U.S. Representative Judy Biggert today joined several energy experts to inform local business leaders about a variety of resources available to help small businesses dramatically reduce energy costs. At a special energy savings forum hosted by the Tinley Park, Orland Park, and Homer Glen Chambers of Commerce, Biggert spoke along with officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Commonwealth Edison, and Nicor Gas about services and financing options they offer to help businesses upgrade equipment and adopt green technologies.
"Small businesses drive our economy," said Biggert, a former small business owner. "But they can be particularly hard-hit by escalating energy costs. We want to give them every tool we can to help them improve efficiency and cut expenses."
During the forum, Chamber members heard about how to qualify for and take advantage of local, state and federal grants, loans, tax credits and other private financing options designed make equipment and building upgrades more affordable. One highlight was Commonwealth Edison's presentation on its Smart Ideas' incentive program, which allows businesses to receive payments to partially offset costs associated with installing energy-saving technologies. Among the devices that can be installed under the program are high-performance light bulbs, LED exit signs, and even high-efficiency ice makers.
"With energy prices so high, the long-term savings associated with installing high-efficiency equipment can be enormous," said Biggert. "But the up-front costs are often too great for smaller businesses. These tax incentives and rebate programs put green technologies within reach of even modestly-sized operations."
Also discussed were on-site consultation services available to help small businesses revaluate their energy consumption and create a plan to become more efficient. In addition, forum participants were given an overview of the federal ENERGY STAR for Small Business Program which offers free, unbiased information and technical support to help small businesses achieve energy savings.
"These programs can make going green a far less daunting task," said Biggert. "Whether you're talking about protecting the environment or creating jobs, everyone wins when business and industry save money through energy conservation."