Friday, July 1, 2011

North Carolina Green Business Fund Awards $3.7 Million in Grants

Grants to 17 New and Emerging Businesses Help Energy Efficiency and Job Growth
Jul 1, 2011

Secretary Keith Crisco today announced that 17 new and emerging small businesses in North Carolina will share $3.7 million in grants from the Green Business Fund to help them use energy and resources more efficiently and cut utility costs so dollars can be focused on growing the businesses to create and retain jobs. All together, these 17 projects will create or retain 108 jobs and result in energy savings of more than 46.1 billion BTUs.

“As part of our statewide job creation strategy, we must continue to invest in North Carolina’s growing green economy,” said Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco. “These fast growing industries hold vast potential for the future and resources like the Green Business Fund are critical to keep our momentum strong.”

These 17 grants were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment act via the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program (SEP). Grants were awarded after a competitive review process, including qualification under federal Department of Energy funding criteria.

The Fund, created by Gov. Perdue in 2007, is administered by the North Carolina Board of Science and Technology. This is the fifth round of grants awarded by the Green Business Fund, which has distributed about $12 million since the first grants were awarded in 2008.

Below is a brief project-by-project description for each award.


108 South Main Street, Warrenton, Warren County – The project demonstrates how the energy-efficient renovation of a historic downtown Warrenton structure can contribute to economic revitalization and job creation in a low-income rural community. The project will create seven new jobs and contribute to downtown redevelopment and revitalization in Warren County (a Tier One county) while demonstrating an energy savings of 70 MBTU/year. Total grant: $134,200.

Builders and Manufacturers Group, Lenoir, Caldwell County – Retrofit their facility by replacing existing T-12 fluorescent lighting fixtures throughout the facility with more energy efficient and longer life T-8 high bay fluorescent fixtures. This project will save 8,588 MBTU/year and create or keep 24 jobs. Total grant: $175,000.

Central Park, Star, Montgomery County – Implement energy efficiency lighting retrofits to its STARworks Center for Creative Enterprise. Educate small businesses about energy efficiency and savings measures. This project will save 2,283 MBTUs (65% savings) annually and create or retain 2-3 jobs. Total grant: $202,625.

Charlotte East LLC, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County – Improve energy efficiency, reduce consumption, and promote energy conservation education through retrofitting the interior and exterior lighting for five of eight office buildings and parking lighting for the Charlotte East Office Community, the largest office complex in east Charlotte. This project is expected to create or retain 1 job and save 1,319 MBTU a year. Total grant $162,652.

Clearsense Properties, Durham, Durham County – Implement energy efficiency and renewable energy measures on an existing building in downtown Durham. Building energy use will be cut in half by utilizing high-performance lighting and mechanical systems, high-performance glass with shading devices, passive heating and cooling features, natural day-lighting, and a super-insulated thermal envelope. About 37% of the remaining power needs will be met through a combination of solar photovoltaic and wind turbine systems. This project will create 4.2 jobs and save 10.233 MBTU annually. Total grant: $480,205.

First Flight Venture Center, Durham, Durham County – First Flight Venture Center, a technology incubator for innovative life science and information technology companies. The project will improve energy efficiency of the existing facility at 2 Davis Drive in the Research Triangle Park. The proposed energy improvements are projected to save 1,100 MBTUs annually and cut overall energy costs. This savings will be redirected to provide more programs and amenities to First Flight Ventures Center tenants and create new jobs through these start-up companies. Over the last two decades, First Flight Venture Center has graduated over 217 companies with an overall economic impact of $800 million. Total grant: $130,770.

Foothills Wineworx, Glen Alpine, Burke County – This project includes installing solar thermal and 27 kW solar photovoltaic systems along with energy efficiency measures to expand production, create usable space for meetings and events, reduce energy consumption and replace the remaining energy use with renewable, sustainable solar energy. As a result facility and business operation is expected to become the epicenter of sustainable, “Green” business in Western North Carolina and a flagship for others in the state’s wine industry. This project will create or retain 3 jobs and generate over 170 MBTUs in energy savings. Total grant: $239,560.

Highland Craftsmen, Spruce Pine, Mitchell County – Install a total of 22 kW of solar photovoltaic panels at two locations: An 11 kW solar generating system will be installed on the roof at the company headquarters, and a second 11 kW solar generating system will be installed on the roofs of lumber drying kilns. This installation, part of the company’s larger green effort, will retain 2 FTE jobs and save 103.3 MBTUS annually. Total grant: $154,800.

Home Performance, Inc., Moncure, Chatham County – Conduct energy audits on 50 small businesses in Chatham and Lee counties and help make retrofits to increase energy efficiency in at least 25 of these small businesses. Grant funds will be used to offset a portion of the retrofit costs. This project is expected to create or retain 5 jobs and save 639 MBTUs a year. Total grant: $118,365.

Inviro Design and Consulting, Asheville, Buncombe County and Morganton, Burke County – Reduce the energy use of several buildings occupied by small businesses throughout Morganton. Provides the framework for a broad-based deployment of highly reflective, field applied roof coatings on the rooftops of commercial buildings occupied by small businesses across the state. This project will create or retain 4 jobs and save 1,660 MBTUs a year. Total grant: $436,940.

Lawrence Lumber Company, Maiden, Catawba County – Update the Lawrence Lumber Company lumber concentration yard with a more efficient cross flow predrying system. By constructing the new cross flow predryer in place of the existing down draft predryer, the sustainable funds saved will be immediately invested in several planned phases of company growth. This project is projected to create or retain 50 jobs and save 2,308 MBTUs a year. Total grant: $230,000.

Mountain Heritage Expo Center, Burnsville, Yancey County – Implement energy-efficient retrofits and upgrades to an existing center for small businesses. Measures implemented will include: improved insulation, daylighting, solar thermal hot water system, and a photovoltaic system to offset energy use. This project will create or retain 2-4 jobs and save 2,905 MBTUs annually. Total grant: $378,020.

Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development, Marshall, Madison County – Assist with the installation of four Skystream wind turbines at middle and high schools in western North Carolina. Integrate alternative energy systems technology into existing workforce development programs at the schools by educating high school students and training post-secondary students in wind turbine installation. This project is based in Madison County but will also benefit Alleghany, Avery, Wilkes, and McDowell Counties. The project will train at least 20 students in wind turbine installation, and is expected to save 2,561 MBTUs annually through generation of wind power. Total grant: $101,135.

North Carolina Propane Gas Association, Raleigh, Wake County -- Reduce the N.C. Propane Gas Association Training Center’s net energy use by improving roofing insulation and membrane cover, upgrading the outdated lighting system, sealing and insulating the building’ envelope, upgrading the existing heating and air conditioning system with energy efficient technology, updating window efficiency, and implementing photovoltaic and solar thermal energy systems to offset some of the facility's electrical and thermal energy load. These measures are expected to save 3,959 MBTU over the life of the project. Total grant: $200,000.

Signature Place, Greensboro, Guilford County – Implement energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in an existing office complex housing 15 businesses. Measures include energy efficient parking garage lighting retrofit and solar installation project. This project will create 2.5 jobs and save 3,271 MBTUs a year. Total grant: 143,000.

Sports Palace Ventures, LLC, Apex, Wake County -- Implement energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in an existing sports facility. Improvements include lighting retrofits, heating and air conditioning system upgrades and a solar thermal hot water system. Also, there will be energy efficiency training for employees and energy efficiency awareness programs for sports participants and families. This project will create 1 job and save 1,592 MBTUs of energy. Total grant: $146,297.

The Blue Ridge Sustainability Institute, Asheville, Buncombe County – Install energy efficient and renewable energy measures in 17 independently owned Asheville restaurants. The measures include: solar hot water installations, lighting retrofits, and HVAC and refrigeration improvements. Create a restaurant staff energy efficiency training program to further improve business sustainability. This project is expected to create or retain 2 jobs and save 3,363 MBTU of energy. Total grant: $258,140.

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