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1 Is there a fee for the Green Business Program?
There is not currently an fee for most jurisdictions, but there may be soon, so apply quickly. Many jurisdictions will likely start charging a nominal fee to cover the costs of running the program. A few jurisdictions have already started doing this. Costs may be incurred, however, if fixtures do not meet our minimum requirements.
2 How long does it take for a business to obtain Green Business certification?
It depends on several factors: how many practices on the Green Business are already in place, how complicated the facility is (i.e. is there a kitchen, parking lot, or pool?), and how committed the business is to making the required changes quickly. It generally takes a quick business about a month to 6 weeks. An average time frame is about 3 months. Some businesses can take up to a year if they move slowly or have complicated changes to make.
3 What do I need to do to be a Green Business?
To be certified as a Green Business you must demonstrate that you take action to conserve resources and prevent pollution in both your facility (fixtures and maintenance) and your operations (purchasing and other practices). Credit worthy actions items consist of certain requirements for all businesses, a minimum number of optional items chosen from the and other items you write in (which are subject to approval). These items are then verified through several onsite assessments. For any required items not verified, needed follow up action must be completed in order to be passed. Once all assessments are passed, you will be Certified!
4 What is the process to become a Green Business?
The exact process varies between jurisdictions, but all consist of filling out the registration form, completing an application, and having onsite assessments. Some jurisdictions require an initial site visit or a phone consultation before the assessments; some go straight to the assessments when the is complete. Different jurisdictions also accept s at different levels of completion. Please contact your local coordinator or review the instructions in the automatic email you receive after submitting your registration form.
3 What can I do to expedite my application?
Businesses that have submitted an online can expedite the process by using in information guides next to the application measures to implement the minimum requirements in the application. Being able to provide supporting documentation for each practice also helps speed the process.
4 Does my business have to be entirely green before I apply?
No, any business operating in an eligible sector with a commitment to greening operations and a willingness to make required changes can apply. Our program staff will assist each business in implementing the required practices and help them obtain Green Business certification.
5 What should I expect during the phone consultation? How can I prepare for it?
For jurisdictions that require phone consultations, they will discuss the process with you in detail and review the completed application. It usually takes about an hour. Based on your responses and any supporting documentation you are able to provide, we will provide guidance on measures that still need to be implemented. At the end of the consultation, we will set up an appointment for the initial site visit. We will then send you the revised application and if appropriate, a list of action items that need to be implemented before the site visit. You can prepare for the site visit by thoroughly reviewing the completed application and being prepared with supporting documentation for each measure. Although we provide the action items via email after the phone consultation, we ask that you take notes to minimize delays.
6 What should I expect during the initial site visit?
For jurisdictions that require initial site visits, they will do a complete walk-through of the space and verify that the practices identified on the application are being properly implemented. We will gather supporting documentation and photographic evidence. We will also provide direction on how to prepare for the detailed assessments that will be completed by the program experts. Upon completion of the initial site visit, we will prepare a report and share it with all members of our team, including recommendation to program experts on whether the business needs further assistance in any area.
7 I rent my office. Can my business still qualify for the Green Business Program?
Yes, almost all of our certified Green Businesses lease office space. Your business may need to work with the landlord or property manager in order to respond to questions pertaining to fixtures in your facility as well as cleaning and maintenance schedules and practices. If we determine that your business needs to upgrade fixtures in order to qualify, you will need to coordinate improvements or upgrades with the landlord. Program staff will provide support to you and your landlord to ensure that the process moves smoothly.
8 We are planning to move our business soon. If we obtain green business certification in our current location, will it still be valid after we move?
No. Since many of the Green Business practices pertain to fixtures and maintenance-related operations that differ from location to location, only sites at which onsite assessments are conducted qualify for certification. Green Business certification becomes invalid with a change of ownership or location. Businesses that move need to notify our staff of the change of location and re-submit their application.
9 There are several branches of our business. How should we proceed?
You only need to submit one application and indicate that you are enrolling several branches. However, each branch will need to submit a separate application and implement Green Business practices at each location.
10 We are interested in obtaining Green Business certification, but our business is not in an eligible Green Business sector. How should we proceed?
Each jurisdiction specifies which sectors (business types) they are able to serve. If your sector is not displayed in the drop-down menu when you apply to the program, it is likely not currently served. However it may just be an issue of finding where you best fit in our categories, so please check with your local coordinator from your region or the local website to see if your particular sector is served. If it is not, you may suggest to your local coordinator that they serve your sector. If your business is in a sector that we do not currently service, we ask that you submit an application indicating your interest in the program, which will be added to the waiting list. If we see high demand from a certain business sector, and our Program capacity allows, we will consider developing standards for that sector.
11 If our business is found to be out of compliance with an environmental regulation, will we be subject to fines?
Our intent is to help your business be in compliance and operate as a Green Business, not to subject you to fines. If, through the assessment process, we find that your business is out of compliance with certain environmental regulations, we can help. Once your business achieves environmental compliance, we can revisit your application. If your business falls out of compliance after receiving Green Business certification, your certification may be revoked.
12 What do I get for becoming a Green Business?
Aside from improved efficiency, workplace health, employee morale and community image, Green Businesses get a marketing edge over their competition. They are able to use the Green Business logo on their marketing materials and post a certificate and window decal at their business. They also benefit from promotion by the Green Business Program, where business listings are maintained online, handed out at events, and promoted in various forums such as County Board Meetings, awards ceremonies, and city and agency newsletters. In addition, Green Business typically enjoy lower utility bills and other cost savings!
12 I have another question that was not answered here. Who can I call or email?
Contact your local coordinator to ask specific questions. If your question pertains to measures on the application, click on the information icon next to the measure to get further instruction before calling your coordinator. Also check the Resources Page for your jurisdiction for additional information.