|Rudolph: Energy efficiency is a boost for business|
|Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Saturday, 12 October 2013 08:22|
WALBRIDGE - It's not just the environment that reaps the positives when it comes to alternative energy. Such practices can also assist a business's bottom line.
"Many times we hear about the environmental benefits, but often the business benefits get overlooked," said William Rudolph, chairman of Rudolph/Libbe Companies.
Rudolph was among chamber of commerce representatives and business leaders from 14 states who traveled to Capitol Hill last Thursday to discuss clean energy and regional business competitiveness with legislators.
The trip was organized by Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, which has 400 member chambers across the United States.
The group met with U.S. Representatives Bob Latta (R - Ohio), Marcy Kaptur (D - Ohio), Dan Benishek (R - Michigan), and Senator Chris Coons (D - Delaware). They had also been slated to attend a roundtable meeting at the White House, but that event was postponed due to the ongoing government shutdown.
Rudolph is a steering member of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce solar group initiative and represented the Toledo Chamber and local business community during the event.
The gathered group met and spoke together about public policy legislation in the works for advocating energy-efficiency and alternative energy.
"First of all, our representatives and legislators were glad to hear from people from their district and from business about the importance of energy efficiency and clean energy in the success of business," said Rudolph. "And also from an economic development perspective. And there was very good support echoed from our representatives and senators in regards to the importance of those, and they're glad to see that business is behind public policy that advocates for those investments."
Rudolph said that he "talked about our experiences with energy efficiency and alternative energy in our region, and the benefit that our customers have experienced from implementing some of those things.
"The core message for alternative energy is the improved visibility over long periods of time for more certainty on your energy costs."
These include technologies like solar, and combined heat and power, in which a turbine turned by gas both produces power and supplies heat which can also be used.
Rudolph said that, regarding Rudolph/Libbe's own customers, it is very common to find that 10 to 20 percent of their energy spending can be reduced be implementing energy conservation measures.
"And many of those are low-cost and no-cost kinds of items that can be as simple as motion sensors on a light switch," he said.
"The one thing that we see from our customer base, it's not just one energy conservation measure, but it's multiple energy conservation measures that are implemented," said Greg Steenrod, vice president at GEM Energy, a Rudolph/Libbe company.
"We see it's growing in popularity and success," Rudolph said of alternative energy. "We have about 10 megawatts of solar currently installed" and approximately 5 megawatts in combined heat and power installed in projects across the country.
"We see that specifically on the solar side, the cost of solar continues to drop" to the tune of 75 percent over the last five years.
He said that alternative energy makes up about 10 percent of Rudolph/Libbe's business, and it continues to grow.
Rudolph/Libbe, GEM Inc., and GEM Energy have created projects including the Toledo Zoo SolarWalk, and phases 4 and 5 of the Ohio Air National Guard solar array, among others.
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