Rebuild Nebraska Offers Incentives
To Make Businesses More Profitable   

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Since November, businesses and owners of multi-family housing have been finding ways to make their operations more profitable with the assistance from the state's Energy Office because of a federal/state effort called Rebuild Nebraska.

Rebuild partners voluntarily agree to improve energy efficiency and reduce waste. In exchange for that agreement, Rebuild Nebraska partners gain access to services and low-cost financing that are not available to others in the state.

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Ahead of the Pack                                          

To date, 32 local, state, public, private and nonprofit organizations have become partners. The Energy Office attributed its success to its unique approach and combination of services. "Not all states are able to offer audits and other types of evaluations as well as locally available financing, if needed," said Lynn Chamberlin, the state's Rebuild manager.

"We see each of Nebraska's Rebuild partners as unique," said Chamberlin. "We combine the Energy Office's technical expertise with the partner's needs and provide the services that are most valuable." Chamberlin estimated the cost of an evaluation of a typical commercial business ranges from $1,000 to $1,500. "The Energy Office provides the evaluation for free," Chamberlin said.

Cheap Cold Cash

Other Rebuild partner services include access to inexpensive local financing. Nebraska's Rebuild commercial business partners can borrow up to $100,000 at 6 percent if financing is needed to make cost-saving improvements. Multi-family housing owners can borrow up to $60,000 at the same low interest rate.

"These loans are just like the agency's very popular 6 percent Dollar and Energy Saving Loans," said Chamberlin. "If a Rebuild partner needs to finance an improvement, in most cases they can go the financial institution that already handles their business." Chamberlin said about 70 percent of the banks, savings and loans and credit unions in Nebraska at more than 600 locations offer the 6 percent loans.

"Since 1990, the Energy Office and its participating local lenders have financed nearly $9 million in improvements in small businesses across the state," Chamberlin said. "We helped more than 500 businesses in the past seven years get financing." According to the Energy Office the average loan is less than $16,000.

Some of the state's Rebuild partners see the effort differently. "Rebuild Nebraska helps us serve our customers better," said Bob Rye, Northwestern Public Services Nebraska manager, "and it allows them to improve the efficiency of their operations using low interest loans." Northwestern provides natural gas service in Grand Island, Kearney, and North Platte and also became a Rebuild partner.

One of the newest Rebuild partners is another state agency, the Department of Economic Development. Director Maxine Moul sees energy efficiency as a way to make communities stronger by stimulating economic growth, creating jobs, saving money and improving the environment.

To learn more about Rebuild Nebraska, contact Lynn Chamberlin in the Energy Office.

Return to the Summer 1997 Newsletter