A new study from the South County Energy Efficiency Partnership (SCEEP) finds that 76 businesses in Santa Barbara County have collectively saved an estimated 1.15 mWh — or $154,153 in annual electricity expenses — by participating in a free, voluntary countywide Green Business Program.
The Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County offers incentives and assistance to encourage businesses to implement voluntary actions to protect, preserve, and improve the environment, and helps create an energy action plan toward energy sustainability. The program certifies businesses and showcases them so consumers can make informed decisions about what businesses to support.
Businesses such as lynda.com, MedBridge, and Dining Services at the University of California, Santa Barbara have completed measures beyond what current laws require in areas of energy conservation, water conservation, waste reduction and recycling, pollution prevention, and environmentally preferable purchasing.
For example, lynda.com estimates savings of $35,000 a year from energy efficiency upgrades identified during their certification process, including updating its outdoor water irrigation system, starting a commuting solutions program to help employees find carpool partners, and monitoring energy consumption through adjusting settings on computers, printers, thermostats and water heaters. The company also installed weather sensors that turn off sprinklers during rainfall, which decreased water use by 30 percent.
“At each step, we’ve received free guidance from experts in water and energy conservation, which was extremely helpful,” said Dana Jennings, facilities supervisor at lynda.com. “Participating in the program established the beginning of our sustainability plan, and we’ll continue growing and building on our success.”
“Our goal is to make the program a really positive experience for businesses by offering assistance so they can make the connection between doing what’s right for our local environment and what’s best for their business,” said Frances Gilliland, program director of the Green Business Program of Santa Barbara County. “The program includes unique businesses of all different sizes that are already making improvements in sustainability, so we provide the framework to take it to the next level.”
The Green Business Program is supported in part by SCEEP — a partnership of Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, the cities of Carpinteria, Goleta and Santa Barbara, and the County of Santa Barbara. The SCEEP collaborative identifies opportunities for homeowners and businesses to take advantage of rebates, energy efficiency incentives, and other utility programs to save energy and money.
— Kelly Kapaun is a publicist representing SCEEP.