Here at The Cedars Ranch, being eco-conscious, climate responsible, and respectful and efficient in how we use natural resources is an important part of how we want to do business. To this aim, we have been researching available support out there in terms of grants and incentives for going “green”. Is there financial assistance available to help us develop a renewable energy campus? How about incentives for rainwater harvesting and water conservation? Are there any programs that help protect native Texan species that may be found on our 20 acres of ranch land?
We thought we would share part of what we found with you ...
Renewable Energy – Solar Power
The USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to rural small business owners and agricultural producers to purchase renewable energy systems. If your application is successful, you may receive a grant for up to 25% of the cost of the renewable energy system. In the words of the United States Department of Agriculture: “These efforts help farmers, ranchers and other small business owners save money on their energy bills, reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, support America's clean energy economy, and cut carbon pollution.”In late 2016 we applied for this grant to help cover part of the costs of our solar photovoltaic system we plan to install on our dance hall roof (pictured above). This system will provide clean renewable energy to our whole venue. The REAP grants are highly competitive, and although we fell short of the 25% award, we did receive a partial grant to cover nearly 10% of the cost of our solar power system.
Click on this link for more information about this grant opportunity: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency/tx
Water Conservation – Rainwater Harvesting
With water being such a precious and limited natural resource, especially here in Texas, we plan to maximize our potential for harvesting rainwater. Our reception pavilion will serve as the primary means of rainwater collection, with its unique butterfly roof designed to optimize the capture of rainwater that will be stored on site and filtered into drinking water.While there’s no direct grant available for rainwater harvesting, there are a few incentives put in place by the State of Texas to encourage a greater uptake of water conservation strategies. The State provides a property tax exemption on part or all of the assessed value of property on which water conservation initiatives are made. The State has also made rainwater harvesting equipment and supplies exempt from State sales tax. Click here for more information on both these incentives: http://www.twdb.texas.gov/publications/shells/RainwaterHarvesting.pdf
Native Ecology - Monarch Butterfly Habitat
The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) is working in cooperation with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts throughout Texas to enhance or restore the Monarch butterfly habitat.
We humans rely on pollinators like butterflies for many of the foods we eat. It’s up to all of us to do what we can to protect them. Monarch butterfly populations have experienced a measured decline over the last 20 years, in part due to a reduction in nectar producing plants like Milkweed. Here's some Milkweed on our land ...
The Monarch butterflies need this vegetation to produce energy on their annual, multi-generation migration from Mexico to Canada, and the Texas Hill Country is right along the Monarch butterfly highway! Check out the map below (note The Cedars Ranch is midway between Austin and San Antonio) ...
Under the “Enhancing and Restoring Monarch Butterfly Habitat in Texas” grant program, the TSSWCB provides funding to ranchers, farmers, or private landowners to plant pollinator friendly plant species on their land. We have applied for this grant program and are awaiting feedback. To apply or to find out more information, click here:
For more information you can visit our “Green Resources” webpage. You can also visit our "Green" webpage for more information on what makes us green here at The Cedars Ranch!
Also, if you know of any other sources of funding or incentives that are available, we’d love to hear from you!
Until next week,
Marilyn & Bill.
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