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East Side Neighborhood Development Company collecting data on impact of energy-efficiency measures

Last summer, St. Paul's East Side Neighborhood Development Company (ESNDC) started targeting local businesses as a part of its ongoing effort toward "Urban Greenewal."

ESNDC's sustainability coordinator, Sam Hanson, explains via email that the term refers to "re-visioning and redevelopment work that we have helped plan for the neighborhood because one of the core focuses is sustainability." 

Although sustainability has always been a priority for the group, it's moved to the top of its agenda in recent years, out of necessity. "Now that the national economic hardships have hit local residents and businesses, we know it is more important than ever to help people figure out ways to cut back on energy usage to save money," he says.

Hard data is just starting to trickle in, and ESNDC will work to quantify the impact this summer, but Hanson expects to see plenty of savings, with little up-front cost, as a result of a wide range of improvements to area businesses over the past year.

For example, as a part of a partnership with Energy Smart, Payne Avenue businesses, which ESNDC focused on for a "clustered impact," got concrete advice for how to become more energy-efficient with all kinds of do-it-yourself types of fixes.     

The Center for Energy and Environment stepped in with free lighting audits while Solarflow Energy, which assessed a handful of businesses, "determined the style of building found along Payne Ave combined with the location of the avenue itself made for great solar collection," he says.

ESNDC also has a forgivable loan program to help businesses retool for energy efficiency. In the case of Donald's store, which was already efficient, ESNDC helped pay for an engineer to visit the store and verify it met all Energy Star requirements, he says. 

"As we continue to develop programs and partnerships, there will be more and more options for community members to be active in pursuing green and sustainable practices," a situation he says is vital for a prosperous neighborhood.

Source: Sam Hanson, ESNDC
Writer: Anna Pratt

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