Many businesses today are benefiting from going green - saving money and impressing consumers by demonstrating a commitment to the world around them. Franchises are no different. In fact, choosing a "green" franchise opportunity or transforming current business practices to be more environmentally friendly can help unit owners increase business and increase their chances for success.

Consumers are increasingly showing a preference for green products and services, as well as businesses that invest in energy-saving devices, FranchiseDirect writes. While many unit owners can buy such technologies for an existing franchise by budgeting well or making use of a range of government tax incentives, many franchises are now aimed at directly aiding the environment.

Potential franchisees now have the option of investing in green franchises, and like their traditional counterparts, these franchises still require research on the part of the investor - albeit of a different sort. Franchisees will need to determine whether a company that installs solar panels, for example, really puts its money where its mouth is.

According to the Web site, franchisees should look for the Green America Seal of Approval. The seal is awarded by nonprofit organization Green America, which helps consumers, potential business owners and other businesses recognize a legitimately green business or product through its certification process. Before earning the seal, all businesses go through an extensive screening process.

If a franchise has not applied for certification, investors should investigate possible practices of "green washing" - when businesses try to profit from consumer preference for environmentally friendly products without actually doing the work. Rather than installing energy efficient appliances or production methods, a company will sometimes spend all of its "green budget" on marketing themselves as a green company. Also, if a franchise has received green awards, potential franchisees should do a little background work and make sure they are legitimate.

Additionally, if green practices will be new to a franchisee, he or she should to check to see if a franchisor offers sufficient training opportunities that will cover the basics of implementing and using green practices and technologies, the Web site advises.

Businesses that go green are likely to see profits increase in the future as the government ups its commitment to improving environmental responsibility. In 2009, the federal government passed an $819 million economic stimulus package which contained nearly $10 billion to support clean energy projects.

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