Millions of dollars in energy-efficiency grants and low-interest loans are available for businesses in the Wisconsin cities of Madison, Milwaukee and Racine, reports the Wisconsin State Journal. Unused money at the end of the $20 million program — it expires in seven months — will be returned to the federal government.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funded the grant program, called Wisconsin Energy Efficiency, or WE2, collectively and Green Madison, Milwaukee Energy Efficiency (ME2) and Racine Energy Efficiency (RE2) at the local levels.
Racine received $700,000 of the $20 million total grant from the US Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Program; Milwaukee received $12.1 million and Madison got $7.2 million, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Some 100 businesses and 500 homeowners have implemented energy upgrades under the program, the newspaper reports, and only about $3.16 million in grants have been awarded, along with about $1 million in low-interest loans for residential projects.
Wisconsin Energy Conservation Corp., a nonprofit, administers the cities’ programs.
The first step in accessing federal dollars involved an energy audit, according to the newspaper, which identifies inefficiencies in ventilation and mechanical systems, building tightness and insulation levels.
After the audit, businesses can review recommended improvements and choose fro a list of contractors to do the work. Program officials award grants and loans at this point.
Once the work is finished, the energy consultant who performed the original audit returns to verify the work.
Business in Milwaukee can get started on energy-efficiency upgrades by submitting ME2’s commercial interest form; interested Madison companies can complete Green Madison’s form and in Racine businesses can contact RE2 for more information.
In late September, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) launched its Buy Green, Save Green Rebates for New York State Local Governments program, which makes $1.1 million available to encourage small municipal governments to replace inefficient appliances and equipment with energy-efficient models.
Photo Credit: Focus on Energy