As a part of the City of Seattle’s energy efficiency program, Community Power Works (CPW) for Small Business (http://www.communitypowerworks.org/for-business/) is working hard to reach a diverse group of small, independent restaurants and neighborhood grocery store owners in Seattle that might not know how energy efficiency options can help build their businesses. To reach this community and help make energy efficiency upgrades easier, CPW for Small Business has hired outreach staff members who are fluent in Vietnamese, Mandarin and Chinese, and who also have strong relationships with neighborhood businesses.
Candace Chin, one of CPW’s business outreach specialists, says, “Community Power Works for Small Business provides a great opportunity to help the small businesses with smart energy efficient options, which is an investment in their business longevity.”
Having lived and worked in the Rainier Valley area, Chin has a dedication to serve the area. She says, “I have seen and love the changes in diversity of businesses and neighbors. Being able to speak Taishan (Cantonese dialect) and Mandarin has given me insight on possible language barriers and solutions for business owners who might not otherwise be able to take advantage of this program. “Energy use is a major operating expense for many food service businesses, with annual energy bills that can be equal to 50% of profits. For a restaurant or grocery store owner, it can be hard to know where to start to reduce energy use and save money. “These savings translate well in any language,” said Chin.
Candace Chin, CPW for Small Business Outreach Specialist
How does Community Power Works help make it easier to understand and complete energy upgrades? First, we connect a food service business with one of our multi-lingual outreach staff who will ask a few basic screening questions and explain the process. If the business is interested and has the potential to achieve energy savings, it will get a free energy assessment. Our trained assessor will visit the business and take a comprehensive look for energy saving opportunities, including kitchen equipment, lighting, refrigeration, heating and cooling systems and shell measures such as windows and insulation.
The assessor will also estimate the rebates and incentives available for the different options. If the business is interested in implementing these upgrades, we’ll connect them to one of our pre-approved contractors to get the work done. There is a tiered incentive structure, so the more energy you save the more cash you can get towards your energy upgrade. CPW is also excited to offer affordable energy efficiency loans through our non-profit loan partner, Craft3.