Green Building Resources & Incentives

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North America “Goes Green” With Tax Incentives:

“It’s Easy To Be Green!”

Green building practices continue to grow in consumer popularity thanks, in part, to incentives to build green from government agencies and industry advocacy groups.

The Green Building movement – especially in the area of increased energy efficiency – improves outcomes for manufacturers and consumers, and though energy efficiency is only one aspect of Green Building, it’s energy efficiency that has the greatest impact on the environment, and therefore, gets the media spotlight. (see our resources section for more on Green  building & construction)

Both Canada and the U.S. monitor sources of toxic greenhouse gases with increasing specificity. A recent issue of Facilities Management – a    leading industry journal – stated, “Commercial and Industrial buildings in the U.S. contribute emissions of “greenhouse gases”” – a fact based on government-produced studies. The growing problem of greenhouse emissions has lead to numerous government initiatives to incentivize the green process, encouraging business leaders across the economic spectrum to save money and go green.

The core of the green stimulus package, developed by both Canadian and U.S. government agencies at the local, regional, state/provincial and national levels, are tax incentives for environmentally sound business activity – from new, energy efficient construction to lower greenhouse gas emissions through the use of “scrubber” technology that removes toxins from industrial waste gases.

There’s a lot of information available about agencies and compliance associations that provide tax incentives, information, rules and regs on what’s green and what just looks green.

TIAP: The Tax Incentives Assistance Project

TIAP is a money-saving partner in creating energy efficient commercial and industrial space – an ideal resource for expanding businesses that believe green is good for the company, the consumer and the planet.

Commercial developers receive an incentive for utilizing green products and environmentally sound building practices that actually lower building costs with the help of agency funding, guidelines and consultation.

“A tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot is available to owners or tenants (or designers, in the case of government-owned buildings) of new or existing commercial buildings that are constructed or reconstructed to save at least 50% of the heating, cooling, ventilation, water heating, and interior lighting energy cost of a building that meets ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers) Standard 90.1-2001.” 

Business owners, builders, contractors, investors, designers and ancillary industries benefit from this generous incentive to build or retro-fit existing commercial space to shrink the company’s carbon foot print and improve the air.

The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association

NAIMA maintains an extensive database of Codes and Standards and Energy Efficient Practices that provide green guidelines to decision makers and stakeholders considering best new construction practices, or upgrading an existing facility to meet compliance standards.

In addition, the Naima site offers useful tools and features, information and compliance specifics to insure that the business sector takes full advantage of government-backed incentives to build green and run green. There’s a Naima community that’s ideal for networking and discovering how other business sectors are making maximum use of government incentives to save energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

There’s other invaluable information including:

how to locate a certified energy rater;

recommended insulation levels for commercial, industrial and residential space;

an Energy Star™ standards guide;

an open, supply chain network to design, construct and deliver a compliant commercial or industrial building, or retro-fit your existing business facilities.

This one site provides the rules of the game and the tools to get your business green so you enjoy the tax incentives to which you’re entitled for good corporate citizenship. Your business is green and that’s good for business.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency

DSIRE is “a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal [green] incentives and policies that promote renewable energy efficiency.”

DSIRE, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, was founded in 1995 to provide simple access to green compliance rules and regulations at all levels of government, and even within the private and public utility sectors. 

You’ll find invaluable, up-to-the-minute information from this resource, currently overseen by the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.

Tax incentives are contained in a simple to use database that enables users to access compliance regulations by topic, by agency or by geography, simplifying the process of reaching out to the proper agencies and businesses. It’s a time saver for those planning an upgrade or new construction while running the day-to-day operations of a fast-growing business.

The DSIRE library houses all the information you need to determine the cost savings enjoyed by going green and keeping green with environmentally sound construction and operational policies. Worthy of a bookmark for repeat visits to learn and to make the best decisions for your business and the community you serve. Going green establishes your business as one that looks beyond the bottom line.

Office of Energy Efficiency

The OEE is a Canadian agency so it’s critical to understanding the scope of incentives and “soft” business benefits for any Canadian or U.S.-based contractor planning construction in the provinces.

The OEE states, “The ecoENERGY Efficiency program is investing (an additional) $78 million between 2011 and 2013 to maintain the Government of Canada’s momentum to improve energy efficiency in Canada.” This essential resource provides the information you need to enjoy tax and other incentives received when you build green and implement ecologically-sound business practices.

The OEE Grants and Incentives page provides a sole source for compliance standards wherever in Canada you plan to build or update. This simplifies research time, provides empirical data and delivers the facts and figures required to make the decision that green is the only way to go.

So, whether you’re Canadian-based, have remote site offices in Canada or plan to expand operations into the Canadian market, the Office of Energy Efficiency offers practical, regulatory information and strategies for making the most of government-supported efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Canadian Industrial Program for Energy Conservation

This program streamlines the approval process by cutting bureaucratic red tape to obtain “subsidized energy audits” that improve business’ chances of “exploiting the diverse incentives offered to Canadians to embrace the Green Movement.”

Once your company has made the decision to increase its value by going green, this advocacy group partners with you to simplify everything from licensing through energy efficient compliance that creates tax savings now and in the years ahead.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ Green Municipal Funds

(GMF) “funds the very best examples of leadership and innovation in municipal sustainable development. These initiatives must result in significant environmental impact and have the potential to be replicated in other communities.” In other words, green innovation.

GMF is an excellent resource for accessing the rule book for green compliance at the local level. Again, there are tax incentives to green building at the local, regional, provincial/state and national levels of both the governments of Canada and the U.S.

GMF oversees hundreds of millions of dollars invested in green building and energy conservation. Applications for funding are available on line.

Going Green With Pre-Fab Metal Buildings

Government agencies and environmental organizations recognize that quonset buildings and other prefab steel buildings – from homes to barns and from warehouses to airplane hangers – are green. These structures are built from recycled metals and can be recycled again in the future, thus lessening the impact construction has on the environment both short- and long-term.

These buildings are easy to outfit with energy-saving features – thick insulation, radiant heat and solar gain windows that capture and hold the sun’s heat throughout the day. And green certification, based on a variety of regulations and standards, is greatly simplified with the use of quonset and pre-fab metal construction technology. Even the building process is totally green.

To discover more about tax and other incentives in going green, to discover how your business saves through tax incentives and best green practices, boosting your company’s bottom line while lowering greenhouse gas emissions, explore BuildingsGuide.com

It’s a win-win for business and for the environment we all share. 

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Author: Conrad Mackie