PEA recognizes the importance of Philadelphia’s neighborhood businesses as critical community infrastructure, and focuses on small service based businesses. Energy is a key driver of neighborhood resources and opportunity, and by focusing on neighborhoods first, we can identify cost-effective, market driven models that create jobs and stabilize businesses exactly where they’re needed most. It is critically important to reach these businesses that exist in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia, in particular in our poorest communities. These business owners are often de facto excluded from existing programs due to credit limitations, language barriers and lack of technical assistance.
Small businesses expressed interest
Energy audits conducted
The PEA Small Business Program helps businesses save money on their utilities, replace equipment, and make their businesses more attractive to customers. The program is currently closed to new applicants while it is being redesigned.
Pilot 1: Penn State/PEA Small Business Pilot
In the Phase 1 pilot, PEA partnered with Penn State at the Navy Yard to assist with the launch of a program to provide energy efficient upgrades for food retail and restaurants. Business owners were provided a free energy assessment and grant and financing opportunities to upgrade to more energy efficient lighting, cooking equipment, HVAC, and envelope. According to a Penn State/Food Trust study, these businesses often pay more in utilities than they do in rent in Philadelphia. They have high energy bills due mostly to commercial refrigeration, leaky building envelopes, inefficient HVAC and long operating hours.
Phase 1 began in July 2016 and concluded April 2017. To recruit small businesses for this program, PEA established partnerships with over 30 community organizations. We were able to provide free energy assessments for 55 businesses. 10% of these businesses moved forward and received retrofits.
Pilot 2: Lime Energy/PEA Small Business Pilot
PEA partnered with Lime Energy and the West Philadelphia Financial Services Institution to conduct a pilot to promote comprehensive energy retrofits for small businesses. Lime Energy provided free property energy assessments and delivered free energy reports to participating businesses. This pilot was focused on food businesses in neighborhood commercial corridors and the energy assessments included opportunities for savings in HVAC, refrigeration, and cooking equipment, along with lighting.