Richmond businesses are encouraged to go green

The city of Richmond is pushing for small businesses to participate in an energy efficiency program that could save them 20 percent on utility bills.

Richmond’s city staff and the nonprofit Community Energy Services Corporation have partnered to help all small to medium sized businesses in Richmond save energy.

The Community Energy Services Corporation initiated its Smart Light Program in Richmond in 2010, to provide free lighting and refrigeration assessments and discounted upgrades to small business. However, until recently, few have participated. The corporation has been trying to change that with the new outreach program initiated in August. Staff members from the city’s Environmental and Health Initiatives and Community Energy Services Corporation drop by Richmond businesses on Mondays and Tuesdays to inform them of the program and how to enroll.

“This campaign has both simplified the enrollment process and informed new businesses about the opportunities available,” said Joanna Perez-Green, marketing manager for Community Energy Services Corporation. “It’s a win win for everyone.”

Businesses can get a free energy-efficiency audit, estimates of project cost, contractors, and rebates that cover up to 90 percent of costs. Inspectors check lighting, refrigeration, climate control systems and air filters to assess the energy efficiency of each business. They also offer small energy-conserving devices like plug load sensors and automatic refrigerator closers.

The program has now preformed over 50 audits in the Richmond community.

“I had not heard of this before they came knocking at the door and I’ve been here for three years,” said Mieasha Harris, executive director of Girls, Inc. West Contra Costa County, a community based nonprofit located on Broadway that received its audit on Monday. “But I am happy they are offering to help in this way.”

The program is funded by a portion of state taxes paid by California residents utility bills.

For more information on program enrollment call 510-981-7750 or visit ebenergy.org.

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