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City helps near east side businesses go green, save big

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 19, 2014) — Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard planned to celebrate Wednesday the end of a program that has helped dozens of near east side businesses and nonprofits save thousands of dollars on their energy bills.

The Better Buildings Near Eastside Neighborhood Commercial Sweeps Program, which is ending after two years, has helped retrofit 43 businesses with energy efficient light fixtures and bulbs, according to Office of Sustainability Public Information Officer Scott Manning.

“We’re really excited about the impact on those businesses and what we’ve been able to do for the environmental health and economic prosperity on the near east side,” Manning said.

The retrofits have led to a combined savings of $72,000, he said.  Better Buildings used a small portion of a $10 million U.S. Department of Energy grant won by the City of Indianapolis in 2010, Manning said.

Each business hoping to participate needed to undergo an energy assessment that proved the retrofits would provide at least 15 percent savings on its monthly energy bills.

Daystar Child Care in Englewood Christian Church is one of the nonprofits that took part in the program, yielding a savings between $3,000 and $4,000 a year.

“We try to keep our rates for our daycare very affordable,” said co-director Laura Dyke.  “Any way that we can save money throughout the year is one step closer to keeping our rates affordable for the parents.”

Additionally, Englewood Christian Church said it was able to reinvest some of that savings and purchase solar panels that provide about 15-20 percent of its energy needs.

Manning said other businesses also used the money to reinvest in themselves and provide a boost to the local economy.

Mayor Ballard will be joined by leaders of the Indy Office of Sustainability and Indy East Asset Development at Teachers Treasures, a program participant on East 10th Street, for an announcement at 11:30 a.m.

While the commercial side of Better Buildings is ending, the residential program is ongoing.  For more information on how to apply for the energy-efficiency retrofit program, visit these websites:

EcoHouse

Better Buildings Neighborhood Program