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State program pushes energy efficiency for companies

But some reps say challenge is getting through bureaucratic maze.

WILKES-BARRE – A company representative already had attended a similar seminar in Harrisburg near its headquarters, but Dwight Leib and Clayton Rhinehart of Classic Drycleaners & Laundromat were sent northeast on Wednesday anyway.

The seminar on state grant and loan programs for energy efficiency, put on by the state Department of Environmental Protection, was “worth going to again,” said Leib. “The big thing is the information about who to contact, where to go and what to do.”

They were hoping to find money for a new boiler at one of their nine facilities to replace an overworked one that’s using too much fuel.

They weren’t the only ones hoping to find a map at the seminar to cut through the bureaucratic tangle that accompanies applications for governmental funding.

“There’s a lot of value in saving $10,000, but sometimes it’s not worth the aggravation because they’ll go through the whole process and they won’t get the grant,” explained Dave Bartlett, whose Forty Fort-based Merittech LLC consults for manufacturers to reduce energy use. “All these government folks, they will help you, but you still have to go navigate the maze.”

The process is involved, he said, including investing time to figure out the system, finding the right contacts, applying for grants, completing the project and then following up to receive refunds or other financial incentives.

Still, he said, “If they’re going to give us money, this is a great way to give us money” because it persuades companies to do work that will save them money throughout their facility’s lifetime.

The state offers money for various programs, from creation of alternative energy to reducing energy use to environmentally friendly renovations.

Beyond the funding, two programs were of particular interest: the Pennsylvania Technology Assistance Program and the Environmental Management Assistance Program.

TO LEARN MORE

For more information on state energy grant programs, go to: www.depweb.state.pa.us/energindependent.

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