Go green and save some green!
Sure, operating an energy-efficient business reduces your utility bills. But it can also earn you financial rewards from federal, state and local incentive programs. Here are three such initiatives that encourage companies to go green:
* Energy-efficient commercial buildings tax deduction: Commercial-property owners can claim a federal tax credit for energy-saving improvements, according to "Clean Energy Opportunities for Virginia's Small Businesses," a free guide released Jan. 10 by Small Business Majority. They can deduct as much as $1.80 per square foot if they install lighting, heating systems, air-conditioning, insulation or other improvements that reduce their energy costs by at least 50 percent.
Part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, this incentive expires Dec. 31, 2013. Learn more at www.efficientbuildings.org.
* Dominion Virginia Power's commercial energy audit: The utility company will compensate commercial customers who invest in energy-efficient upgrades recommended by a Dominion-approved auditor. Such upgrades can include Energy Star multifunction printers, refrigerated vending-machine "misers" and LED case lighting.
The energy audit, which the customer pays for, must be performed by a member of Dominion's Contractor Network. To receive incentives, participants have up to six months after the audit to complete the improvements. A typical rebate is about $1,852, with a limit of $4,000.
To find a contractor or for more information, visit Dominion Virginia Power's web page about "Energy Conservation Programs." Or call 1-800-DOM-HELP.
* City of Virginia Beach Tax Rate Program for Energy-Efficient Buildings: Own a building in Virginia Beach? Whether commercial or residential, if it exceeds certain energy-efficiency standards, you could get a break on property taxes. To be eligible, the building must be certified by a state-licensed architect or engineer or by one of the following programs: the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system, the Energy Star program or Green Globes' Green Building Initiative.
The special tax rate, which is reassessed annually, only covers the actual structure, not the land surrounding it.
To learn more, call the Real Estate Assessor's Office at 385-4601 or visit the city's website.