Nationwide, small businesses spend more than $60 billion per year to keep their lights on and the temperature controlled.
Morgantown’s commercial sector has been identified as the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and the largest consumer of energy from fossil fuels, and it is responsible for 40 percent of all emissions from the Morgantown community (See Phase 1 final report). Commercial businesses in the Morgantown area have many opportunities to reduce energy consumption, promote sustainability and save money (See Phase 2 final report).
Homeowners, small businesses, and landlords can install renewable energy systems, including solar, to reduce electricity consumption and save money.
In 2015, the Morgantown Municipal Green Team, Downstream Strategies, Community Power Network (CPN), and Mountainview Solar implemented a Morgantown Solar Cooperative that provided steep discounts for solar photovoltaic systems to city residents. While the Morgantown Solar Cooperative is not accepting new members at this time, there are other opportunities available to Morgantown homeowners, small businesses, and landlords.
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PVWatts is a solar calculator. It estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected solar photovoltaic energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, small building owners, installers, and manufacturers to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential solar installations.
Geostellar is the nation’s largest online solar marketplace. They have patented a program for programmatically placing solar panels on rooftops or tracts of land in a 3D virtual world and simulating production over a typical meteorological year based on shading, slope, and orientation.
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Mountain View Solar was selected by the Morgantown Solar Cooperative through a competitive bidding process. MTVSolar is one of the region’s largest solar installation companies. Its installations run the full spectrum, with residential, commercial, and municipal work forming the majority of their business.
To learn about the possibility of a second Morgantown Solar Cooperative, contact Karan Ireland from Community Power Network at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Energy Assessment Services
Homeowners, small businesses, and landlords can find ways to save money and reduce energy consumption by performing energy assessments.
From 2010 through 2014, the West Virginia University Industrial Assessment Center and Downstream Strategies conducted energy assessments for 250 small businesses across West Virginia. Assessment reports for each business detailed specific recommendations, energy savings estimates, implementation costs, and potential greenhouse gas emission reductions. Nearly 90 of these assessments were conducted within Morgantown. The Morgantown assessments included nearly 140 efficiency improvement recommendations. Many efficiency retrofits were cost-effective, meaning that the potential savings on utility bills would pay for the retrofits in a few years or, in some cases, a matter of months (See Phase 2 final report).
Furthermore, on conducting a number of focused home energy assessments, it was found that similar opportunities for increasing energy efficiency exist across all types of Morgantown homes (See Phase 2 final report).
|Recommendation||Average electricity savings (kWh/yr)||Average electricity cost savings ($/year)||Average retrofit cost ($)||Average payback period (years)|
|Exit sign retrofits||631||34||82||2.5|
Source: Phase 2 final report.
How do I sign up?
Leonardo Technologies, Inc. offers energy assessment services in the Morgantown area on a fee-for-service basis. For more information about having an energy assessment conducted on your home or business, contact Richard Courtney from LTI at email@example.com (304) 290-2107.
Sustainable Small Business Certification
Products and businesses perceived as “sustainable” can benefit from a number of competitive marketing advantages. However, if consumers are not aware of a business’s sustainable practices, they may not seek out their products, even if the product itself IS sustainable. Publicity of a business’s sustainability practices, therefore, is critical to take advantage of the market segment that wishes to send environmental signals through its purchasing decisions. With this in mind, Downstream Strategies and the Morgantown Municipal Green Team are actively researching the potential establishment of a citywide sustainable small business certification program.
What can I do now?
Friends of Deckers Creek is aiding Downstream Strategies’ and the Morgantown Municipal Green Team’s research by establishing the Morgantown Sustainable Business Coalition. The goal of the Coalition is to initiate a discussion with businesses about sustainability and to identify steps that can be taken to achieve an improved level of sustainability. Data collected through this process will inform future steps towards the establishment of a Sustainable Small Business Certification Program.
If you are interested in joining the Sustainable Business Coalition, please contact Holly Purpura at Holly@deckerscreek.org.
There is no cost for participation, and there are numerous incentives for participating businesses.