MU Extension offers affordable energy audits to small businesses

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COLUMBIA - Reducing energy consumption has long been a topic of concern for many but the costs of assessing our energy efficiency can sometimes be prohibitive. University of Missouri Extension seeks to change that by making energy audits affordable to Mid-Missouri farms and small businesses.

MU Extension Energy Associate Don Day says audits are typically very expensive.

"If you just went out on your own and hired someone to do an energy audit," he said. "It would probably cost anywhere from $1200 to $1500 depending on the complexity of it."

Day said MU Extension is offering audits for 450 dollars. The reduction of the cost is made possible by a grant from USDA's Rural Energy for America Program which MU Extension won two weeks ago. Companies are required to pay for 25 percent of the cost while USDA pays for 75 percent. This leaves overall cost of the audit to just a little over 112 dollars.

Day said having an audit can lead businesses to figure out whether using alternative energy sources is the right way to go.

"We encourage people to consider having an audit done," Day said. "Either to look at renewable energy, many people are interested in that. Either solar or biomass, geothermal."

Energy audits can make companies eligible for USDA incentives such as grants to help pay for energy efficient systems.

Starting this week, small businesses and farms can submit an application through the department.