August 17, 2010 |

URA approves program to promote energy efficiency

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has approved a pilot program to promote energy efficient improvements in small businesses in the City of Pittsburgh.

The pilot program will offer reduced rate energy audits, which will generate reports providing recommendations for energy efficient improvements, along with projected costs and savings. Businesses that make the recommended improvements will be eligible for a low interest loan of up to $50,000 through the URA's Pittsburgh Business Growth Fund. Initially, the pilot program will target existing URA loan portfolio small business clients.

Loans can be used for qualifying energy efficient improvements, including insulation, air and duct sealing, efficient heating and cooling, lighting, refrigeration, water heating equipment, and efficient windows and doors.

"Energy efficient improvements can save business owners significant amounts of money on utilities and improve their bottom line right away," said Matt Smuts, URA sustainability coordinator. "Many of these improvements have very short payback periods and just make good business sense."

The pilot program will produce a series of case studies that describe participation, and completed improvements. If successful, the program may then be open to a wider customer base. A Request for Proposals (RFP) will be issued within the next few weeks for consultants to provide the URA with energy auditing services, not to exceed $7,500. It will be available online at www.ura.org at that time.

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