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New Bottom Line Volume 3.15 – More Voluntary Government Programs Support Business Environmental Efficiency

August 9, 1994

In a recent column, we reviewed several of the voluntary programs of the US Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and other agencies providing training, technical assistance, funding and public recognition for voluntary energy and resource efficiency programs. Today’s column focuses on a few more of these voluntary programs.

The programs described here are specific the the United States, but the approach has wide applicability. Readers in other countries might want to consider them as examples of an effective way that government and business can work together for both greater environmental quality and business success. If your country already has similar programs in place, we would appreciate learning about them; please write to The New Bottom Line, in care of this newspaper.)

The Motor Challenge Program, from DOE, encourages companies to consider energy and environmental performance in motor purchasing decisions. The program’s stated goal is to “demonstrate, evaluate and accelerate the use of [energy efficient] industrial electric motor systems, [and to] provide opportunities for industrial electric motor system users to increase performance and profitability.” Electric motor systems include the electric motors themselves, controlling devices (which can save energy through sophisticated power conditioning, matching power delivery to varying patterns of power demand), and the electrical, chemical and mechanical equipment that constitute industrial processes.

Three activity areas comprise the Motor Challenge Program. The Motor Challenge Partnership “fosters industrial participation in information exchange and technology deployment”; industry partners commit to taking energy and environmental performance into account in their motor purchasing, drawing on the Program’s technical assistance. Showcase Demonstrations will highlight 25 plants to demonstrate how industrial facilities can improve their energy efficiency, productivity, and environmental performance by adopting efficient electrical motor systems. The National Electric Motor System Database aims to provide a consistent base of information for decision-making.

Motor Challenge offers an information clearinghouse, technical assistance, decision support software, workshops, etc. The Clearinghouse can be reached at PO Box 43171, Olympia WA 98504-3171. Hotline 1-800-862-2086

EPA’s Design for Environment program encourages businesses to profitably incorporate environmental factors in the product development and design process. The program is focusing initially on dry cleaning, printing, computer manufacturing, metal finishing and aerospace industries, because of their significant pollution load. The DFE program works with businesses to evaluate risks and performance of existing and alternative processes, and to incorporate specific DFE tools and methodologies.. Though this program is primarily provides information and technical assistance, EPA grants may be available on a project by project basis. For information, contact: Ms Jean E Parker, Chief-DFE Staff, Office of Pollution Prevention & Toxics, US EPA, 401 M Street SW, Washington DC 20460. Tel +1-202-260-0667. Fax +1-202-260-0981.

There are also federal environmental prgorams that focus specifically on financing. The Small Business Administration provides loans and loan guarantees (up to $750,000, or 30% of loan amount) targeted at energy efficiency businesses. You can get information about SBA’s Energy and Conservation Loan Program (or the SBA’s Pollution Control Loans) from a local lender, local SBA office, or the national SBA Office of Business Loans, 1441 L Street NW, Washington DC 20416. Tel: +1-800-827-5722. (If you have a computer and modem, you can access SBA information “on-line”: 9600 baud at 1-800-697-INFO or 202-401-9600; 2400 baud at 1-800-859-INFO or 202-205-7265.)

The Small Business Innovation Research program provides three-phase financing‹for feasibility, development and commercialization‹for technical innovations that address specific priorities of of many Federal agencies, including EPA, DOE, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and others. Individual soliciations must be obtained from each agency. EPA’s SBIR contact is Donald F. Carey, SBIR Program Manager, Office of Exploratory Research (RD-675), Office of Research and Development, EPA, 401 M Street SW, Washington DC 20460. Tel +1-202-260-7473.

This represents a small subset of current Federal voluntary environmental and energy efficiency programs. A more complete listing is contained in a new report, “Making your Business More Eco-Efficient: Federal Assistance Programs for Environmental Enhancement and Energy Efficiency Projects,” by Holly Henning of the Business for Social Responsibility Education Fund‹$25 plus postage, from BSR/EF, 1030 15th Street NW, Suite 1010, Washington DC 20005. Tel: +1-202-842-5400, fax +1-202-842-3135.

One final note: These programs are often highly competitive, and may have strict deadlines for participation. If you see possibilities here for your company, don’t delay; what could be a better business deal than improving environmental quality and profitability at the same time?

(c) 1994 Gil Friend. All rights reserved.

New Bottom Line is published periodically by Natural Logic, offering decision support software and strategic consulting that help companies and communities prosper by embedding the laws of nature at the heart of enterprise.

Gil Friend, systems ecologist and business strategist, is President and CEO of Natural Logic, Inc.

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