|Mar 28, 2012 --
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USDA Officials Visit Freeborn Lumber Company in Albert Lea to Highlight Rural Energy for America Program
ALBERT LEA, Minn., March 20 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited Freeborn Lumber Company in Albert Lea today to highlight how the USDA’s energy programs help rural businesses save money and become more energy efficient.
After a fire destroyed Freeborn Lumber in September of 2007, the 66-year-old family-owned company rebuilt in Albert Lea in 2008. Using a $41,000 grant through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), Freeborn Lumber installed a geothermal heating system for its 3,000 square-foot showroom. The geothermal system increases the new facility’s energy efficiency and reduces Freeborn Lumber’s monthly energy costs.
“I’m proud that USDA played a small role in helping Freeborn Lumber rebuild and become more energy efficient,” said Colleen Landkamer, USDA Rural Development State Director. “The REAP program has helped many rural business in Minnesota like Freeborn Lumber reduce energy costs and increase their bottom line. It’s a great program for businesses looking to become more energy efficient and spend less on energy.”
The REAP program helps farmers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and meet the nation’s critical energy needs. Eligible projects include geothermal systems, wind turbines, refrigeration, solar, insulation, siding, lighting, grain dryers, corn burners, irrigation systems and flexible fuel pumps. REAP grants can pay for up to 25 percent of a project’s total costs. Loan guarantees are also available and may be used in conjunction with grants.
Since 2009, the REAP program has helped about 136 businesses and 530 Minnesota farmers save energy and improve their bottom line by installing renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The energy saved as a result of REAP investments could power 10,000 Minnesota homes for one year.
“The program was a good fit for us and our system has been running great,” said John Miller, president of Freeborn Lumber Company since 1986. “If you’re a small business looking to become more energy efficient, you should definitely look into using the REAP program.”
To learn more about the REAP program, visit Rural Development’s energy website. You can also call the local Rural Development office in Austin at (507) 437-8247.
Freeborn Lumber Company offers a variety of services, include product sales, custom home design, fireplace installation and flooring. To learn more, visit Freeborn Lumber Company’s website, or visit their showroom at 971 Plaza St. West in Albert Lea.