The Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) is currently taking applications for grants through the IRRRB Business Energy Retrofit (BER) program. (Click on audio mp3 above to hear an interview with Barbara Ackerson of AEOA.)
These grants will cover one third of energy retrofit costs, up to a maximum of $20,000, with the other two thirds coming from utility rebates, owner match, other energy funds or low interest loans. The savings realized from these investments will allow those local business owners to retain existing jobs as well as create new economic opportunities for their business with an improved bottom line. The work provided through local contractors and materials purchased from local suppliers will also retain local jobs as well as create additional new economic opportunities.
The pilot program which began last year in the City of Hibbing has been highly successful and well received.
AEOA will deliver the IRRRB funded BER program for commercial properties by providing a one-stop service to the business owner that results in energy savings, short-term payback and a design that enhances the business and its operations which can then be replicated and expanded. The program is designed to save business owners energy and money by focusing on challenges that businesses face when making energy improvement decisions. These challenges include limited financial resources and time, limited knowledge of energy saving products and lack of access to qualified contractors. Area Chambers of Commerce, DEED, CDBG and Energy Insight will continue to support and invest in this program.
AEOA staff will assist with applications, develop a scope of work, assist with soliciting contractors, conduct final inspections and upon successful inspection pay the contractors.
Eligible applicants include small to mid-sized commercial manufacturers, office buildings, hotels, grocery stores, retail, restaurants, (no government buildings or housing), and non-profit entities. Applicants must be current on utility accounts.
Lighting and fixture upgrades
Building envelope air sealing
Appliances, motors and equipment
Insulation and ventilation
Heating and cooling
Window and door replacement
More information is available from AEOA toll free at 1-800-662-5711.