The US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has awarded a funding agreement to Lime Energy to support small business energy efficiency in low-income communities in Atlanta, Orlando, and Houston.

As part of this collaboration, the DOE will invest $1.35m to help Lime Energy engage 10,000 small businesses and complete 2,500 small business efficiency retrofit projects in low-income areas in Atlanta, Orlando, and Houston.

Lime Energy president and CEO Adam Procell said: “Lime Energy has been a leader in delivering clean energy solutions to small businesses across America, and we are excited to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy on this initiative.

“We believe that our unique approach and our innovative metering technology will help drive all the benefits of energy efficiency deeper and more cost-effectively into the heart of the communities that need it the most.”

Lime Energy will partner with the Institute for Market Transformation, a leading national building energy performance policy and outreach organization based in Washington DC.

Lime Energy will also partner with the Houston Advanced Research Center in Texas, and with a wide variety of regional and local energy alliances, business associations, and grassroots community organizations to launch an intensive outreach program to penetrate these low-income areas.

This project team will also engage local governments to coordinate efforts on the ground. These partnerships will result in a scalable, community based strategy that will serve groups of buildings and consumers infrequently reached in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Participating small businesses will receive Lime Energy’s proven turn-key energy efficiency services including a full energy assessment, presentation of an immediate on-site proposal, and the installation of new energy efficiency equipment.

In addition to this baseline service, the DOE grant will allow Lime Energy to offer a performance-based contract that minimizes risk for small businesses by measuring and verifying their energy savings using advanced metering technology and a user friendly mobile app.

U.S. Department of Energy Commercial Buildings Integration program manager Dr. Jason Hartke said: “Buildings in low-income communities face multiple technical and financial challenges to deploying energy efficiency solutions.

“We are pleased to support Lime Energy in its efforts to address these barriers, particularly those obstacles faced by small businesses, through the development and implementation of scalable energy efficiency options in communities that can benefit greatly from these energy saving measures.”

With these investments from Lime Energy and the DOE, dozens of local jobs will be directly created in Florida, Georgia, and Texas. In addition to these direct jobs, the estimated $30m in energy savings realized by the targeted small businesses will function as reinvestment in these communities, resulting in numerous indirect jobs and economic activity.

In addition to the economic impact, these projects are expected to eliminate approximately 17,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases over a three-year period, creating a cleaner and safer environment for local residents.

This revolutionary project will bring innumerable benefits to these low income communities, making them more efficient, more prosperous, and better places to live and work.

Lime Energy’s Green Communities vice president and lead developer of the project Lloyd Kass said: “Lime Energy and our partners truly appreciate the opportunity to pursue this collaborative initiative with DOE.

“We look forward to learning a great deal during the project, about improving approaches to small business energy efficiency, and to being able to share these lessons with the industry as a whole – in order to more deeply penetrate small commercial facilities across the country with energy efficiency solutions.”