One-Stop Lighting program shines energy-saving spotlight on local startup 612Brew
CEE’s One-Stop Efficiency Shop® is a full-service lighting program for small businesses in Xcel Energy’s Minnesota service territory. One-Stop, as it’s commonly called, provides lighting needs assessments, efficiency recommendations, financing, support for rebates, and guidance toward making improvements to schools, churches, bakeries, boutiques, and more.
Local brew pub 612Brew recently participated in the program, and learned firsthand the positive economic impact of energy conservation in business. So what drove the small business to work with CEE on lighting? “Rebates. Rebates. Rebates,” is the resounding response from Adit Kalra, 612Brew’s president:
"As a startup, every dollar saved helps. We were told about the program and once I found out how easy it was, there was no doubt we had to do it.”
When the brewhouse and taproom upgraded to energy-efficient lighting, the improvements were subsidized through rebates and incentives facilitated by One-Stop, made possible by Minnesota’s Conservation Improvement Program (CIP). Overseen by the Department of Commerce and driven by utility company rebates and incentives that pay for themselves, CIP encourages electric and gas utilities to promote energy-efficient technologies, help homes and businesses cut energy costs, and reduce harmful emissions while conserving resources.
Because of the efficiencies 612Brew put in place, the company now saves over $1,000 in energy spending every year. And boosted by rebates from Xcel Energy amounting to nearly $2,300, the brew pub’s savings quickly covered the cost of upgrades. Kalra says conservation “absolutely” plays a role in 612Brew’s long-range business plan: “In the long run energy conservation is better for our space and for the whole building, and leads to savings on our bottom line.”
Quick paybacks are especially important for startups like 612Brew. And investing in energy saving offers much more than a one-time return on investment, because the returns keep coming every year after a company improves its energy use — which frees up money to reinvest in staffing, customers, and services, all much smarter channels for limited resources.
On average, it costs about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour ongoing to buy electricity in Minnesota, versus a one-time expense of 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour to save electricity. Recent data indicates CIP generates about four dollars in benefits for every dollar invested, opening doors to new energy-related technologies that help businesses large and small save energy and money.
Like ripples in a frosty glass of “Unrated” (612Brew’s flagship IPA), One-Stop’s lighting impact continues to resonate for the small business. Kalra explains, “Aesthetically, the lighting gives a nice look to our taproom. And financially, it drains less power thus lowering our electrical bill. Take that over the four years we’ve been in business and those savings add up.”