BE A RESOURCE
Here’s How Your Chamber Can be a Value Add to Member Businesses
Local chambers across the country are helping their members profit from energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities. Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy is a free, chamber-run information hub that helps you attract and retain members. We do that by helping you take advantage of the growing economic opportunities in the clean energy space. Scroll through the strategies below to find the ones that best suit your members’ needs and feel free to contact us to help you bring these opportunities to life:
Develop a Speaker Series
Many chambers organize and facilitate a weekly, monthly, or quarterly event in which members can hear lectures or discussions on clean energy ideas, new technologies, clean tech policies, and economic opportunities. Your chamber can bring in local experts from business, research, technology, and government sectors to strengthen the awareness and knowledge of member businesses.
Who has already done it? The Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina, the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, Colorado, and the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee
Monitor and Brief Your Members on Legislation
Monitor legislation related to clean energy and energy efficiency at federal, state, and local levels. Educate member businesses on legislative developments and the business implications, empowering them with the knowledge to plan accordingly or engage in policy advocacy. Many chambers throughout the country currently monitor, educate on, and advocate for energy legislation.
Who has already done it? The Southwest Michigan Chamber First, Michigan
Create an Energy Committee with Member Companies
Involve your members in ongoing energy discussions and planning by recruiting them to serve on an energy committee within your chamber. At committee meetings, discuss the energy concerns of committee members, options for clean energy or energy efficiency projects, and policy proposals that the committee can support. Make sure that energy providers, large and small consumers, clean tech companies, and businesses from other sectors in your region are represented.
Who has already done it? The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Massachusetts
Share Expert Information
Through your website or other communication channels, create or link to a go-to resource for members seeking comprehensive information about clean energy policies, technologies, costs, and benefits. Tailor your information hub to your local businesses by focusing on industries common to your region. Provide links to existing online resources from experts, including the U.S. Department of Energy, research institutions, universities, and utilities.
Who has already done it? The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), small business partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Ohio, and the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee
Create Best Practice Energy Guides
Survey or speak with your members about how they’ve reduced their energy use or implemented clean energy projects. Identify projects that are cost-effective and replicable, and record what the businesses did, how they did it, and the benefits for their bottom line. Share this valuable information with your other members through your website or a printed publication.
Who has already done it? The Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), small business partner of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Ohio
REVIEW THE FOLLOWING LEGISLATION
PACE legislation makes it easier and less expensive for businesses to make renewable energy or energy efficiency improvements to their buildings, which reduce energy use and improve the overall value of the property. Under PACE programs, property owners voluntarily opt in to receive financing from cities or counties for clean energy projects, such as weather sealing, insulation, energy efficient boilers and cooling systems, new windows and solar installations. They then pay off this financing through an addition to their property taxes for up to 20 years, with the repayment obligation transferring automatically to the next property owner if the property is sold.
Who has already done it? The Bridgeport Regional Business Council, The Los Angeles Chamber, Prince William Chamber, Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber, Cambridge Chamber, San Francisco Chamber, and many more
Smart Grid Legislation
The smart grid incorporates digital technologies to sense and respond to electricity demand in real-time, greatly improving efficiency and reliability. With businesses and commerce increasingly reliant on reliable electricity, bringing our electric grid up to the 21st century is key in ensuring our local economies continue to grow. Build a strong coalition of supporters for smart grid legislation, including businesses, consumer groups, technology experts, environmental groups, and others. Educate legislators and the public on the economic benefits of a modernized electric grid, and support legislative efforts to pass smart grid policies.
Who has already done it? The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois
Encourage state legislators to enact tax credits for businesses that adopt clean energy projects. Emphasize energy savings and improved bottom lines for businesses in your region, as well as a spark for clean energy technology and service providers that would come with increased demand. Visit the U.S. Department of Energy for a comprehensive overview of incentives available in your state.
As part of its 2012 Business Growth Agenda, one local chamber in Massachusetts sponsored legislation to increase the tax credit for energy efficiency from 3 to 5 percent. The chamber worked with member companies and legislators to address the cost concerns associated with this legislation, and revised it to place a cap on the amount a business could claim (i.e., $5,000 per year for upgrades or 20% of the project’s cost). The chamber also helped to further define the size of businesses that would be eligible to receive the credit. Ultimately, it was determined that the credit should be available for small-to-mid-size companies with 50 or fewer employees.
Clean Energy Transit Policies
Utilize chamber networks, economic growth studies, and business voices in advocating for policies that would expand existing clean energy transit projects in your region, or bring about the development of new projects. These might include electrically-powered light rail, high-speed rail, alternative-fuel public bus lines, and others. Such projects can usher in construction, maintenance, and operations jobs, and further your region’s reputation for clean energy leadership.
Who has already done it? The Minneapolis Regional Chamber, the TwinWest Chamber, and the Saint Paul Area Chamber
State Policies to Encourage Clean Energy Investment
Bring forward business voices and economic arguments in favor of large-scale state legislation that provides investors with the certainty they need to back new and growing clean energy businesses in your state.
Who has already done it? The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, California