Guest Blog post by Lois Smith, Marketing & Outreach Manager, Community Energy Services Corporation
Every business wants to keep costs down and provide excellent customer service. Energy efficiency is a good way to pay less on energy bills while keeping high-quality lighting and refrigeration. However, many businesses lack the resources to invest in energy-efficient measures that will help them save money in the long-run. Small businesses in the City of Richmond just found a solution to that problem, thanks to Energize Richmond.
A joint effort of MCE, PG&E, the City of Richmond, and East Bay Energy Watch, Energize Richmond helps small businesses reduce their energy usage through LED lighting retrofits, energy-saving refrigeration measures, water-saving nozzles, and HVAC measures.
MCE and PG&E both provide rebates to cover the cost of these energy efficiency improvements. Sometimes, these rebates only cover a partial cost of the needed improvement, leaving the business owner with some out-of-pocket costs. In order to incentivize these businesses to move forward with the improvements, the City of Richmond recently approved additional money to cover the full cost of installing energy efficient upgrades!
Over the last few weeks, East Bay Energy Watch’s (EBEW) Business Development Managers and MCE’s Community Power Organizer have been walking door-to-door in Richmond, raising awareness about these new funds, offering free energy assessments, creating customized energy saving reports, and encouraging small businesses to take advantage of the funds while they are still available.
MCE’s bilingual Community Power Organizer, Alexandra McGee, summarized the success of the campaign:
“So far, we’ve reached 85 small businesses. 64 percent of them immediately chose to have a free assessment and energy audit on the spot, and 58 percent spoke non-English languages with our staff.”
Together, and in multiple languages, MCE and EBEW explained the parameters of the program, from beauty salons to auto repair shops; from grocery and liquor stores to restaurants. We even spoke to an auto repair shop that had such bad electrical work and so few windows that workers relied on flashlights to look under the hood of a car – clearly a business in need of better lighting!
We’re excited to work with local Richmond businesses through Energize Richmond and look forward to helping the small business community save money, save energy, and lower their carbon footprint.