Sonoma County has long been at the front of the pack when it comes to sustainability issues: urban development is kept to urban growth boundaries and encourages infill development, the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program was one of the first property assessed clean energy programs in California, and agricultural lands are protected and encouraged by open space programs. Of course these programs didn't just come to fruition on their own, but are rather part of the environmental ethos that has long pervaded Northern California.
Whether the issues are growth, resource allocation or greenhouse gas emissions, the residents of Sonoma County are willing to engage in productive and vigorous debate about how to act locally while thinking globally.
For local tourism businesses interested in sustainability issues that will help the environment and possibly save money, here are some resources:
- Sonoma County Green Business Program: a partnership of government agencies and utilities that assists, recognizes, and promotes local organizations, focusing on small- to medium-sized consumer-oriented businesses that volunteer to operate in a more environmentally responsible way. To be certified, participants must be in compliance with all environmental regulations and meet program standards for conserving resources, preventing pollution, and minimizing waste.
- Sonoma County Energy Independence Office:
The EIO helps Sonoma County's residential and commercial property owners and tenants save energy and water and install renewable energy sources such as solar panels. Its services include free commercial energy and water audits with energy cost savings reports, technical consultation and advice, rebate and incentive facilitation, assistance finding funds and financing including Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, and Green Business certification. To learn more, please call 707-565-6470 or visit sonomacountyenergy.org.
- Sonoma County Water Agency has programs for businesses looking to save water, from operations to landscaping to collateral for lodging and restaurant businesses.
Kevin Kumataka, Sonoma County Green Business Coordinator. Kevin connects businesses looking to save money and access free and subsidized programs for businesses. He is a one-stop shop for all things sustainable that pertains to business in Sonoma County. He can be reached at (707) 565-6455 [email protected].