Sunday December 5, 2010

BENNINGTON -- HRH Management of North Bennington has received an efficiency grant under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

The grant will be used to purchase and install three energy-efficient propane boilers to replace the company's oil-fired boilers. The fuel and labor savings will amount to $94,608 annually, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

HRH applied for a previous grant and was denied. This year they applied at the end of June and heard of the decision a few week ago, said Rod Williams of HRH Management. The entire boiler system should be up and running by December and the company expects to see savings soon.

"When you look at how much we're going to save it's really significant, we're borrowing at pretty low rates and our savings are still significant," said Williams.

"I think what it does is it benefits everyone," he added. "It benefits my company because we run more efficiently, but it also benefits small businesses. We try to help people who are trying to start a small company, and running the building efficiently allows me to have lower rent which helps these small businesses afford to get going. These little companies get stronger and eventually become bigger companies, which in time benefits the individual."

Similar grants were awarded to 41 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Vermont totaling $4.2 million.


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The grants have pulled in over $8.2 million in private and other public investment and are estimated to create 68 jobs and save 92 jobs, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

"These loans and grants will generate and save energy for Vermont farmers and businesses for many years to come, while promoting Obama Administration efforts to transition to a renewable energy economy," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in a release. "Farmers have significant opportunity to reduce their energy consumption or generate income by producing renewable energy that can be used by other consumers through USDA's REAP program."

The funding will support solar projects for businesses and anaerobic digesters for farms that will generate renewable energy and are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America, said Vilsack.

"More than ever our farms and small businesses are struggling with the high costs of energy," said Molly Lambert, state director for USDA Rural Development. "These critical energy projects will help them grow their energy independence and their production."