Discover the benefits of adding renewable energy sources to your business, and the practical aspects of adopting them.
- Adopting renewable energy sources can reduce utility bills and increase electrical efficiency.
- Renewable energy can improve employee satisfaction, leading to increased productivity and retention.
- Your business may qualify for government financial assistance to subsidize renewable energy adoption
Corporate buildings used to be gray monoliths that consumed electricity like hungry beasts. That’s so 20th century. In the 2000’s, we like our structures to be green (at least in terms of energy conservation).
An energy source is renewable if it’s provided by a nearly infinite source, such as the sun, wind, and water. Non-renewable energy supplies have a more limited supply: oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.
If you’re thinking, “It’s OK if my facility keeps consuming electricity, right?”, the answer is no. Find better ways to create electricity. Coal is the primary electricity source; natural gas and petroleum are also used as well. Those sources are going to run out eventually, so it’s better if corporate building owners and managers switch to less exhaustible supplies.
Wind, water, and solar are leading the green revolution, with solar power generating 58 billion kWh in 2022. Altogether, 22% of the nation’s electrical energy came from renewable sources that year, with this number tracking to increase as more corporations realize how they benefit from green energy.
The big ROI of renewable energy solutions for corporate buildings
Businesses can cut utility bills when they use renewable energy. Maximizing return on investment depends on optimizing a facility’s size, its equipment, and what energy upgrades have been made.
For example, solar panels are economical to maintain beyond the upfront installation cost. Their output can also be combined with a building’s existing grid power to reduce costs and your carbon footprint.
Wind energy is being used widely by corporations to complement solar power, and is expected to provide as much as 20% of the country’s electricity by 2030. Still, wind-generated energy isn’t a significant source in Florida, nor is hyrdroelectric power, which is difficult to harness here due to our state’s flat terrain. Here’s how the renewable energy we can generate saves money:
- Greater reliability, particularly with solar (the electrical grid fails regularly, while the sun has a few billion years of charge left)
- Protection from the price fluctuations of nonsustainable energy
- Selling excess energy back to the grid
- An eco-friendly brand profile that could attract more customer
All forms of renewable energy are improving efficiency and becoming more cost-competitive with nonrenewables. Now is a good time to start taking financial advantage!
Green building energy solutions can refresh (and retain) your staff
The biggest potential financial benefit could be reducing employee sick days and turnover. Adding renewable energy to your corporate building can be a good backup against grid failure, making operations more efficient and keeping staff comfortable.
In Florida, grid failures tend to kill air conditioning instantly, turning offices into heat traps.
Excessive heat can do more than simply make staff uncomfortable. it can worsen health conditions and make otherwise healthy people get dizzy, nauseous, or pass out. Read our earlier blog on the dangers of heat-related illness at work to learn more.
Corporations are more likely to retain a productive workforce if the facility is comfortable. They’re also more likely to attract conservation-minded candidates when companies demonstrate concern about their staff and carbon footprint. One survey discovered that 71% of workers at sustainability-minded companies feel more engaged with their jobs.
Installing green building energy solutions
Beyond the initial purchase cost, a business must allocate the space on or around their premises for solar panels or solar batteries (the two can exist and provide power separately). They must be wired into the building; the process differs based on structural setups and how the business wants to use the solar. This rewiring is another cost to consider.
As we mentioned above, harnessing wind or hydroelectric power is challenging for Florida businesses. The lack of wind turbines can, in theory, be overcome if a corporation builds its ow. But, in practice, it’s not very feasible. Corporate buildings tend to cluster in urban centers where there isn’t space to construct turbines.
Incentives for green building energy solutions
The initial expense of upgrading to renewable energy can be offset by the government’s support for green power sources. The federal solar tax credit can cover 30% of solar-energy installation costs in 2023; it’s available until 2032. It’s also retroactive to solar systems installed in 2022. A company can claim this credit by filing Form 3468 with its annual tax return. The following eligibility criteria must be met:
- The business is in the U.S. and not tax-exempt
- The solar-panel system is built from mostly new equipment
- The system is paid for in cash or financed
This investment tax credit is one of two big incentives for businesses considering solar energy as a green power solution. The other is the production tax credit. This is a tax credit on a business’ kWh (kilowatts per hour) output, with the credit lasting up to a decade. Visit energy.gov to learn more about these incentives, their qualifying criteria, and potential savings.
Contact UES for expert energy advice
The UES team has decades of electrical experience to lean on to make your corporate building energy- efficient. Contact us with any questions about maximizing energy efficiency, or receive a free quote on upgrading your electrical system!