Farms and small businesses can get free energy audits

Rural small businesses and farms whose annual energy costs exceed $10,000 can get a no-cost energy efficiency assessment by Waste Reduction Partners. An energy assessment can identify cost-effective energy-saving measures that a business can implement.

An experienced energy engineer from Waste Reduction Partners (WRP) will conduct the energy audit. Waste Reduction Partners is a team of 60 staff and volunteer retired engineers who have provided over 1,800 energy and waste reduction assessments across North Carolina. The work has resulted in an estimated $50.1 million in utility cost savings.

WRP funding support comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The energy audit is an on-site assessment and written report which provides a preliminary cost-benefit analysis of recommended energy efficiency measures along with financing suggestions. The energy audit begins with a utility bill analysis and survey of major energy-using equipment for efficiency opportunities. WRP engineers typically identify no- and low-cost energy efficiency measures that can save a business 10 to 20 percent.

Rand Smith, electric services manager at the Blue Ridge Electric cooperative based in Lenoir, said "Waste Reduction Partners has been a valued resource in providing on-site energy assessments to qualifying Blue Ridge Electric members — such as non-profits, commercial and industrial accounts — to help them become more energy efficient and improve load factors."

Who is eligible?

Rural small businesses, as defined by the Small Business Administration, are eligible for the WRP energy assessment. The Small Business Association website tells how to determine what defines a small business. Rural is defined as communities less than 50,000 in population.

For more information, contact Russ Jordan at, or by phone at (828) 251-7477, or visit

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