In time for the winter indoor-project season, a new statewide low-interest rate program for businesses making energy-efficient upgrades to their properties has come into effect.
Under the Michigan Saves Business Energy Financing Program
, businesses can obtain 2-5 year loans ranging from $2,000-150,000, at rates starting at 5.9%. The financing is provided through Ervin Leasing for businesses using program-authorized contractors, according to Julie Bennett, executive director of Michigan Saves.
A special incentive in the form of a 3.99% rate and a $2,000 rebate from Michigan Saves is available to food industry companies cutting energy use by 20%. That includes grocers, convenience stores, food wholesalers, and restaurants.
"We're really targeting that industry because they use a lot of energy, but they typically don't have the time and resources to make the improvements," Bennett says.
The incentive program is grant-funded and short-term, so Bennett encourages food industry business owners to apply as soon as possible. The loan program, however, has about $50 million in committed funds and is intended to be perpetual, according to Bennett.
"There's a recycling that happens with this money as loans are paid down, so we're hoping that we'll never have to stop this program. But at this time we can do 1,000 businesses...if we had a rush to the door, we could do 1,000."
Qualifying projects include energy-efficient lighting, heating, and cooling, insulation, refrigeration, and motor, door, or window replacement.
The program is targeting business enrollment, and employment as well. "We're always looking for more contractors to enroll in the program," Bennett adds. "It's a kind of job creation angle - that we're really trying to get contractors enrolled."
Source: Julie Bennett, executive director of Michigan Saves
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar