Energy & the environment update Featured

9:51am EDT July 22, 2002

Did you know that the average small business could save between 25 percent and 35 percent on energy costs – and reduce air pollution with a few simple steps?

According to the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, you can save money by simply converting to more energy-efficient equipment and turning equipment off when you’re not using it.

Consider the following tips, which could cut your energy bills by as much as 50 percent:

Turn down the building heat thermostat.

Reduce the temperature in your water heater thermostat to 110 degrees for hand-ashing and 130 degrees for dishwashing.

Install water flow restrictors and aerators in sink faucets.

Remove lamps where you have more lighting than you need.

Wrap the water heater tank with jacket insulation.

Replace air filters regularly and follow maintenance schedules for furnace and air-conditioning equipment.

Install programmable thermostats.

Install automatic room-lighting controls.

To assist with your energy-efficiency efforts, the DEP’s Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account now can provide you with low-interest loans.

For more information about the program, contact the DEP at (800) 722-4743.

Coating technologies grants available

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection, through a $799,200 grant it recently awarded to Northampton Community College, is providing technical assistance to smaller Pennsylvania companies designed to help them in selecting coating, curing, drying and heating technologies.

Funding will pay for selection, training in the technologies and process analysis, with the ultimate goal of helping businesses adopt technologies that lead to improved air quality.

Apply for grant money through the college’s Electrotechnology Applications Center. The center also is helping companies switch from solvent-based coatings to water- or powder-based coatings that reduce or eliminate emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from coatings. The center also plans to hold a series of workshops to educate business owners about the benefits of adopting new technologies.

For more information about the funding program, contact the DEP at (717)772-2333.

Three new air pollution regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency imposed new regulations last year on businesses that manufacture automobile refinish coatings, architectural coatings and household consumer products. The requirements took effect earlier this year.

As part of the regulations, manufacturers now must send an initial notification form to EPA. The regulations likely will affect manufacturers most significantly, while affecting users of the products only slightly.

The new regulations limit the amount of volatile organic compounds in seven categories of automobile refinish coatings, primarily involving primers and topcoats. The regulations do not, however, apply to auto body shops. The regulations also limit the VOC contents of 61 categories of architectural coatings, including exterior and interior paints, industrial maintenance coatings, wood and roof coatings and traffic paint.

For more information about the new regulations, contact Mark Morris of the EPA at (919) 541-5416. Information in this update provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Envirohelp program. The program provides free, confidential information about air, waste and water regulations, pollution prevention, energy efficiency and strategic environmental management.

How to reach: (800) 722-4743 or