Grant supports energy project

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Contributing Editor

Seven businesses in downtown Washington stand to benefit from a $71,583.29 grant to help make them more energy efficient.
Such grants pay up to 50 percent of the cost of updating and adding energy-efficient services to existing buildings.
“The grant application was 72 pages,” said Bianca Gentile, grants coordinator for the city.
“The exact amount we requested we were awarded,” she said.
The Inner Banks Artisans’ Center is preparing to begin its energy-savings project.
“It’s going to be changing out lighting. It’s going to be doing some insulation around the doors,” said Bob Henkel, who founded the center, in a brief interview.
The center will replace its existing fluorescent lighting system with a more efficient one, Henkel said.
“It saves about 30 percent on your utility bill, they calculated,” he said.
The businesses will match the state grant dollar for dollar for a project total of $143,076.58. The projects will help provide work for area contractors.
The grant was awarded by the N.C. Energy Office, which is distributing $8.3 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to 43 public and private agencies to make downtown local government and small businesses more energy efficient, promote conservation and use of renewable fuels in industrial buildings and provide for greater energy efficiency in commercial and large nonprofit facilities.
The local businesses that will benefit from the Main Street Energy Fund grant are Moss House Bed and Breakfast, Carolina Wind Yachting Center, Mason &Jones law firm, Edward Jones Investments, Turnage Theater, Inner Banks Artisans’ Center and Century 21-The Realty Group.
The grant is a result of energy audits performed last year at six downtown businesses as a prelude to applying for up to $250,000 in grant funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The six businesses were Inner Banks Artisans’ Center, Ruff Kuttz, Greg Ward Photography, Century 21-The Realty Group, Dr. Mark McCoy (a dentist) and The Lofts condominiums.
“These investments are more than much-needed job creating investments in our communities,” said Gov. Beverly Perdue in a news release. “These projects also will make businesses and government facilities more energy efficient, which holds down costs and helps — particularly during these challenging economic times — control government spending on utilities.”
North Carolina has distributed nearly 90 percent of the federal funds it has been allocated through the State Energy Program and the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant programs. Theses most recent project awards are estimated to inject $16.1 million into the state’s economy through three N.C. Energy Office initiatives:
• $3.9 million through 17 “Main Street” projects that build on the existing Main Street Program coordinated by the Division of Community Assistance in the N.C. Department of Commerce.
• $7.8 million through the 15 “commercial renewables initiatives” to implement energy conservation projects that invest in renewable technology.
• $4.4 million through 11 Energy Efficiency for Commercial, Industrial and NonProfits projects to provide significant energy savings and job creation for contractors working with the businesses to improve building efficiency.
Estimated Projects Costs
• Moss House Bed and Breakfast, $32,353. Replace heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
• Edward Jones Investments, $4,977. Replace lighting system and install insulation.
• Carolina Wind Yachting Center, $41,193.03. Replace heat pumps and improve lighting system.
• Turnage Theater, $29,147. Improve existing lighting system and ventilation system.
• Inner Banks Artisans’ Center, $9,210. Improve lighting system and insulation.
• Mason &Jones, $4,296. Improve lighting system and service HVAC systems.
• Century 21-The Realty Group, $21,900.53. Improve lighting system and insulation.