Berea College Center for Energy (BCE)

Energy Efficiency Audits

Through the Rural Energy for America (REAP) Energy Audit and Renewable Energy Development Assistance Grant, the Berea College Center for Energy offers subsidized energy audits to small business owners in rural Kentucky. For agricultural facility owners (rural or urban) the University of Kentucky provides grant subsidized energy audits. Find out more about agricultural facility energy audits here. Audits done through the Berea College Center for Energy for small businesses can be on-site or virtual and up to 75% of the cost of having an audit is subsidized.

Having an energy audit done is the first step in applying for the REAP Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Grant. This grant provides monetary support for small businesses to complete energy efficiency retrofits to reduce operating and maintenance costs, lower environmental impact and increase cash flow by subsidizing energy efficiency upgrades.

For an on-site audit, our certified energy consultant, Jason Delambre of Midwest Clean Energy Enterprises, LLC, along with trained Berea College interns, will visit the small business and make notes about current energy usage. For a virtual audit, information is submitted by small business owners concerning the size of their facility, the equipment currently in use and how much money is spent on electricity to operate the facility. This data is analyzed and a report is generated that directly addresses the requirements of the REAP Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Grant, thus increasing chances of receiving grant monies.

Electricity price prediction

With predicted increases in costs of electricity in coming years, it is more vital now than ever to consider energy efficiency upgrades and best-practices.

The Berea College Center for Energy conducts subsidized energy audits for rural small businesses in Kentucky. Read about Whitaker’s Food World IGA in Neon-Fleming, Kentucky and their story of having an energy audit done at their facilities.

An on-site energy audit was conducted at the Whitaker’s Food World IGA location in March of 2017, and information for the previous 12 months of electrical use was analyzed. Based on this analysis and information collected from the visit to the store, the Berea Center for Energy Audit Team identified two major sources of electrical use: the refrigerated cold cases and lighting. Replacing these with more energy efficient options would save the store nearly $27,000 annually with a combined payback period of 9 years (see chart). Whitaker IGA used this information to apply to the REAP Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Grant and may also qualify for tax incentives and loans to cover the full Project Cost.

Learn more about the process of conducting an energy audit for small businesses by reading about the REAP Case Study on Whitaker’s Food World IGA in Neon-Fleming, Kentucky.

If you are a customer of Kentucky Utilities (LG&E and KU), Bluegrass Energy, or the Tennessee Valley Authority, you may qualify for additional funding to cover the unsubsidized portion of the REAP energy audit. Please see each service provider’s website for more information (small businesses owners will be responsible for applying for additional funding).

Other financing options are available based on region. MACED, Kentucky Highlands Investment Company, Natural Capital Investment Fund, and Hancock Bank are institutions that may be able to cover the portions of expenses that a grant or loan through USDA REAP does not cover.

You may qualify for a subsidized energy efficiency audit and assistance with your application to the REAP Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Grant if you are a small business owner who:

  • is located in rural Kentucky (rural is defined as an area with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants; click here to find out if your address qualifies);
  • owns the facilities you use for your small business;
  • has information about your monthly electricity costs and use of equipment in your facility;
  • has sufficient revenue to cover the un-subsidized portion of the energy audit (on average, small business owners pay $500-$600 for a small project and $1,200 for a large project out of pocket for an on-site energy audit valued at $2,000 to $5,000);
  • and is interested in applying for the Rural Energy for America (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Grant.

Request Information and Express Interest

Center for Energy Information Request

Fill out this form if you are interested in finding out more about subsidized energy efficiency audits through the Berea College Center for Energy.