Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Wolf Administration Awards Funding to Cut Costs and Energy Consumption for Small Businesses; Two in Schuylkill County

On Wednesday, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell announced the approval of nearly $1 million in new funding to help reduce costs, energy consumption, and waste for 201 small businesses statewide.

Two of those businesses were from Schuylkill County:
  • KB&B Enterprises (for HVAC) -Grant Amount:  $7,000, Private Investment:  $16,240
  • Twin Valley Farms Exchange, Hegins (for Auxilary Power Unit) - Grant Amount:  $3,875, Private Investment:  $6,325 
“This funding helps small businesses cut their expenses, assist in reducing or eliminating their environmental impact, and allow them to be more competitive in local, regional, and international markets,” McDonnell said. “In addition, many of these projects have short payback periods for the small business owners, making the financial decision quite simple to move forward with them.”

This fiscal year DEP approved nearly $1 million in grants through the department’s Small Business Advantage Grant program for 201 projects statewide, leveraging nearly $3.4 million in matching private investment from the recipients to complete their projects. The range of savings per business was between $522 to more than $66,000 per year, with the average annual savings per business being $4,906. Combined, these small businesses will realize net savings of approximately $941,000 annually.

Projects included installing energy saving LED lighting, switching from traditional chemical-based X-ray equipment to waste-free digital equipment, replacing inefficient heating systems with high efficiency boilers and HVAC solutions, installing equipment to eliminate idling for long distance trucks, and replacing dry-cleaning machinery which generates hazardous waste with equipment using more environmentally friendly processes and materials. New this year was the opportunity for the farming community to take advantage of the program to implement agricultural best practice projects to eliminate or reduce sediment and nutrients entering our waterways.

One of the awardees, a grain producer in Bradford County, used the grant to purchase a grain dryer that will reduce his use of propane by an estimated 3,400 gallons and 1,152 gallons of diesel, saving him over $8,000 per year in fuel costs. The $5,590 grant was matched with a private investment of over $46,000 by the business owner.

A mid-size fabricating company located in Venango County matched the $2,500 grant with $2,500 of private investment to buy new, energy efficient lighting to lower their electricity consumption by nearly 80 percent. They estimate annual cost savings of $6,565, a reduction of 51,000 kWh of electricity, and improved lighting conditions on the production floor. The estimated payback time for the project will be less than six months.

“Success stories such as these demonstrate the value of partnering with the small business community to invest in energy efficient and waste prevention technology. This program is a win-win for small businesses and for Pennsylvania’s environment,” McDonnell said.

Eligible small businesses had fewer than 100 employees and were required to reduce their energy consumption or waste by 25 percent or more. The grant was available to Pennsylvania-based small businesses to install equipment which significantly lowered their energy use or decreased the amount of pollution or waste generated by their operations. Future grant availability will be announced at a later date.

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