Green Tech Companies in Boulder Area

Boulder, Colorado leads the way in high tech startup companies according to a recently released study from the New Engine/Kaufmann Foundation. Three of these tech companies based in the Boulder area provide energy saving services that most organizations could benefit from immediately.

tendril  Tendril offers smart energy technologies for both energy providers and consumers. Businesses may monitor and control energy usage in a variety of ways using Tendril’s efficient Cloud based technology. It is much easier to conserve and reduce energy when a company has more control and knowledge.

green garageGreen Garage services vehicles so that businesses and consumers save money and decrease their environmental impact. They go beyond traditional auto maintenance by offering technologies including nitrogen tire fills and silicon based windshield wipers. With a fleet maintenance program and employee discount offers, Green Garage offers businesses with vehicle fleets a real eco-friendly and money saving alternative.

Boulder Hybrid Conversions  converts Prius automobiles into plug-in electric hybrids, boulder hybrid conversionswhich curtails gas consumption. Colorado taxpayers get a generous tax rebate that increases the financial attractiveness of this innovative conservation technique. Eco-officiency converted their Prius hybrid to add a 10kw battery pack and was thrilled with the service of Boulder Hybrid as well as the reduced visits to the gas station.

For more information on how we help you navigate and implement energy conservation options contact us.

Green Building: Funding Options for Renewable Energy Projects

Few business owners would argue that green building practices are ethically the right step and will prove to be cost effective in the coming years. However, funding a green building project up-front can prove to be a challenge for many entrepreneurs and small to mid-size companies.  energy-efficiency

Consider the following funding options for your green building project:

  1. Research grant opportunities.  Grants for green projects are available at both the state and federal levels.  The Department of Energy, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Veteran’s Affairs and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development branch make funds available to both business owners and homeowners. The Environmental Protection Agency also has a list of funding sources for homeowners, industry and non-profit organizations. and are additional grant-finding resources.
  2. Rebates from the local utility company.  Utility companies often offer rebates on energy conservation and green building projects.  There is also a host of rebate programs available through Xcel Energy that can defray costs for energy conservation efforts.
  1. Energy Efficient Mortgages.  If you are taking out a mortgage on your business property, ask about an energy improvement mortgage. This special lending arrangement allows you to borrow a larger amount of money to fund green improvements, without having to increase your down payment.
  2. Federal Tax Credits. Similar to homeowners, business owners can get tax credit for qualifying energy-saving purchases, including air conditioners, furnaces or construction materials. The Business Energy Investment Tax Credit, is the corporate tax credit enacted in 2013 and provides up to 30% tax rebate for solar and wind and PTC renewable technologies.
  3. State and Local Tax Credits.  States and local municipalities often provide incentives for business owners to build green. In Colorado there are many opportunities with the Governor’s Office of Energy Management as well as other organizations.

Don’t let cost of renewable energy prevent you from building green.  Investing in renewable energy will save your business money over time and leave less of an environmental footprint.

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Resources For Small and Medium Businesses In Colorado

Here in Colorado we take the business of sustainability very seriously. In every corner of the state the push is on to improve our businesses to increase energy efficiency and support green business operations. Here are some resources, programs, incentives and guides available online to assist small and medium sized businesses;

The Main Street Efficiency Initiative (MSEI) is a Colorado Energy Office (CEO) program that helps small business lower energy costs as well as their carbon footprint.

Recharge Colorado has a resource page that is specifically for small businesses seeking information for energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy projects in Colorado.

The Energy Efficiency Guide for Colorado Businesses will help you find ways for your company to save energy.  Their recommendations are sorted by sector that provides specific suggestions depending on the type of business.

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) has a website full of valuable information and tools for small businesses.

CORE, the sustainable business association for Colorado also has a separate page for resources that include articles, business success stories and downloadable reports.

And of course, we at eco-officiency provide a wealth of resources for businesses to become greener in their operations.

Contact us if we can help you find the answers you are looking for when it comes to finding resources and information to help green your business.

A Green Business Operations Can Start at Anytime or Age

“Did you know that each person [on the planet] throws out four and a half pounds of trash a day?” he told NBC 7 News. “Now multiply that by 3.8 billion people. How many pounds is that?”

These words were spoken by a 12 year-old by the name of Sam Klein, who started his own recycling business. He earns up to $200 for each box of ink cartridges he recycles and donates the proceeds to charities in his home town of St. Louis, Missouri.

This is one way to make a difference. Looking to create a green business operation is another. What can you do? There are very easy and simple options that are available. Here are some ideas;

Paper: Purchase 100% recycled paper for every day printing. Did all of those pages that were tossed need to be printed? Proofread those documents electronically before they are printed.

Re-use printer cartridges: Purchase recycled ink-jet and laser printer cartridges. There can be a sizable savings if your turn them in when purchasing new ones at certain office stores.

Lights: Are the lights turned off in rooms that are not being used? Merely turning off the lights when not in use (especially at night) can save a company between 10-15% of their utility bill. Consider adding stickers to the light switches to remind staff to turn off the lights or purchase sensor lights that will turn off automatically.

Energy: Save energy and turn off computers, monitors, and printers overnight. Assign one person each week that will check the office before leaving to make sure all equipment is turned off. This not only makes it happen but starts building accountability and responsibility among all the staff.

eco-officiency has an assessment tool developed in Excel that will help you explore all the areas where you can make your business a greener environment.

There is a good feeling that comes when employees know they are making a difference for the environment. By coming together in the office as a team, they develop a sense of accomplishment that you can be sure is shared with their families. This environmental effort just may carry over into their home life, if it did not exist there already.

Contact us and we will work with you to create a green environment for your business.

LED Lights: The Good and the Bad

More and more companies (as well as homes) are converting lights to the LED bulb (LED stands for Light Emitting Diode) for their benefits. These light bulbs offer similar light with substantially less power, saving between 50-90% of

lighting energy costs. LED’s are extremely durable and require very little maintenance once installed. Although expensive, they also last a very long time

up to 12-25 years depending on use and therefore are considered more cost-effective over the full life cycle of an LED. LED’s have also been touted as superior to CFL’s because they last longer, are more efficient and don’t contain mercury. If a CFL breaks and the mercury is exposed it is considered a hazardous waste issue.

However, LED’s aren’t all good and have waste challenges. They do contain lead, arsenic and a few other s

ubstances known to be dangerous. They are not a health hazard in a home or office encased, but if they do break it is important to treat them like hazardous waste. Currently LED’s can be disposed of in regular landfills and are not considered hazardous waste legally. However, because of the toxic contents it is strongly recommended when disposing of LED’s to treat them similar to hazardous waste. (To learn more visit E-magazine article, Dark Side of LED Light bulbs)

For more information on LED lighting visit these websites;

  • LED Lighting Facts: A program of the U.S. Department of Energy that provides information on LED products and performance rating.
  • LED’s Magazine: A magazine dedicated to LED lighting information.
  • LED Journal: Provides an online resource guide, a buyer’s guide, industry directory and other resources on LED lighting.
  • Energy Efficient Lighting: LED reference information provided by EarthEasy, a green product online retailer, which provides basic information for the consumer including an overview of benefits, terminology, and how to choose an LED.

Energy Management Software Options and Recommendations

Energy management software is a way for companies to track energy usage and waste. This is a growing and changing market and industry with a large part of company’s sustainability strategies focusing on energy conservation.

Here are some resources and articles to learn more about energy management software:

GreenBiz, 6 Rules to Follow When Shopping for Energy Management Software

CA Emerging Technologies, Operations Energy Management: From Data Center Through Facilities

Environmental Leader, Market for Carbon and Energy Management Software

ZD Net, 10 Best Carbon and Energy Management Software Tools

Save Money – Turn Computers off at Night

More than 31 million of the country’s 104 million office computers are left on overnight.  According to the campaign survey “across the nation, this adds up to more than $1.72 billion dollars and almost 15 million tons of CO2 emissions.”

It is a cost per employee of about $150 per year to power a computer overnight…essentially that is not being used. Implement an office campaign to turn computers off at night. Having trouble remembering? Set Outlook to send you a reminder every day 15 minutes before you typically leave.

Or entice your IT department to purchase an IT system that will do it for you such as Verdiem Software. This software allows for power management settings to be controlled by a central server system. Essentially it can turn off all computers in an organization at the same time.

Green Office Cleaning

Most offices have a janitorial or custodial vendor who cleans offices. It is important to have your vendors support your organizations sustainability program.To encourage ‘green’ cleaning ask your vendor for the following;

  • Use green cleaning supplies. Make sure cleaning supplies are non-toxic and eco-friendly. Seventh Generation and All Green have a great line of cleaning products.
  • Turn off lights. Ask your janitorial staff to turn off all lights upon leaving the building. This supports accountability with this simple energy saving action.
  • Provide recycling and waste data. In order to improve recycling and waste management it is important to get data from your janitorial staff on the usage of receptacles along with rate of recycling. Make sure your janitorial staff is managing waste responsibly.

Get Festive with LED Holiday Lights

As the holiday season approaches you may want to add some decorations around the office, as well as at home. One easy way to spread the holiday cheer while saving energy, and some company money, is to switch to LED (light emitting diode) holiday lights. LED lights are an alternative to conventional incandescent holiday lights and are gaining popularity and availability. Though still more expensive than conventional lights, LEDs offer a number of benefits that not only outweigh the cost, but actually may make them cheaper in the long run. Some stores are offering a take back program, where they will take your old holiday lights, recycle them, and give you a discount on new LED lights.

Benefits of LED lights:

  • 90% more energy efficient – saving you money on the utility bill
  • When one bulb goes out, the others stay lit
  • Unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs are cool to the touch
  • LEDs are more durable and less likely to break
  • Pricewise, LEDs cost about five times as much as incandescents upfront. But their life span is 50,000 hours, instead of 1,000-2,000 hours for incandescents. That means if you lit the LEDs for 45 days each year, 24 hours a day, it would take 46 years for them to dim.

For more information visit this site on Holiday Lights: