Green Business Network Logo

San Diego
Green Business

Green Business Network LogoSan Diego
Green Business Network

5 Steps to Being a Green Business

Wondering how to increase the sustainability of your business, but not sure where to start? Here are the 5 steps to take towards making your business environment-friendly.

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Jump to - Step 1: Evaluate | Step 2: Identify | Step 3: Apply & Save | Step 4: Implement | Step 5: Monitor & Maximize | Repeat


Step 1: Evaluate

Step 1 - Evaluate

Get a free energy or water efficiency assessment. There's no catch! We’ll connect you with free, professional assessments to help you start saving energy, water, and money for your business. You'll have the information you need to move forward with making upgrades when you're ready, but there's no requirement to do so. The Green Business Network does not provide contractor referrals.

Available programs:

Energy Reduction


Water Reduction

Available programs Assessment provider Current waiting period
Commercial Landscape Survey
Water-Wise Business Survey
City of San Diego Public Utilities Department 2-3 weeks while consultants perform a billing history review and data collection pertaining to your business
Guaranteed Water Program City of San Diego Economic Development Department No waiting period

Zero Waste

Area of concern Information provider Available programs
Waste reduction and recycling City of San Diego Environmental Services Department Business Recycling information
Commercial food waste recycling San Diego Environmental Services – Miramar Greenery Commercial Food Waste Recycling

Step 2:Identify

Step 2 - Identify

Through the energy, water or waste assessment process, you will learn where improvements can be made. These improvements may include:

  • Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), insulation, lighting and window and door upgrades
  • Upgrading to more energy-efficient appliances
  • Installing drought-tolerant landscaping and upgrading and irrigation systems
  • Installing renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal)
  • Implementing a green-waste disposal system

After the initial evaluation, you’ll receive:

  • A prioritized list of recommendations
  • Estimated costs and timeframes for implementing the recommendations
  • A list of resources to help fund or cover the full cost of the upgrades and initiatives
  • A list of contractors who are licensed to perform the work
  • Follow-up to capture your unique story to share on our social media channels

Step 3:Apply & Save

Step 3 - Apply & Save

After the initial evaluation, you’ll receive a list of resources to help fund or cover the full cost of the upgrades and initiatives. Funding comes in all shapes and sizes, from loans and on-bill financing options to rebates and incentives.

Some incentive programs and rebates are time or resource limited, so applying for these incentives early is important. Plus, the sooner you make energy-efficiency upgrades, the sooner you can start reaping the savings!

Some examples include:

Funding resources Type
PACE financing Loans for water and energy efficiency projects that are paid back through your City property tax bill
SDG&E on-bill financing Zero percent financing that allows you to pay for your energy upgrade costs through your electricity bill by using your energy savings
SDG&E rebates & incentives Utility rebates and incentives for energy efficiency projects
Small business SDG&E On-Bill and Off-Bill Equipment Lease and On-Bill Repayment Loan financing options for energy efficiency initiatives

Step 4:Implement

Step 4 - Implement

After the initial evaluation, you’ll have access to a list of contractors who are licensed to perform the upgrade work.


Some examples include:

Contractor Expertise
SDG&E vetted contractors Energy-efficiency contractors, electricians, manufacturers, and equipment dealers who have met SDG&E’s eligibility criteria and are familiar with SDG&E’s rebate and incentive programs

Step 5:Monitor & Maximize

Step 5 - Monitor & Maximize

To get the most out of your upgrades, use a management tool to monitor, control and optimize your energy and water use and waste generation. Compare your savings to the baseline that was determined during the initial evaluation and tout your success to your customers!

Energy management tool examples:

Tool Uses
SDG&E recommended energy tools Energy use monitoring and analytics


When you've got your energy and water use and waste generation down as low as you can go, you’re ready to REPEAT, this time with the mission to get to Zero Waste. Start with a new assessment of where you are and look at renewable energy, water capture, and zero waste initiatives to take you to the next level.

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