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Energy Assessments for Small Business

Small Business - Restaurant and Convenience Store Integrated Energy Assessment and Retrofit Pilot

Through US Department of Energy's State Energy Program (SEP), DEP's Office of Pollution Prevention and Energy Assistance has provided financial assistance to The Pennsylvania State University's Consortium for Building Energy Innovation to support a partnership to conduct energy assessments, train assessors, implement energy retrofits, create a long-term business plan for the Energy Outreach and Assessment Center (EAOC) and evaluate the model for replication state and nationwide. These assessments are specifically focused on small corner stores and restaurants.

Pennsylvania's 2015 Climate Change Action Plan Update identifies the buildings sector as responsible for approximately 70% of all electricity consumption and nearly half of all U.S. CO2 emissions. Small corner stores and restaurants, in addition to being small community businesses, are the most energy-intensive type of commercial building (3 to 5 times higher than office buildings). The EAOC will bring building energy assessments and energy retrofits to those corner stores and restaurants. Convenience stores and restaurants are often critical to neighborhood stability and many are a key resource in low-income communities.

In the first year, the project trained entry-level workers in building energy assessments and strengthened a partnership to overcome the barriers for these entities. Partners provided initial contact and marketing, hired and mentored part-time assessors and proposal writers, provided additional technical assistance in proposal development, guided entities to bridge funding or funding assistance and identified possible energy retrofit contractors. Partners have included Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA), Penn State, Private Energy Partners, the Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Electrical Contractors (NECA) and Reinvestment Fund, which administers the Sustainable Energy Fund and the Foundation for Renewable Energy and the Environment, which administers PennSEF. Participant businesses will be encouraged to apply to the DEP's Small Business Advantage Grant Program for these retrofit projects.

First year results include:

  • 54 energy assessments completed of food sales and service businesses
  • 1 energy retrofits completed of food sales and service businesses
  • 28 students trained
  • 19 students employed as part-time assessors with the project's partners
  • Creation of a framework from marketing to implementation of energy projects
  • Creation of a tool for assessments to ensure thorough and uniform data collection
  • A projected annual energy savings ~32,559 kWh per store per year (averaging ~$2759 per store).

The focus of FY 17-18 is demonstration of scale-up in Philadelphia, with greater pace and volume of assessments, actionable proposals and retrofits completed with an emphasis on program alignment with the Philadelphia Energy Authority's 10-year Energy Campaign, and PECO and PGW energy efficiency initiatives. EOAC will use this year in Philadelphia to further refine the model and ensure a successful transition from demonstration to full implementation and a scalable and portable program.

July 2017-June 2018 metrics:

  • 125 energy assessments completed of food sales and service businesses
  • 35 energy retrofits completed of food sales and service businesses
  • 24 students trained – average of 12 students per cohort; 2 cohorts total
  • 80 - 120 hours of classroom and hands-on instruction total; 40-60 hours per cohort

The impact that 35 retrofits will have on an annual basis is estimated to be:

  • 9,280 MMBtu saved
  • 387 tons of CO2 saved