By Ken Riehl, CEO of the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce
Published in the Manchester Cricket on October 26, 2018
For many of Cape Ann’s small businesses, October is a season of opportunity. Over the course of the month, thousands of travelers and arts patrons visit our region for colorful fall vistas and events, including Cape Ann Plein Air and Artisan Studio Tours. Meanwhile, our shops, accommodations, restaurants and supporting businesses share New England’s $3 to $5 billion dollars in fall tourism revenue.
October is also National Energy Awareness Month and invites small businesses to consider another way to improve their bottom lines: by reducing costs through energy efficiency.
Energy is one of small businesses’ top expenses, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses. But many experts have found that by making efficiency upgrades, such as switching out incandescent lighting for LEDs or insulating ducts in a heating and cooling system, small businesses can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year.
That’s why the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce is working with National Grid and other local businesses and municipal partners to spread the word about The Cape Ann Saves Energy (CASE) program. CASE is designed to help busy small business owners reap the benefits of energy efficiency programs made possible through the larger statewide Mass Save® initiative.
The Cape Ann program offers free energy assessments to help owners choose the energy-saving solutions that best meet their needs. If they decide to continue with the program, they can access National Grid’s generous incentives and financing to cover up to 70 percent of the upgrade costs. Most projects pay for themselves within a year.
Energy efficiency upgrades also deliver more than financial benefits. Retailers like Mark Adrian Shoes, an iconic Cape Ann family business and Chamber member, say that the switch to all LED lighting has not only saved them money, it has made their stores brighter and more appealing to employees and customers alike. And as national trends suggest, customers prefer businesses that use natural resources responsibly.
Ultimately, the CASE program is about supporting the economic vitality of the region by empowering small businesses. Not only do small businesses employ well over half of Cape Ann residents, they also make it a magical place that visitors want to return to year after year. Energy efficiency enables these businesses to achieve more with less, so that they can grow and give back to the community.
For more information about the CASE program, contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org