State and Local Climate and Energy Program
Tri-County Small Business Efficiency Program
Lewis and Clark County, Montana
Federal Funding: $305,000
Project Timeline: February 2011 – February 2013
Implementation of the Tri-County Small Business Efficiency Program is well underway. The County continues to work with small businesses and non-profits in the tri-county area to expand awareness and participation in the program. Between July and September 2012, 45 businesses conducted water and energy efficiency audits, and several installed water heater traps, pipe insulation, and faucet aerators to reduce water use. The County also awarded grant funds to six businesses that made qualifying energy retrofits to their facilities. In addition, the County continues to increase outreach efforts by following up with businesses that completed an audit but had not yet performed an energy upgrade, holding face-to-face meetings with local businesses, compiling lists of key target business organizations, and conducting a media campaign.
Helping Small Business Owners Reduce Energy and Water Use
The Tri-County Small Business Efficiency Program is educating small business owners in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, and Broadwater counties about strategies to reduce their energy and water use, and is helping small business owners make energy and water efficiency improvements. To implement the program, Lewis and Clark County is partnering with NorthWestern Energy to build on the utility's existing E+ Energy Appraisal for Business program. The County is also partnering with the Montana Business Assistance Connection to market the program to small businesses. Jefferson County, Broadwater County, and the City of Helena also support the project. The program provides:
- free audits of electricity, natural gas, and water use for small businesses, and
- financial assistance to implement the audit's energy- and water-efficiency recommendations.
During the electricity, natural gas, and water use audit, simple energy- and water-saving measures are implemented, such as the installation of compact fluorescent light bulbs, faucet aerators, programmable thermostats, and water heater wraps. Participating small businesses receive audit reports recommending additional measures to save them money while reducing their energy and water use. The audit report quantifies the expected energy, water, and cost savings associated with both the implemented and the suggested measures.
Lewis and Clark County also provides financial assistance to small businesses to implement the energy- and water-efficiency recommendations resulting from the energy audit. This assistance reduces upfront costs and removes the biggest barrier to implementing efficiency measures. The program also informs participating small businesses about NorthWestern Energy rebates available to offset the cost of improvements. In addition, the program reimburses each small business up to 85 percent of the remaining cost of their efficiency upgrades, to a maximum of $2,000 per business.
The program will have multiple benefits, including: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption, and water use among small businesses; saving money for small business owners; and educating small business owners about the benefits of energy and water efficiency.
|Area||3,461 square miles|
|Median Household Income||$50,245|
|Reported Results (as of September 2012)||Projected Cumulative Results|
|Annual GHG Reductions||180 mt CO2e||800 mt CO2e|
|Annual Cost Savings||$21,526||$655,531|
|Commercial Audits Completed||98||180|