green Business Network is a nonprofit organization that oversees programs operated by Chambers of Commerce, cities and counties throughout California. Businesses that apply receive personal attention from the public agencies and the utilities that serve them. The counties and cities that offer the Program are listed below. County programs are generally available to businesses located in all cities within that county. 

Frank Scotti is a renewable energy advocate and director at Solarponics, the Central Coast’s premiere solar energy installer. Solarponics installs solar electric, battery storage and backup, thermal heating and cooling, solar water heating systems, wind energy, and solar pool heating systems. Established in 1975, Solarponics is the longest continuously owned and operated solar company in California. For more information, visit solarponics.com, or like them on Facebook.

[1]https://greenbusinessca.org/find-green-business/

Solarponics Named Top Solar Contractor for 7th Year.

Solarponics Named Top Solar Contractor for 7th Year.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07/24/2017

Solarponics Recognized for Providing Jobs and Clean Energy in California

The Solar Power World Top Solar Contractors List includes Atascadero-based solar firm, Solarponics, which employs 47 local professionals.

ATASCADERO, CA—Solar power is a booming business worldwide, but local solar contractor Solarponics is among the companies recently named to an annual and well-recognized list of North America’s top solar contractors. This marks the seventh year in a row that Solarponics has made the list, ranking #237 for 2018.

The Top Solar Contractors List is developed by Solar Power World magazine to recognize the work completed by solar contractors across the U.S. and Canada. The companies on the list are growing the economy, providing jobs and offering consumers a choice about how they get their power. The list was released July 16.

Solar Power World is very excited about the 2018 class of Top Solar Contractors,” said Kelly Pickerel, editor in chief of Solar Power World. “Our 2017 list showed impressive installation numbers after 2016’s huge rush to meet ITC requirements, and many companies were hesitant to show unavoidable installation dips after last year’s high. We’re happy to feature a strong group of thriving U.S. solar installers on the 2018 Top Solar Contractors list. These companies truly are at the top of their markets.”

Solarponics works amid a burgeoning business market. The U.S. solar market is expected to grow 13% this year, according to global research firm GTM Research. While a majority of solar electricity is produced at large, utility-scale solar power plants, the greatest number of solar jobs are located with companies like Solarponics — firms doing the work to bring clean energy to the public on a micro-local level.

No one can deny that local companies are supporting the growth of the solar industry and the economy as a whole. Companies like Solarponics continue to do the legwork, meeting with consumers, and increasing our renewable energy capacity one panel and one rooftop at a time.

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About Solar Power World

Solar Power World (SPW) is the leading online and print resource for news and information regarding solar installation, development and technology. Since 2011, SPW has helped solar contractors—including installers, developers and EPCs in all markets—grow their businesses and do their jobs better. SPW is published by WTWH Media in Cleveland, Ohio.

About Solarponics

Founded in 1975, Solarponics is the oldest, continuously operating solar energy company in California and has installed over 5,200 energy systems on the central coast. Today, Solarponics installs solar electric, home battery, EV chargers, solar pool heating, thermal water heating, and radiant heating systems for residential and commercial projects. Solarponics is based in Atascadero, CA and can be reached by calling (805) 466-5595.

A Healthy Dose Of Sunlight

A Healthy Dose Of Sunlight

How much sunlight is healthy?

As a kid growing up in Hermosa Beach, California, I really loved summer. I’d spend every waking hour at the beach with friends, surfing or just kicking it on the warm sand. We worshipped summer. When the sun was shining, we were happy.

Woman Meditating

It wasn’t until I entered the solar energy industry that my thought and perception of the sun changed. The sun was good for more than just a nice day at the beach. It is a source of endless energy, and not just for solar panels.

Aside from the obvious benefits of solar energy, and aside from our obvious knowledge that the sun is the source of all food and life on earth, could I live without spending time at the beach? Could I survive without any exposure to the sun at all? Can humans survive without any exposure to sunlight?

We know that all plants require a certain amount of sunlight to make food and survive.  We know that animals get their energy from the food they eat and that food source gets its energy from the sun. Even animals that live deep underwater, where no sunlight exists, feed on organic matter (dead plants and organisms that sink to the ocean floor from the surface). This organic matter contains energy that was first produced by the sun.

Humans, like animals, also get our energy from the food we eat, and all of that food is derived from the energy of the sun. So, we need the sun to produce our food to survive. But do our bodies need direct exposure to sunlight to survive?

A study published in the American Journal of Medical Sciences, stated that humans need vitamin D to survive, and humans get their vitamin D from the sun. The study shows that those with the lowest vitamin D levels have more than double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes over an eight-year period compared with those with the highest levels of vitamin D.

Sunshine vitamin D, as I like to call it, as opposed to a vitamin D supplement, also protects us against a host of other diseases, including heart disease, cancers, osteoporosis, prostate cancer and colon cancer. Sunlight vitamin D also has other health benefits, like protecting against depression, insomnia, and an overactive immune system.

Vitamin supplements alone cannot deliver the same healthful vitamin D as exposure to sunlight. The International Space Station uses LED lighting system with blue, white and red color spectrums, simulating the natural light we get on Earth in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings, to deliver similar health benefits as exposure to real sunlight. Recent studies have shown that LED lighting can cause the natural production of vitamin D3 in humans and has direct health benefits. You’ve heard of grow lights? Same thing.

A lamp with a just a bright white light will put you at risk of UV exposure, which can cause skin damage. Blue spectrum LED produces vitamin D3 and does without producing harmful UV radiation. Blue LED light, combined with white and red spectrum LED light, helps regulate our circadian rhythms and reduce depression and insomnia. But even this LED lighting cannot match all of the health benefits of sunlight. And it certainly can’t heat the sand under your feet.

Humans need natural sunlight. But there is no simple formula to determine how much natural sunlight is enough for the human body to produce enough vitamin D, and at what point exposure to the sun becomes unhealthy. Here’s why. The intensity of the sun varies by location on earth as well as the time of year. A person’s skin type will also play a big role in calculating what is a healthy sun exposure for them.

For the the sake of conversation, let’s try coming up with a formula for a middle-aged adult male with fair skin, who lives in California (no, it’s not me). According to the USDA recommended dosage, this person needs about 600 international units of vitamin D per day. Based on that goal, 10 minutes of mid-day sun in June at 1,000 ft. elevation while wading in the pool, will supply this person with the recommended daily allowance to maintain proper vitamin D health. That is, of course, if this guy already has a proper balance of vitamin D in his body, and that the proper exposure to sunlight is repeated each day.

An article published in Scientific America determined that almost 75% of all teens and adults in the U.S. suffer from vitamin deficiency.