Small businesses in Pittsburgh have a new option when it comes to financing energy efficiency upgrades. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) Board of Directors voted to expand its pilot Business Energy Savings Program citywide.
The program begins with a dollar for dollar matching grant of about $400 for an energy audit. URA special projects manager Paul Svoboda says the goal is to make sure there is enough savings to be had before moving forward with the low interest loan of up to $50,000 to institute any upgrades.
The program is administered by the Pittsburgh Business Growth Fund. Svboda says the pilot program included six businesses including an insurance company, a call center, a laundromat and a barbershop.
“So this is a broad cross-section of small businesses,” said Svoboda. “We wanted to get a sense of does this program as we designed work across the board or does it work better for some than for others.”
Svoboda said the program started to return results quickly that showed an average of 15 percent in energy savings. That translated into about $18,000 in annual savings for each business.
“When your talking about investments that could be as little as $5,000 to 10,000 in energy efficiency, with a return like that, clearly we had a picture moving forward that this was going to be successful and that business owners should be made aware of this and should receive the support right away.”