Human economic activity has contributed massively to the emission of Greenhouse gases (GHG) since the industrial revolution. Commercial businesses, no matter any size, shape or form cannot function without the use of energy, especially without electricity and heating. Within Maine, the vast majority of GHG emission is from transportation. However, electric power, commercial and
industrial sectors, which links to the process of operating businesses, account for 27 percent (Maine DEP, 2021). This project works to provide resources to improve efficiency in energy use to help lower the contribution of Maine’s businesses to that 27 percent slice. The main goal is to reduce GHG emissions by businesses in the Lewiston Auburn area by providing solutions to make changes to increase energy efficiency and reduce fossil fuel combustion. Though it may seem easy to tell businesses to reduce their emissions through efficiency upgrades, the biggest barrier that needs to be addressed is Maine’s businesses are small with limited financial capabilities as their bottom line is to make revenue for survival. They are limited financially and time-wise to explore different efficiency upgrade options. To address this barrier, our project will help businesses to identify different methods of upgrades while also providing methods of financing by recommending existing federal and state rebate programs.
The aim of this project is to aid the Lewiston Auburn Chamber of Commerce, project’s community partner, in providing information and education to local businesses with the goal of increasing energy efficiency for the purpose of lowering business operating costs and reducing GHG emissions. To achieve this aim we would provide attractive and easily digestible fact sheet as deliverables and tackle the following objectives: Identify where businesses use energy and categorize consumption, recommend actions for businesses to improve energy efficiency in areas of high consumption supported by Federal and or State Efficiency Programs, and show businesses how they can potentially save money with energy efficiency programs and reducing energy consumption. Our project seeks to help business owners who have very limited time and resources to research energy upgrades to look at the deliverables and gain all the necessary information from one location.
Commercial sectors in Maine, especially in Lewiston and in Auburn, restaurant, office, manufacturing, institution, food sales (convenience stores), and retail were selected, and business profiles, sectors separated by size, were created to understand individual’s divers of energy use. Calculations of monthly energy consumption were done to identify its biggest drivers and understand where to focus its efficiency upgrades to make the most effective and biggest effects to GHG emissions. Within the six sectors, HVAC system and appliance upgrades were identified to be the most commonly effective upgrade options. Federal and state rebate programs to finance these upgrades were identified. These suggestions were compiled into the deliverables, fact sheets for each business profile, for business owners to look at their identifiable business profile fact sheet and easily attain information for future changes.
Aoki, Koharu; Hanus, Matt; and Stark, Henry, "Quantifying Greenhouse Gas and Financial Impacts of Energy Use in L/A Area Businesses" (2021). Community Engaged Research Reports. 77.