Small businesses benefit from energy efficiency grants from the state

Dozens of small businesses throughout Pennsylvania have been given the cash to fund energy efficient upgrades to their businesses in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded $418,049 in grants to 56 small businesses through its Small Business Advantage Grant program.

"Since 2004, this program has generated more than $26 million in private-sector investment in small business," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said in a press release. "All Pennsylvanians enjoy the benefits of the return on this investment through making small businesses more energy-efficient and more competitive."

The Small Business Advantage Grant is funded through the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act which directly affected the budget of the DEP.  Under the provisions of the program, the DEP offers to provide 50 percent matching reimbursement grants of up to $9,500 in energy efficient renovations to any property.

Over the past eight years, the DEP has helped 1,642 different small business owners statewide. To qualify as a small business under the program, a company has to employ less than 100 people.

With the government allotting $1 million to the program for the fiscal year, the DEP will announce a second round of grants in the coming weeks, according to the press release.

For business owners who are looking to make improvements to their properties in an attempt to increase their environmental friendliness, an energy audit will highlight where their business is wasting most and suggest what improvements will save them in the long run.