Finding green inspiration coast to coast 
The year 2009 is barely started and we’re seeing green everywhere! We give a hearty Green Thumbs Up to the following initiatives for promoting green business.

The California Association of Realtors has launched “ At home with green,” a new Web site dedicated to informing homeowners, real estate agents and the public about how to make their homes green.

(Photo by John Hall Associates)

About a year ago, the association created a Green Task Force to lead the organization in becoming greener and educating its members and the public about green real estate. The result is a pretty nifty Web site of resources and information.

And, in case you’re wondering why green is a real estate issue, the association says: “Did you know that in the United States, homes are responsible for 21 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions? That fact, plus rising energy costs and a decision by California’s Public Utilities Commission mandating that new housing developments are zero net energy by 2020, has caused consumers, homebuilders, homeowners, property managers, Realtors, local governments, schools and others to focus on the energy-efficiency of homes and buildings. That’s why real estate is a green issue.”

Go, California!
Proof is out this week that green efforts have a powerful economic impact. Research group Next 10 has published the 2009 California Green Innovation Index, revealing the economic shot in the arm green initiatives can give a state’s economy. A couple key findings include the fact green jobs have grown 10 times faster than total job growth since 2005 and green tech venture capital investments almost doubled in the span of a year, reaching a high of $3.3 billion last year (57 percent of the national total).

“As the country moves quickly to put an economic stimulus package in place, California’s experience with energy efficiency and clean technology is instructive,” said F. Noel Perry, venture capitalist and founder of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Next 10, in a news release announcing the findings. “If California had not moved as forcefully to decrease energy consumption over the last three decades, we would be in a much more precarious economic position right now. Imagine where the country could be if it were as efficient as California.”

Read the full report online.

Win your own green space
And, finally, a Green Thumbs Up to Green Spaces, a resource for green businesses in New York. The organization is sponsoring a competition for green startups in New York. The first-place winner gets $8,000 in investment capital, one rent-free year at a Green Spaces office valued at $6,000, and a package of marketing, legal and financial services valued at $11,000.

“Our mission is to make sure New York’s pool of promising new green businesses has a real shot at changing the marketplace for the good of the environment,” said Green Spaces CEO and founder Jennie Nevin.

Click here for full details on the competition.

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