CROSSVILLE, Tenn., Jun 22, 2011 -- Little things can make a big difference in a business' bottom line. At the Eco Travel Plaza on Genesis Road it is as easy as changing the light bulbs.
The fuel station and travel center was recently awarded a grant of $8,057 through USDA's Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) to help offset the cost of making the transition to a more energy-efficient business. According to company officials, the funding covered about 25 percent of the cost of the improvements.
"Helping local companies take advantage of money-saving energy-efficient systems helps them stay in business," said RD Area Director Jerry Jolley. "Even better, the increased demand for these products lowers the cost for other companies. Best of all, this kind of small investment helps create good jobs in the renewable energy sector and promotes the development and use of renewable, American-made energy alternatives."
Eco Travel Plaza is owned by Demko Investment Group. Company President Don Demko said the project will retrofit all of the interior and exterior light bulbs and fixtures. The new electronic control system monitors available natural light and automatically adjusts the system as conditions change during the course of the day.
By switching to the energy-efficient system, Demko says that, based on results at other similar businesses, he expects the changeover to reduce energy consumption by as much as $30,000 a year. "More than half those savings will come just from changing to more energy efficient light bulbs."
REAP loan guarantees and grants can be used for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, feasibility studies and energy audits. Grants and low interest energy loans are available to most farms and rural businesses. More information on the REAP program is at www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Business.html.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, businesses, community infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year Rural Development assisted more than 1.5 million rural Tennessee families and businesses with more than $1.06 billion in financial assistance through affordable loans, loan-guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Cumberland County contact the Rural Development Area Office in Cookeville at 931-528-6539 ext. 2, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 extension 1493, or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795 -3272 TDD (615) 783-1397.