When it comes to energy efficiency, there is an imperative to think small—small business, that is. Why? Because, taken together, small businesses in Minnesota have an oversized impact on energy use, simply because there are so many of them.
According to the United States Small Business Administration, “Small businesses totaled 478,949 in Minnesota in 2009 [the most recent year for which data are available]. They represent 97.9 percent of all employers and employ 49.9 percent of the private-sector workforce.”
Wow. Being such a large part of the state’s economy, participation in energy efficiency by these businesses becomes critical to any comprehensive plan to reduce Minnesota’s energy consumption. We will need small business involvement in order to meet the state’s goals under the 2007 Next Generation Energy Act, our state’s bipartisan initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase our use of renewable energy sources.
Why aren’t more small businesses acting to reduce energy consumption? Actually, many are (read success stories here), and Energy Smart eagerly invites all Minnesota businesses to take the first steps toward energy efficiency. Those who have worked with Energy Smart have reported:
• Reduced energy costs; savings they’ll see every year going forward
• Increased comfort
• Positive employee feedback and motivation to do more
• Competitive advantage with environmentally-conscious customers
• Stronger local economies when businesses cooperate on energy efficiency
When there are delays by small businesses in proceeding with energy upgrades, they most often result from concern about financing energy improvements up front, before the savings begin paying back the investment.
Good financing options and generous utility rebates are available in many communities, and Energy Smart can guide your business through evaluating energy upgrade opportunities so you may choose those that make the most sense for your circumstances.
Even without upgrading fixtures or equipment, small businesses can put low-cost/no-cost measures in place to reduce energy costs immediately.
For more information on energy use assessments and money-saving efficiency upgrades for your small business, contact Energy Smart today. Together we can make big changes at small businesses for the good of all Minnesotans.