Regional ‘Main Street’ program lowers businesses’ utility bills |

Regional ‘Main Street’ program lowers businesses’ utility bills

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – A three-county program to spur economic development through energy efficiency and clean energy in small businesses has proven successful, program backers say, saving businesses in Garfield, Eagle, and Pitkin Counties $240,000 in energy costs annually and leveraging investments of $1.1 million in energy-saving projects.

In 2011, the Governor’s Energy Office launched the “Main Street Efficiency Initiative” – a regional program implemented by Clean Energy Economy for the Region, the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, and the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability. During the past year, the local organizations worked with 96 businesses to save energy through upgrades and retrofits in their buildings. Sixty-four of those buildings have completed the energy-saving upgrades, and many additional projects are in the works. More than 30 contractors from the building and energy efficiency industries were involved in the projects.

“We are grateful for these local programs and the services they provide us and our customers,” said Ryan Grobler of FridgeTek, a manufacturer and distributor of refrigeration energy-saving devices. “The programs have helped us bring our energy-saving refrigeration products to local businesses, helping our customers become more profitable while generating more work for us.”

The local and regional groups focused on helping businesses in their respective counties. The Main Street Grant, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – the 2009 federal “stimulus” bill – put $250,000 to work to help small businesses save on energy costs through energy audits, providing rebates and technical assistance, and training. The groups partnered in applying for the grant, and then collaborated through the year to maximize efforts in each county, including hosting trainings and sharing strategy ideas and marketing efforts.

The services offered by the three groups included energy coaching and advising (in which businesses are provided technical assistance and guided through energy audits and upgrades, and how to apply for rebates), case study development, the promotion of participating businesses in local media, and helping businesses secure utility rebates and rebates provided through the grant.

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“The Main Street program helped and encouraged small businesses across the region to invest $1.1 million in energy efficiency upgrades, which will bring these same businesses $240,000 in annual energy savings,” said Erica Sparhawk, program manager with Clean Energy Economy for the Region and for the overall program. “This is a real boost to our regional economy. We couldn’t have achieved this level of energy savings and economic benefits without our utility partners, which included Holy Cross Energy, City of Aspen Electric Utility, Glenwood Springs Electric Utility, Xcel Energy, and SourceGas. We’d also like to thank the Governor’s Energy Office for their vision in supporting this project.”

For more information, call John-Ryan Lockman of the Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainability, 970-827-9999.

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