Energy Audits for Rural Small Businesses

Revised June 10, 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) offers Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants to rural small businesses. USDA chose the University of Central Florida’s FSEC to provide a limited number of subsidized building energy audits to small businesses in rural Florida communities who are eligible for the grants and loans. Audit candidates must also meet FSEC criteria, which will be determined by a phone interview.

Photo of small town businesses on a "main street."
A limited number of subsidized building energy audits will be available to small businesses in rural Florida communities. Photo: ThinkStock.com

What is a building energy audit? An energy audit is an assessment of the energy use and energy saving opportunities in a building. The business or building owners play a role in the audit by providing utility bills and getting quotes for the improvements to facilitate cost-benefit calculations. The audit report provides recommendations and calculations that help applicants complete the technical sections of the Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loan & Grant applications.

Action Item: To be considered for a subsidized energy audit of the building(s) housing your small business in a rural Florida community, please send an email to:

To:  Janet McIlvaine, janet@fsec.ucf.edu

Subject line:  REAP energy audits, <insert your business name> (for example: REAP energy audits, Pat’s Poodle Palace)

Include ALL of the following information:

  • Business name
  • Address of the building(s) to be audited (must be in Florida*)
  • General nature of the business (retail clothing, health care, pet groomer, restaurant, retail pharmacy, etc.)
  • Your name, title, and phone number
  • If other than you, person we should follow up with including title and phone number

The subsidized energy audits FSEC is offering are limited to buildings. Manufacturing processes and some agriculture processes are outside our scope of expertise. FSEC cannot conduct energy audits for all eligible businesses; however, we will accommodate as many as we can within our budget, resources, and expertise. Our website offers free access to guidance and research on energy efficiency and building science for commercial and institutional buildings.

*If you are not in Florida, contact the USDA State Energy Coordinator or a USDA Area Office for guidance. Links are provided below.

USDA Rural Business Eligibility maps and address look-up tool:
http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov/eligibility/welcomeAction.do?pageAction=rbs

USDA Resources for the Rural Energy for America Program’s Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants

The following information and links are provided to help businesses understand the USDA Rural Energy for America Program’s Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Loans & Grants.

Grant and loan funds may be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems using commercially available technologies, such as:

  • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC)
  • Insulation
  • Lighting
  • Cooling or refrigeration units
  • Doors and windows
  • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment
  • Ventilation fans
  • Irrigation pumps
  • Solar water heating
  • Solar photovoltaics

Grant and loan program overview, application, forms, and other resources: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency

 

Contact a USDA Area Office for guidance on the application process:

Florida Area Offices: http://www.rd.usda.gov/contact-us/state-offices/fl

Other Area Offices, click a state, then look for “View all [state]’s Contacts”: http://www.rd.usda.gov/browse-state

 

USDA has an Energy Coordinator in every state: http://www.rd.usda.gov/files/RBS_StateEnergyCoordinators.pdf

Table of Small Business Size Standards: https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/Size_Standards_Table.pdf

Technical Merit and Scoring criteria: Grant and loan applications are evaluated on technical merit in accordance with criteria explained in the U.S. Federal Register /Vol. 79, No. 248 /Monday, December 29, 2014 /Rules and Regulations in section 4280.116 Determination of technical merit on page 78263. If technical merit is established, applications are further evaluated per section 4280.120 Scoring RES and EEI grant applications on page 78268. Search for the section number in this document: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-29/pdf/FR-2014-12-29.pdf

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