RUSHFORD, Minn., Jan 15, 2013 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited the Rushford IGA today to highlight how a grant through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helped the local grocery store cut its monthly energy costs and reduce energy consumption.
“Rural businesses play a major role in continuing America down the path of economic recovery,” Landkamer said. “This grant helped Rushford IGA make critical energy efficiency improvements, resulting in a significant reduction in monthly energy costs. Now this local business can dedicate more resources to other essential business operations and job creation.”
Rush Foods, a family-owned grocery retailer with locations in Rushford, Harmony and Preston, used an $8,827 REAP grant to purchase and install doors on its freezers and coolers at its Rushford location. The projected savings to the store are estimated at $330 on its monthly energy bill and reduce energy consumption by about 39,558 Kilowatt hours (kWh) annually.
“The new system has been well received by our customers, they appreciate our investment in energy saving technologies by converting to LED lighting and putting the doors on the open cases,” said Brad Hoiness, operations manager at Rush Foods. “These changes also reduce the load on our compressor system, extending the life of our equipment. The end result is better lighting and more consistent product temperatures which improves the quality of our fresh foods and extends the life of these products in our customer’s refrigerators.”
The REAP program provides financial assistance to rural small businesses and farmers to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems. Examples include installing doors, updating heating and cooling systems, improving lighting, insulation and siding, wind turbines, geothermal systems and solar systems.
Grants may cover up to 25 percent of a project’s costs. Loan guarantees through private lenders are also available. Since 2009, the REAP program has helped over 700 small businesses and farmers in Minnesota install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements. These investments are projected to save about 11,000 kWh per week.
In addition to renewable energy projects, Rural Development has programs that improve rural housing, community facilities, infrastructure, businesses and high-speed Internet. Since 2009, Rural Development has invested over $3.5 billion throughout Minnesota.
To learn more about Rural Development programs, call the office in Faribault at (507) 332-7418, or Austin at (507) 437-8247. You can also visit Rural Development on the web at www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn.