Truckee businesses becoming green-certified through state organization
TRUCKEE, Calif. – North Lake Tahoe is taking strides in adapting green business practices, and the California Green Business Network’s Sierra Chapter is gaining traction in the Truckee community. The California Green Business Network is working towards adding more green business certifications to local businesses in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The California Green Business Network leads the state and nation in working with small businesses to create a “vibrant green economy,” according to the Green Business Network’s website. Katey Ford, coordinator for the Sierra Business Council, is working diligently in raising awareness and getting local businesses signed up to get green business certified in North Lake Tahoe.
“There hasn’t really ever been rural representation in the green business network,” Ford said. “We applied for funding and got approved to host the Sierra Chapter, which covers mainly Placer and Nevada counties as of right now.”
Ford hopes to grow the exposure for green business certifications by expanding into other areas of Lake Tahoe, but for now with limited hours per week and being based in Truckee, Ford is getting Truckee businesses involved.
“We thought we would start small and making a really strong center of businesses that get green certified and then take over around the lake,” Ford said. “The Green Business Network is really open to having us expand, so when that time comes it will absolutely be happening.”
Currently, Ford has had 12 businesses in North Lake Tahoe that have their business certified through the California Green Business Network.
“It’s businesses both big and small,” Ford said. “Granlibakken is certified, I’m working with RMU right now to get green certified, and a lot of home businesses are involved as well. Any business in the Tahoe Basin qualifies.”
The California Green Business Network has various checklists available through their website, highlighting the requirements for each business in their specified industry and what it takes to become green certified.
“All the checklists look different depending on the nature of the business, but typically the process takes anywhere from a week to about six months to complete,” Ford said. “It just depends on how involved the business wants to be with implementing green practices. There’s not a general checklist for everyone, its variable, but overall, it’s implementing ‘good’ into our local community.”
To become green certified, there are seven categories that each sector checklist is broken down to: energy, water, wastewater, transportation, community, waste diversion, and pollution prevention.
While the process can be long to become green certified, there are no prerequisites to get involved. In efforts to get more local businesses in the Truckee community involved, each business that want to get green certified will receive a $500 rebate which they can use to purchase supplies they need to work towards receiving the certification, and if the business is BIPOC or minority-owned, they will get a $1,000 rebate.
“It’s just a willingness to commit to the certification,” Ford said. “I try really hard to break it down for each business I work with that this is an intensive certification, but it really is on the business taking the time out of their day to get involved with it and get certified.”
While the process can be tedious, it’s thorough for good reason, and provides a better business practice in the end.
“This is not green-washing,” Ford said. “This is really taking the time to do things right and implement better business and structure practices that’ll help the business, the community, and the planet.”
The green business certification doesn’t only benefit the business directly, but also further benefits the Truckee community.
“The town of Truckee is implementing such progressive programs, specifically about sustainability and the environment,” Ford said. “This program fills the gap for local businesses to be further involved in that part of the community. The town council’s goals align with this program, with goals such as lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and you can’t reach those goals without addressing the local, small businesses, and they need the help.”
Ford further elaborates that not only does the program incentivize with a rebate, but also will help over time save each business money with implementing green practices.
“Small changes make all the difference,” Ford said. “Installing a low-flow toilet gets the water bill down, energy-efficient light bulbs help lower the electric bill. It’s small steps that make the change for the bigger picture. The more businesses in Tahoe communities that we get certified, the better it is for Lake Tahoe.”
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