Frisco teams with state on sustainability incentives |

Frisco teams with state on sustainability incentives

With a grant from the Governor’s Energy Office and additional funds from Frisco, local businesses could soon get a leg up in modifying their energy consumption.

It’s the first time the two-year-old Frisco Clean Tracks program is looking to implement its voluntary sustainability action items for small businesses, Frisco’s interim community development director Jocelyn Mills said. The grant fits well with taking the step forward in the Clean Tracks action plan, which promotes energy savings and waste reduction opportunities in the community, in turn helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Part of the action plan is to … promote energy efficiency, savings and environmental stewardship to businesses in our community,” Mills said. It’s a voluntary effort with financial incentives to get the ball rolling.

For businesses that apply by March 1, up to $2,000 could be available to them for lighting improvements, returning or recommissioning heating, ventilation, air conditioning systems and programmable thermostats. Another pool of money from the Town of Frisco could go toward waste improvements and suggested energy improvements that are suggested but not covered by the Governor’s Energy Office pool. The money is provided in a matching system – 50 percent of the improvements are paid from the grant pool, and business owners would put up the remainder of the cost.

And before all that, to determine what’s needed, participating businesses get a free energy assessment, a $200 value. That is, unless no improvements are made, in which case the business has to reimburse that cost.

Lynne Westerfield, who’s promoting and overseeing the technical aspects of the project on behalf of High Country Conservation Center, said there’s more: Businesses get free advertising and recognition through a relatively hefty promotional budget. Businesses also get the coaching of experts at the High Country Conservation Center on how to monitor energy use and savings, find contractors and conduct improvements. Plus, there’s a party at the end of the year, she said.

The funds aren’t endless, so about 20 businesses will be selected for assessments from the applying pool, Westerfield said. The Governor’s Energy Office will prioritize whether a business should receive a waste assessment or an energy assessment – or both – based on the applications. Westerfield said she’s seen quite a bit of interest already.

“It’s probably a good bet we’ll run out of money,” she said. The grant is about $12,500, and, on average, basic energy-saving measures run about $1,000 or $1,500 – half of which is paid by the business.

“Lighting usually has the quickest pay back,” in two to three years, Westerfield said.

She added that Xcel Energy has a rebate system that further pats small businesses on the back for doing their part. On average, it’s about 35 percent of the cost of the upgrade.

“Add Xcel’s onto ours and it ends up being a fair bit,” she said.

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