So your morning coffee is ethically sourced. You have rocked thrift shop fashions for years – long before Macklemore made it cool – and you bike to the grocery store every weekend. Like most people from our generation, you try to spend your money in ways that are beneficial and support positive causes.

Fortunately, you can continue this strategy with your investments too. Look no further than green muni bonds. These green bonds are munis that fund environmental initiatives. This may sound improbable at first but green bonds are big business. According to a January 2015 article in Forbes, the popularity of these bonds accounts for over $52 billion in outstanding funds. Talk about serious green!

Thanks to green muni bonds and the growing trend of impact investing, funding causes that you care about is easier than ever. You can support the farmer’s market and the financial market at the same time. Read on to learn about nine general types of green bonds.

Clean Energy

Clean energy is broadly defined as a type of energy that is created from renewable resources and does not harm the environment. Water, wind, and solar power are reliable sources of clean energy, as well as clean coal, which mitigates the effects of greenhouse gases from coal production. Oil and traditional coal are not considered clean energy.

Muni Bond Example

In the muni bond world, the Missouri Electric Utility Commission Clean Coal Power Plant has bonds for sale. The investors will be paid with the revenue from the sale of this clean coal. So the power plant, investors, and clean coal consumers alike all benefit from this deal.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is the process of providing the same level of service while using less energy. For example, LED lights provide the same level of illumination as incandescent bulbs, but LEDs use 75% less energy.

Muni Bond Example

Muni bonds are available to help retrofit streetlights with LED lights in Massachusetts. These LEDs have the greater energy efficiency, as well as about 25% cost savings.


Bioenergy refers to the use of biological materials for biofuels, bioproducts, and biopower. Feeding your car vegetable oil instead of gas is an example of biofuel usage. Driving a car that smells like French Fries is just an added bonus.

Muni Bond Example

In New York state, muni bonds were recently issued to fund a biomass-to-energy project. Biomass refers to the burning of organic matter for fuel. Just imagine the veggie oil car on a much larger scale.

Sustainable BuildingAbout

Green building, also known as sustainable building, refers to the process of constructing buildings in a way that makes an efficient use of resources, maintenance, and even demolition.

Muni Bond Example

In December 2014, Indiana University announced plans to raise $66 million from muni bonds for the construction of green classroom buildings. Well done, Hoosiers!

Green Transportation

Green transportation can refer to anything from bicycles to public transportation. The Bus Rapid Transit, a high-capacity bus system, is an example of green transportation.

Muni Bond Example

New York City has plans to use green bonds for clean transportation initiatives, such as retrofitting vehicles and supporting HOV lanes.

Water Treatments

Water treatments are an important way to get clean drinking water to communities. Municipal bonds and water treatments have a long history, so it is no surprise that muni bonds continue to support the leaner, greener version of water treatment facilities.

Muni Bond Example

In late 2014, Florida, Connecticut, and Washington used green muni bonds to gain funds for the repair and pollution control of water facilities.

Agriculture and Forestry

Agriculture and forestry may sound inherently green, but reducing agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions are a major concern. Furthermore, protecting forestry and sustainable land use are key interests of environmental groups.

Muni Bond Example

Martha’s Vineyard recently issued green muni bonds to help fund the preservation of agricultural and woodland properties in the area.


Biodiversity conservation refers to the protection of all landscapes with their varieties of flora and fauna. The biodiversity movement posits that all animals are important – not just the cute ones – and conserving these habitats is a worthwhile cause.

Muni Bond Example

In July 2014, DC Water issued $350 million green muni bonds that helped “improve quality of life through promotion of biodiversity and waterfront restoration.” Fun fact: these bonds have a 100-year final maturity date, and were the first muni century bonds to be issued by a water facility in the United States. DC Water is investing in green for the long haul.


Recycling initiatives have gained a lot of traction in the past few years, and most Millennials have an aversion to litterbug behaviors. We all know the mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (and now Repurpose). Sustainable waste management is another avenue of these recycling initiatives.

Muni Bond Example

In late 2014, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems issued green bonds to recycle waste heat from gas pipeline compressors. This heat is then utilized as a source of power for its utility partners. (Raise your hand if you just learned that heat is recyclable).

This recent explosion of green muni bond issues has caught the attention of many savvy investors. You can now essentially earn income and help improve the world at the same time. Muni bonds look good in green.

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