There are over 25 million small enterprises that form the backbone of our national economy. They are critical to the health of local economies, generating well over half of net new private-sector jobs, according to the US Small Business Administration. Many are home-based firms with few employees, but many also occupy commercial retail space. The small business sector uses over 30% of all commercial space, more than 20 billion square feet of buildings to be heated, cooled, and lit up.
But of these millions of small commercial utility customers, only a small fraction participates in energy efficiency programs due to persistent barriers such as costs, lack of awareness or information, and time. Imagine that you’re running your own independent restaurant. Maybe you’re interested in installing energy-efficient lighting. But to do so, you need to find time in your schedule, capital to invest, and education on the best lighting solutions for your business—so the lighting project may not become a top priority or happen at all.
ACEEE research reports on exemplary programs, high program participation, and next generation programs, among others, have documented successful small business energy efficiency approaches, but how can these be expanded and replicated to serve more small business customers? More important, what are the new and emerging technologies, program designs, and marketing strategies to expand existing small business energy efficiency programs and create new ones? We aim to find out.
Are you a small business energy efficiency program manager with successes or a pilot project to share? A program implementation contractor disrupting the market or inventing a new category? Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to add your story to ACEEE’s new research on small business programs. We are looking for energy-efficient technologies, program designs, marketing strategies, and performance data on small business energy efficiency programs.