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Stimulus to Fund Energy Audits for Massachusetts Companies

The state of Massachusetts has launched a stimulus-funded program to help businesses improve their energy efficiency.

Clean energy company Nexamp will conduct energy audits for companies in north-eastern Massachusetts using $430,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), according to the (North Andover) Eagle-Tribune.

The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce has received another $70,000 in stimulus money to administer and promote the initiative. So far 26 companies have signed up for the program.

Audits will look at sources of energy waste, from inefficient light bulbs to outdated heating and air conditioning systems.

The grant will cover the audits and ongoing energy-use monitoring. Individual companies will have to pay for their own retrofits.

But Alex Sherman of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources said companies can apply for a number of state and federal incentives to help fund retrofits.

Sherman said the initiative will harness important data on energy efficiency, which can be used to encourage more companies to take part.

“Energy efficiency is a good idea,” Sherman said. “But an idea is a hard sell when it’s just an idea.”

North Andover, Mass., business Ozzy Properties has already used Nexamp’s services and found it could cut its energy bill in half, company manager Ellen Keller said. The firm made the savings with more energy efficient boilers and a solar array.

Last year the state awarded Nexamp and Florence Electric a $20 million joint contract to install solar energy systems at 12 public wastewater treatment plants, in a stimulus-funded deal touted as the state’s largest solar power contract.

In August the Department of Energy’s inspector general found that only 8.4 percent of the $3.2 billion in ARRA money awarded to states and cities for energy and conservation had been spent.

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