Climate Change and Pennsylvania Business Owners: What You Need to Know
October marks the beginning of Energy Awareness Month, where organizations from schools to small businesses to the federal government raise awareness of the importance of sustainability and managing the nation’s energy resources. For small businesses especially, the switch to clean energy may seem an impossible challenge with little reward. As prices rise on solar panels, an already-stretched business owner’s budget might not have “sustainability” at the top of the list.
But being an environmentally conscious business owner doesn’t always mean installing solar panels. So what can you realistically do as a small business owner to help the environment and protect your business from climate change?
Encourage Your Employees
You’ve heard the baby steps – shopping with reusable bags, eliminating plastic straws, turning the lights off when you leave a room. As a business owner, you can instill these values in your establishment and its employees. If just one person using a reusable water bottle saves approximately 1,460 plastic bottles per year from ending up in our environment, imagine how many water bottles just your team of five eliminates! (For those that want an actual number, a team of five people save 73,000 water bottles from entering the environment in just ten years. Imagine if we all used reusable bottles!)
Apply for a Grant
Take advantage of the Small Business Advantage Grant. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, the Small Business Advantage Grant provides 50% matching grants up to a maximum of $7,000 to enable Pennsylvania small businesses to purchase energy efficient or pollution prevention equipment, or adopt waste reduction processes. Learn more and apply here.
Get Covered and Inspire Others
Unlike large businesses, many small businesses don’t have the resources needed to examine and eliminate risks they face with climate change. For example, you probably didn’t have hurricane insurance here in Pennsylvania – until Hurricane Sandy hit. You can ensure your business’s resiliency to natural disasters, which are increasing with climate change, by increasing insurance coverage, establishing disaster recovery plans, or adding onsite energy resources like combined heat and power (CHP).
According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, small businesses can also be key participants in sustainability in their areas, for example by hosting water installations or participating in solar tours, like the National Solar Tour, which can be helpful to other small businesses interested in going green but unsure where to start.
The National Solar Tour is coming to Chester County! The Chester County Clean Energy Tour will be held Saturday, October 19th at various locations all across Chester County. Come see what sustainability efforts are already being implemented in Pennsylvania in small businesses like yours. Ask your questions and gather insight from real-life small business owners like yourself to see what you can do to move your business towards clean energy.
For more information about the Chester County Clean Energy Tour, please visit: https://www.nationalsolartour.org/localtours/chester-county/