Two Minnesota businesses were recognized for their conservation leadership today as they became the first recipients of the Energy Smart Leader Awards for outstanding and quantifiable achievements in energy efficiency and conservation. MGM Liquor Warehouse and GeoTek were recognized today during the Minnesota Chamber event "Business Sustainability: It's Not Perception, It's Profitability."
"Energy Smart’s mission is to partner with businesses to help them save money through energy efficiency,” said Jill Curran, Energy Smart program manager. “We're very pleased to be able to recognize these companies with the Energy Smart Leader Award for their dedication to improving energy efficiency in their operations. More importantly, however, is the ongoing reduction in energy use and the associated cost savings that will continue to benefit these businesses long into the future. That’s the real reward.”
The award for the small business category (10 or fewer employees) was presented to MGM Liquor Warehouse from St. Peter, Minn. The medium-sized business award (between 10 and 50 employees) went to GeoTek, in Stewartville, Minn.
Both of the businesses made huge improvements in energy efficiency. MGM Liquor reduced annual energy use by 44,546 kilowatt hours (kWh), saving them approximately $3,800 on their annual energy costs – an amount sufficient to payback their investment in less than a year.
GeoTek participated in a shared savings program through Alliant Energy, their local utility, which provided them with a 3 percent loan with no up-front capital costs for an energy efficient air compressor. GeoTek’s total estimated savings for all energy efficiency upgrades to-date is approximately 283,000 kWh and $25,000 per year.
The process of improving energy efficiency can seem overwhelming, but thanks to the Energy Smart program, business owners have a partner to aid them in the process and can begin saving right away. Energy Smart connects businesses to energy efficiency programs offered by the state’s energy utilities, and Energy Smart staff provides expertise and advice every step of the way.
The energy upgrade process typically begins with a simple energy audit that gives business owners a general picture of their current energy use and identifies potential areas for improvement. From there, business owners can pursue any number of options to improve their facility’s energy efficiency, from lighting upgrades to replacement of HVAC systems.
“Energy Smart helps put energy efficiency upgrades within reach for Minnesota’s small and mid-sized businesses,” Curran said. “We hope that other businesses will recognize the financial benefits of energy efficiency upgrades and contact us to get started.”