Tucson Electric Power helped lead the launch of the new Southern Arizona Green Business Alliance as a way to help local businesses and nonprofit agencies enhance their sustainability practices.
Through our partnership, TEP will assist businesses in improving their energy efficiency and exploring renewable energy options. As an energy advisor, TEP offers a variety of incentives to businesses and schools for improvements that reduce costs and improve their bottom lines. In addition, TEP gives specialized customer service from our commercial call center and managers and provides an easy solar power option.
Businesses can earn certification through the alliance’s Green Business Leaders program. The group’s 65-point checklist highlights steps businesses can take to achieve greater sustainability, including the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“This is a way to create opportunities for businesses to get engaged in green business practices without having to expend a lot of resources,” said Camila Martins-Bekat, TEP External Affairs Representative, who serves on the alliance’s steering committee.
Started in late May, the alliance has received more than 20 applications, half of which are already going through the certification process. House Trevethan became the first certified business in late June and others are on their way, said Claire Kaufman, Southern Arizona Sustainability Program Manager for Local First Arizona, which oversees the alliance.
TEP provided $15,000 in initial funding for the alliance, Martins-Bekat said.
Kaufman said TEP’s financial support has been “instrumental,” along with other utilities and agencies.
“Without TEP funding of this program, it wouldn’t have happened,” Kaufman said. “We’re hoping to be a way to connect a lot of businesses and nonprofits to programs that already exist, like those that TEP already offers. That will help businesses become more sustainable and lower their energy costs.”
One business in the process of completing the certification is Literacy Connects, a nonprofit group that connects people of all ages to a world of opportunities through literacy and creative expression.
Rebecca Werner, Director of Finance and Operations for the group, said she has long had a goal of adding green practices, including weatherstripping and efficient windows. Already, the organization uses LED lighting, recycles waste and buys locally as much as possible. She hopes to conduct an energy audit to find other ways to save through this process.
“With all of the uncertainty right now, we thought it would be a positive, forward-thinking project,” Werner said. “We need that.”