Energy audit funds available to business

Local chambers of commerce hope to help about 30 Grand Valley businesses receive energy audits of their buildings for free.

The chambers of Grand Junction, Fruita and Palisade held a news conference Tuesday to announce the Greenback$ program, which will use federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant money to pay for the audits and a website. Businesses that wish to participate in the program can complete up to three checklists of energy-saving actions on the website, GreenbacksProject.com, and those businesses will be recognized for their achievements at chamber events.

Businesses that complete at least 80 percent of the first checklist will be eligible for energy audit funding, according to Lynne Sorlye, a Greenback$ Committee member and general manager of the Clarion Inn. Xcel Energy already pays a majority of the $1,500 to $5,000 cost of an audit, which examines how energy efficient a building is and how it can improve. The federal grant money will take care of the rest of the cost, Sorlye said.

“Some of the checklist items are things that are little or no cost, like tucking in insulation,” she said.

The program is designed to show small-business owners ways to save money and energy without breaking the bank. John Hildebrand, owner of Autopaychecks Inc., made several changes to the building when he moved his business into 441 Colorado Ave. The aging structure now has a solar-energy system and lighting rigged for each individual work space.

“The choices we made as we reconstructed are saving us money every day,” he said Tuesday.

Another goal of the program is to help businesses save time while searching for ways to save energy, according to Diane Schwenke, president and chief executive officer of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. The website offers checklists and a forum for business owners to discuss how they have saved money with energy-efficient projects, plus calculators that estimate how much money a person can save by making energy-efficient changes. There’s no cost to sign up, but users must register with the site.


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