Climate Credit Helping California ‘Stay Golden’

5229733647_19c2645d5d_zBy Tom Bowman

“Stay Golden.”  It’s not just a new rallying cry for water efficiency and saving energy in our state — it is a saying that represents the feeling many Californians share for our state’s beautiful landscape, communities and oceans, as well as our leadership in protecting the environment.

As a small business owner, I am aware of the challenges Californians face to “Stay Golden” as we work together to grow our economy and, at the same time, make a real difference in fighting the greatest challenge of our time — climate change.

I write this to say we can, and are, doing both. Californians should be proud.

One positive result of the effort to “Stay Golden” is showing up in your utility bill this month — the California Climate Credit. The Climate Credit is an automatic credit on electricity bills that residents will receive in April and October, and small businesses like mine will receive it every month.

The California Climate Credit comes from a program California is implementing to fight climate change by limiting greenhouse gas pollution.  It was developed as a result of landmark legislation called the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, also known as AB32, which is fighting climate change and its costly effects by reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 30 percent by 2020.

Since energy use causes about 50 percent of the state’s emissions, using electricity more efficiently in our homes and businesses can have a big impact on helping to clean the air. And the Climate Credit that you and I receive can help each of us reduce our emissions.

Utilities across the state offer small businesses a variety of effective energy efficiency programs and rebates, as well as ideas for ways to use the Climate Credit to generate additional savings on energy bills. Onsite and online energy audits and other programs specific to the type of small business you may own or work for are available through Southern California Edison. For example, my small firm received energy efficient lights at no cost. We also signed up for a peak demand program that lowers our monthly bills.

While we work hard at our jobs, small business owners do get to go home, and the energy and money savings provided by the Climate Credit are available there, too. The Climate Credit could help pay for a programmable thermostat that helps you manage the temperature in your home, or you could use the credit to purchase more efficient lights or an advanced power strip that can help eliminate “standby power” from electronics. Together these small steps will reduce your energy use and help lower your monthly costs.

For small businesses like mine, the Climate Credit provides an opportunity to invest in energy efficiency products, which save our company money immediately — and every single year — and make a positive impact on climate change for the long run.

The California Climate Credit is a true win-win for all of us.

Image credit: Flickr/Samuel M. Livingston

Tom Bowman is a keynote speaker and founder and chairman of Bowman Design Group in Signal Hill, California, which develops communication strategies and creates museum and commercial exhibitions. Bowman Design Group received a 2009 Cool California Small Business of the Year award for reducing its carbon emissions by 65% in less than two years, and is the first marketing communications company to receive APEX/ASTM Sustainable Meetings certification. Bowman is the author of The Green Edge—a guide to cost-effective environmental performance in the event industry—and received the EXPO Elite and international Green Good Design Awards.

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