Downtown Goes Green

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COLUMBIA -The City of Columbia is launching a new program called "City Green: The District" to help encourage restaurants, stores, apartments and churches in downtown Columbia to become more environmentally efficient. Columbia will receive $285,547 in federal funding though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Showcase Communities program to help support the new initiative.

According to the EPA, the project will help improve economic competitiveness and provide greater access to energy and greenhouse gas reduction resources. The City of Columbia will also use software provided by the EPA to help audit energy consumption for the buildings in The District. They expect to audit approximately 70 different buildings.

Businesses in The District can apply for assistance and will receive funding through December of 2012. The program is designed to reimburse businesses up to 50% of the costs to make environmentally efficient improvements up to $12,500. The program will also reimburse up to $2,000 for energy audits.

The project hopes to help improve at least 20 buildings downtown.