SBA Awards Energy-Efficiency Counseling Grants

The Small Business Administration has awarded four small business development Ccnters grants totaling $500,000 to fund projects offering energy assistance to small firms.

The programs proposed by the grant winners would provide education, training and energy audits, along with assistance on how small firms can best purchase and install efficient building fixtures and equipment.

The grant recipients are centers at the Research Foundation of the State University of New York in Albany, University of Nevada in Reno, University of Nebraska in Omaha and at Boise State University in Idaho.

The New York State SBDC and its partner organizations plan to provide energy audits for small businesses with substantial energy consumption. The Idaho SBDC, which has used student teams and interns to help small businesses, intends to use this student model to develop and implement an energy audit program. It also has established relationships with utility companies and economic development professionals to deliver energy efficiency training for small firms.

In Nevada, the center plans to build on its experience and involvement with the U.S. Department of Energy's Rebuild America building energy efficiency retrofit program, the Nevada State Office of Energy, the major Nevada Electric Utilities, the U.S. EPA and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection to provide energy audits and help small businesses evaluate and implement energy efficiency measures. It also will offer education about renewable energy generation, constructing high performance green buildings and developing and commercializing clean technology products, goods, services and processes. It plans to help small business concerns improve environmental performance using source reduction approaches like toxic reduction, waste and emissions minimization.

The Nebraska Small Business Development Center will provide energy efficiency screening, help businesses find financing opportunities for improvements and quantify the benefit of energy savings of such projects.

By Sharon McLoone |  December 15, 2008; 3:15 PM ET
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