PEERS government program directs stimulus funds to energy-efficient retrofits

December 15, 2009

Manufacturing has yet to reap many benefits from the $780 billion stimulus package, but an industry economist has uncovered a program that delivers both financial rewards and environmental benefits to the sector.

"As it evolved thus far, the stimulus cash has preserved jobs instead of creating new private sector work," said Dr. Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA), Rockford, Ill.

"One initiative that bypasses this issue is the Program for Energy Efficiency through Responsible Stimulus (PEERS)," said Kuehl. "Its aim is to get the government to direct $16 billion of the $780 billion to a program that supports energy-efficiency retrofits.

"Every state has programs in place that could carry out the assignment," he continued. "These usually are utilities or those connected to some power provider. They already have the ability to go into a facility to conduct energy audits that allow a company to find ways to save money on its energy usage."

However, companies that received the audit often lacked the funds to make the changes, according to Kuehl.

"The idea behind PEERS, designed by the National Association of Lighting Management Companies (NALMCO) is to direct the stimulus money to help underwrite the costs of these retrofits," said Kuehl. "This leads to the proverbial win-win; companies save money by reducing energy costs, reduce their contributions to emissions, and create jobs for firms that do retrofit work and provide ongoing maintenance."