Hawaii Energy awards over $3 million to local nonprofits and small businesses
Utilities and their energy efficiency program implementers continually look for creative ways to gain participation from hard-to-reach markets and capture untapped energy savings. Among the customer segments that are often cited as hard to reach are small businesses. Although energy use can account for nearly 20% of small business expenditures, many business owners do not have the expertise themselves or within their staff to consider energy-saving opportunities. In addition, financial burdens push investing in energy upgrades to the bottom of their priority lists.
On top of typical energy management challenges, the pandemic-related impacts compounded financial difficulty and uncertainty for small businesses that underscored their need for assistance. Hawaii Energy, the state’s energy efficiency program administered by Leidos, recognized the hardships within its communities and was inspired to creatively reach Hawaii’s hardest-hit businesses. Hawaii Energy launched the Energy Relief Grant program to help fund energy efficiency improvements through additional cash incentives for local nonprofits and small businesses. In addition to moving energy-saving projects forward, the grant initiative also considers the following goals:
- Leveraging energy efficiency program funding
- Focusing on customers that could benefit most from immediate energy savings
- Generating work for contractors/vendors
- Getting funding out quickly
- Making it easy and worthwhile to participate
- Capturing energy savings for participants which would aid in economic recovery
- Motivating community partners to invest in energy efficiency
The grant covered up to 100% of total project costs, which makes energy efficiency upgrades feasible for the grant recipients. In addition to reduced upfront project costs, these small businesses are saving on their monthly energy bills, allowing them to keep their businesses operating and continue their missions.
Customer success stories
EDWARD ENTERPRISES, INC.
From its participation in the Forest Stewardship Council to its energy efficiency efforts, Hawaii’s largest locally owned commercial printing company shows that preserving the planet can lead to prosperity. Through the Energy Relief Grant, it was able to upgrade over 200 light fixtures and replace more than 600 fluorescent light bulbs with LED lighting — saving over $6,800 in annual energy costs.
MILILANI PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Mililani Presbyterian Church strives to be a resource to its community and make a positive difference in people’s lives. By working with Hawaii Energy through the Energy Relief Grant, it was able to retrofit its indoor and outdoor lighting, upgrade its refrigerators and add more split A/C units. These upgrades have cut its energy costs by more than 50% — savings that have allowed it to provide scholarships for families to attend its preschool.
HAWAII CHINESE SOCIETY OF HONOLULU
United Chinese Society of Hawaii is a nonprofit that seeks to further friendly relations among Chinese societies in Hawaii. With the Energy Relief Grant opportunity, it was able to connect with Trade Allies to navigate program requirements and reduce the cost of converting its 40-year-old equipment to new, compact, and energy-efficient A/C units. With the upgrades, it is enjoying lower energy bills and greater comfort.
With the funds provided by Hawaii Energy through the Energy Relief Grant (an average of $8,000 per project), business owners and nonprofits have secured the resources to reduce energy costs and increase profitability. To date, Hawaii Energy has awarded over $3 million in Energy Relief Grant funding to 285 nonprofits and small businesses across Hawaii. Altogether, these customers are saving over 2,900 MWh — equivalent to more than $800,000 in energy cost savings.
The Energy Relief Grant initiative demonstrates Leidos’ commitment to developing unique solutions that address utility customer needs as market conditions change. Find out more about Leidos’ program solutions that can deliver significant energy savings to utility customers via adaptive energy efficiency portfolios.