Naples, Get Your Green On!: The city’s Green Business Certification program offers win-win opportunities.
Apr 01, 2012 01:08PM
● By Lee Walker
Until the end of this year, Southwest Florida businesses both small and large have the opportunity to participate in the city of Naples’ free Green Business Certification Program. The region-specific, flexible approach to being energy- and resource-conscious offers local businesses the chance to gain recognition, save real “green” on operating expenses and win potential customers interested in buying and using local sustainable products and services.
NPower is part of a grant-funded (through December, 2012) energy outreach campaign underway in the city. Aimed at certifying a minimum of 40 businesses, the program is based on a successful Sarasota County model, with a common-sense approach that will help businesses to understand and implement energy- and water-saving actions. Its simple premise is rooted in the concept of efficiency, a keystone of any successful business. “All businesses understand that less waste, more profit and a better working environment are basic tenets of success,” says Cloe Waterfield, founder of TwentyFifty LLC, a sustainability and environmental consulting firm that focuses on climate change and carbon management in Southwest Florida.
“Business owners are becoming more aware that consumers are increasingly choosing to spend their dollars at establishments whose products and services demonstrate a sensitivity to managing natural resources,” advises Waterfield, who is working with Marjorie Ziff-Levine, founder of You Gotta Go Green! and David Corban, a local architect, to implement the certification program.
The NPower initiative addresses four key areas, ensuring that businesses meet minimum standards in each. The basic musts are an energy evaluation, recycling compliance, willingness to track utilities and commitment to conservation, in addition to several flexible actions that can be tailored to the specifics of each enterprise to meet the minimum qualifying standards. The process begins with a free energy evaluation performed by Florida Power & Light. “From the evaluation, businesses gain valuable perspective into how their energy dollars are being spent, and are informed about rebates and incentives available for energy-saving retrofits,” Waterfield advises.
Although enthusiastic about the interest from more than 30 local businesses, Waterfield is often perplexed about the companies that look green on the ‘outside of the box,’ but don’t seem to care about the natural environment. “I can’t figure out why businesses that already have green practices and seem like a logical fit have shown the least interest,” she says.
Currently, Moorings Park community, Bamboo Café, Bayfront Inn 5th Avenue, Hilton Naples, Best Western Naples, Andrew Hill Investment Advisors, St. Johns Episcopal Church, NCH Healthcare System, The Naples Players, Wynn’s Market, Sunshine Ace Hardware, Gulf Shore Association of Condominiums and Natural Awakenings magazine are working with the green certification program.
These businesses will receive a Green Business Decal, a two-year certification and a profile in the NPower monthly newsletter. “We want to use every opportunity to promote their environmentally friendly products and services. It’s just another way of spreading the word to let consumers know where to go to buy green,” says Waterfield.