Grant available for business energy audits

Businesses looking to lower energy costs can now make more informed investment decisions thanks to a grant awarded to the Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region (WUPPDR).  WUPPDR, which received the grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), will help pay up to 75% of the cost of commercial energy audits to assist local businesses with identifying opportunities to reduce energy expenses and target resources to pay for energy waste reduction investments.

Partnering with Michigan Energy Options, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing communities’ access to energy efficiency and renewable energy, WUPPDR will use funds to subsidize up to 25 energy audits for small businesses in the Western Upper Peninsula.  An energy audit is a process that can help businesses understand their energy usage and provide recommendations for energy savings upgrades.  Energy audits will review both common energy conservation measures (ECM) such as lighting and building envelope improvements, as well as more advanced ECMs like smart thermostats, building control technologies, and renewable energy. 


One of the unique features of the program is its focus on closing the gap between businesses receiving energy audits and acting upon the audit’s recommendations.  It will specifically focus on businesses whose energy expenses represent a high percentage of their operating expenses, as these businesses are more likely to act upon the audit’s suggested ECMs.   In addition to receiving a report with specific energy efficiency recommendations and cost saving projections, participating businesses with be connected with existing resources to help finance energy efficiency investments. 

“There are a number of programs out there to help businesses reduce their energy expenses, but it can be confusing and time-consuming to track them down, find the right fit, and complete the necessary paperwork” said Brad Barnett, Program Coordinator. “At the end of the day, we want to help businesses save energy and money, so we plan to work with them to capitalize on the audit’s recommendations.”

The $58,875 award through the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program will establish the Western Upper Peninsula Energy Audit Program (WUPEAP) which seeks to help local employers lower their energy bills and become more financially sustainable. 


For more information about WUPEAP or to schedule an audit, visit ; or contact Brad Barnett, Program Coordinator, at (906) 482-7205, ext. 316 or .