Press and Reports

Green grants help businesses save money

Julie n. Chang | Posted: Tuesday, December 20, 2011 4:44 pm

Two projects awarded grants from the North Carolina Green Business Fund in July are coming to a close as the year ends.

INviro Design and Consulting was awarded a $436,900 grant for projects in downtown Morganton that reduce energy use.

The Cool Roofs Initiative involved more than 37,000 square feet of commercial rooftops, reported INviro. It is projected to save approximately 422,000 kilowatt-hours, which is about $41,000 annually for several small businesses in Morganton.

“This project will enable the city to provide a working example of the economic and ecological benefits of effective, energy-efficient retrofits within a small community,” said Daya Apunte, principal designer of INviro.

Employing local businesses, INviro covered building rooftops with a highly reflective coating. The coating helps reduce the energy required to cool interior spaces as light and heat are reflected away from the rooftops.

INviro also used the grant money to retrofit Body Tech, 214 W. Union St., helping reduce the overall operating costs of the gym.

Retrofits included air leak sealing, HVAC sealing, locally designed and assembled LED lighting and a 15 kW solar photovoltaic system that produces electricity.

Body Tech can monitor energy usage with an on-site system that analyzes data to measure the effectiveness of each element of the project.

Apunte said the video and photography of the project at Body Tech will be used to develop training seminars in western N.C. for commercial contractors, architects, designers and business or building owners.

Body Tech owner Mike Dumaine said he jumped at the chance to modify the building for the cost advantages, but also because of the environmentally friendly changes.

“If we can reduce our energy consumption, we’re not only saving money but we’re also protecting the environment at the same time,” Dumaine said.

Those savings are already benefiting gym members.

Body Tech brought back aerobics classes – such as Zumba, pilates and kick boxing – which it had eliminated earlier due to rising costs, Dumaine said.

The gym has also invested in $20,000 to $30,000 of new equipment, Dumaine said. And the gym added a “cutting edge” high intensity training (HIT) room.