Photo by Matt Dayak.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will help small businesses in the state become more energy efficient with the Small Business Advantage Grant Program.

Now in its 13th year, the DEP Small Business Advantage Grant Program—which is funded by the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA)—has made available up to $1 million in grants to help small businesses lower their carbon footprint. The program provides funding to projects that include measures such as HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, and solvent recovery and waste recycling systems.

“The program was created to help small businesses implement pollution prevention or energy efficiency projects and assist various business sectors to transition into competitive markets,” says DEP press secretary Neil Shader. “A well-designed energy efficiency or pollution prevention project can help small businesses cut operating costs and complement the economy, while simultaneously protecting the environment.”

Last year, the program awarded 151 grants totaling nearly $1 million to Pennsylvania businesses. Seven of those grants were awarded to Southwestern PA businesses, with two going to applicants in Allegheny County.

Eligible applicants include owners of for-profit corporations, limited liability corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships or other legal entities with 100 or fewer full-time employees. Proposed projects must roll out in Pennsylvania and must save the business at least $500 and 25 percent annually in energy consumption or pollution-related expenses.

Businesses owners can apply for 50 percent matching funds of up to $9,500. The funding will cover costs incurred between July 25, 2016 and June 30, 2017.

Those interested can apply from now until fiscal year funding is depleted or April 14, 2017, whichever occurs first. Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

All applications are available at the DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office site. Applicants are advised to review the guidance document available on the DEP eLibrary. Applications must be mailed to: DEP’s Grants Center, P.O. Box 8776, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8776 or hand delivered to the 15th floor of the Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Faxed or electronic submissions will not be accepted.

Amanda Waltz

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated...