Green Business Ideas

There are plenty of green business ideas to earn extra income or make a living – from selling homemade clothing or recycled furniture to opening an organic spa or gift shop, starting an organic food stand, and recycling materials such as aluminum, cardboard, plastic, and paper.

Ideas

Recycling, for example, helps turn used items into usable materials. This is one way to contribute to environmental conservation and make a profit at the same time. Opening an organic spa and beauty salon is also a great idea for a green business. Many beauty products are packed with harmful substances, chemicals, and compounds. A green beauty salon, on the other hand, uses healthier products for treatments such as straightening, color correction, color retouch, and others. Another option is to become a green business consultant to help companies develop and implement good practices. There are many ideas for an eco-friendly business, including opening a bicycle repair shop, developing mobile apps with eco-friendly features and functions, upcycling old furniture, and many others. Whatever the type of business, this is a way to contribute to sustainable development and minimize impact on the environment.

Sustainability

Green businesses are actually profitable, and the reason is that they save money by boosting productivity, improving energy efficiency, and minimizing waste. Of course, how profitable a business is depends on the product or service offered, location, market share, and other factors.

Business Plan

Writing a good business plan is the first step to opening a green business, especially for entrepreneurs who seek to secure external financing. A detailed business plan highlights the potential benefits for end-consumers and local communities, for example, reducing physical waste by using recycled and organic materials, minimizing water waste, using energy-efficient machinery and equipment, etc. Obviously, a detailed business plan includes sections on your labor and capital requirements, financial projections, sales and marketing strategies, competitive analysis, market research, and more. The goal is to convince creditors that your idea is profitable and you are serious about keeping your business running.

Financing Options

There are different ways to obtain external financing in Canada, including private loan providers and funding available under the Canada Small Business Financing Program. Many small businesses apply for loans under the government program to benefit from low-cost financing and purchase equipment, buildings, or land. Start-ups and small-size businesses with a revenue of up to $10 million are free to apply for a government-sponsored loan. Applicants are asked to present a business plan when submitting an application to their credit union, caisse populaire, bank, or another financial institution. The list of participating institutions includes the National Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Banque Laurentienne du Canada, Niverville Credit Union, and many others. Another option is to apply for an unsecured or secured loan from a private provider (see this), whether a finance company, bank, or another entity. Banks in Canada offer business loans, lines of credit, overdrafts, and other financial products. Many banks offer specialized products such as start-up loans, franchise financing, agriculture loans, and others. A small-size loan (see this) from a large or local bank, for example, allows businesses to buy equipment, tools, and fixed assets and meet operating expenses. Another idea is to apply for a business line of credit to improve your cash flow and cover daily expenses. Using a business credit card (see this) is yet another way to pay for day-to-day expenses, monitor and limit employee spending, and take advantage of business perks. What is more, timely payments help boost your score and increase your credit limit. A loan from a finance company is also an option, but the interest rate is usually higher.

Ontario Home Energy Conservation Incentive Program

Financed by the Green Investment Fund, the Home Energy Conservation Incentive Program in Ontario targets homeowners who use electricity, wood, oil, propane, and natural gas for heating. The program is run by Union Gas and Enbridge Gas Distribution in cooperation with Save On Energy and the provincial government. The main goal is to minimize pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, reduce electricity/energy bills, and increase energy efficiency.

How the Program Works

Customers who purchase and install 2 or more energy-efficient devices and upgrades are offered up to $5,000 in the form of cash back. Rebates are offered for central air conditioners, air source heat pumps, appliances, and doors and windows. When it comes to appliances, rebates are usually offered for Energy Star certified models. Customers who opt for a water heater or a heating system also qualify for rebates. The same goes for attic, exterior wall and basement insulation and high-efficiency furnaces and boilers. Homeowners who choose to install an Energy Star air source heat pump are also offered a rebate for replacing appliances and systems that use wood, propane, oil, or natural gas. Additional electrical incentives are also offered to customers who install Energy Star clothes washers, dehumidifiers, freezers, and refrigerators.

Thermostats and Savings

Customers who purchase and install a Smart Thermostat are offered a $100 rebate under the program. Only thermostats purchased before December 31, 2018 qualify for a rebate. There are two ways to receive an inventive, by check or bill credit, depending on whether the homeowner is an Enbridge Gas customer. And there are different purchase options to look into if you choose Ecobee 3 Light or Ecobee 3/4, including Lowe’s, Home Depot, Best Buy, and Ecobee. The purchase options for Honeywell Lyric are Walmart, Rona, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Canadian Tire, and Best Buy. Examples of qualifying thermostats are also Nest Thermostat, Honeywell Lyric T6, Trane Thermostats, and Nest Thermostat E.

Businesses and Commercial Incentives in Ontario

Incentives are offered to industrial and commercial customers as well as the assisted housing sector. Enbridge Gas Distribution, for example, features both financial incentives and free services tailored to industrial customers. The goal is to help minimize environmental pollution, reduce operating costs, and implement energy-efficient upgrades. Fixed incentives are offered for equipment and appliances such as destratification fans, condensing make-up air units, infrared heaters, and energy and heat recovery ventilators. Custom incentives and solutions are also available. The emphasis is on action and implementation, engineering analysis, measurement, opportunity identification, and knowledge development. Incentives vary from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on consumption of natural gas per year. Commercial customers are also offered a number of solutions, incentives, and services to help improve energy efficiency. There are different solutions available for entertainment and athletic facilities, educational establishments, healthcare facilities, retail locations, accommodation, offices, and multi-residential buildings. Under the Showerhead Rebate Program, for example, customers are offered rebates for water conservation. The goal is to help minimize water and natural gas costs. The program is available to customers of Enbridge Gas only. They are asked to fill an application form and provide details such as equipment information, square footage, Enbridge account number and name, installation date and name, and more. Equipment information includes details such as number of units, model and make, and end use. Finally, applicants fill in contractor information such as contractor and company name, company address, etc.