New Colorado Report Reflects Benefits of Energy Efficiency for Small Businesses

Tim Gaudette

In Colorado, Main Street businesses are working to rebuild the state’s economy. These entrepreneurs are doing all they can to hire, grow and move their businesses forward. For their wellbeing and that of Colorado’s economic future, it’s important they have ample opportunity to innovate—particularly in the energy efficiency arena, as indicated by a report released Wednesday.

The report, “Colorado Energy Efficiency: State of the State,” makes plain that when small businesses take steps to become more energy efficient, it’s good not only for their bottom lines but for Colorado’s overall economy. The numbers say it all: Colorado’s energy efficiency industry supports more than 14,000 jobs and generates more than $1 billion in local economic development.

It is cost-effective for small businesses to make their companies more energy efficient because it minimizes energy waste—and wasted energy is wasted money. As noted in the report, released by Colorado’s Energy Efficiency Business Coalition, small firms often occupy buildings that waste energy. Whether it’s dated appliances, poorly sealed walls or inefficient heating and cooling equipment at fault, it happens all the time. With energy consumption on the rise in Colorado, the financially detrimental effects of these outdated facilities are only being compounded as time goes on. That puts a hefty strain on entrepreneurs’ pocket books, hindering their ability to expand and create jobs.

In fact, one-third of Colorado small businesses cite the rising cost of electricity and fuel as one of their top two business concerns, according to opinion polling Small Business Majority recently released. Entrepreneurs cite these costs as more problematic than every other business concern we asked them about.

With that in mind, it makes sense for entrepreneurs to be excited about the competitive, modern economy taking shape in Colorado as its energy efficiency industry grows. Small firms need help becoming part of that economy. Running a successful small business is tough, especially during a slow fiscal recovery—there’s just not enough time in the day or money in their pockets for entrepreneurs to retrofit their facilities single-handedly. That’s where state and local energy efficiency programs come in.

Colorado entrepreneurs believe these programs are important: more than four in five say the government should require utilities to help their customers reduce energy consumption through them. But according to the Energy Efficiency Business Coalition, many of Colorado’s critical energy efficiency programs—and certain financial incentives for small businesses that become more energy efficient—are at risk of expiring soon. These important benefits are key to sustaining and improving Colorado’s budding energy efficiency industry, as they are already helping usher small businesses into a new economic sector rife with business opportunities.

Entrepreneurs agree. Our poll found that in Colorado, 72 percent of small business owners believe government investments in energy efficiency and clean energy play an important role in boosting our economy and creating jobs now, and three-quarters say government should play a prominent part in creating financial incentives that encourage people to take energy efficiency measures.

The work of Colorado’s energy efficiency sector has paid off so far—for small businesses and the state’s economy. Continued investments are necessary to keep the ball rolling, which is why the report released today underscores the need for the state legislature and local governments to continue supporting the energy efficiency industry.

Government investments in this industry can help ensure Coloradan entrepreneurs see long-term economic benefits that increase their prosperity and allow them to retain their status as the backbone of our economy. Across all industries and from one end of the political spectrum to the other, small employers believe all businesses small and large, from local dry cleaners to major power companies, will need to innovate to survive—and smart investments in state and local programs and incentives will help them do so.