Feb. 23--The owners of Losch Plaza in Pottsville will spend upward of $16,000 this winter on oil heat, according to Edward G. Katchur, president of Losch Realty and Losch Plumbing and Heating.
But a recent $9,500 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection will help Losch Realty install a natural gas heating system at the office building at 121 N. Progress Ave. and save money next year, which will save them money next year.
"This winter, we anticipate we'll use 4,000 gallons. So that will be around $16,000. Last winter, we spent $15,669 on heating oil here. With natural gas, we anticipate we will have a 40 percent savings. So it might only cost us $9,000 or $10,000 for heating next year," Katchur said Monday.
Later this year, Losch Realty will remove the oil burners in the basement and install natural gas furnaces at an estimated cost of $40,000. Losch will buy its natural gas from UGI Utilities Inc., Katchur said.
Losch Realty is one of 134 businesses in the state which received matching grants from Pennsylvania's Small Business Advantage Grant program for energy efficiency or pollution prevention projects, according to Amanda Witman, DEP press aide.
This year, $996,713 in matching grants were distributed. Of that, five businesses in Schuylkill County received $33,500 in grant funding, Witman said.
The grants will create more than $3.7 million in private-sector investment in small businesses, Gov. Tom Corbett said in a recent press release published on the DEP website.
According to Witman, these are the other four businesses in Schuylkill County that received grants:
- C&R VIP, Saint Clair: $9,447 to replace an oil furnace with natural gas boiler to power efficient HVAC system. Barb Williams, a representative of the business, said in an email to The Republican-Herald that the owners preferred not to comment: "They prefer to remain out of the public eye on internal activities of business."
- Fanelli Warehousing & Distribution Center, Highridge Business Park, Pottsville: $6,086 to support a $24,000 project to install upgraded lighting with new fixtures to conserve energy at the 75,000 square foot warehouse built in 2002.
There are 72 lights in the building. Fanelli upgraded half of them in 2013. They're replacing 400-watt metal halide fixtures with T12 fluorescent light fixtures, Jeff S. Fanelli, vice president of Fanelli's warehousing division, said Wednesday.
"Plus, they have sensors on them so if workers aren't here, they'll shut off to conserve energy," Fanelli said.
In an average year, the Fanelli Warehouse spends roughly $12,000 on electricity. This upgrade will save the warehouse about $3,000 per year, Fanelli said.
- Cocoa Hut, 100 E. Centre St., Mahanoy City: $5,335 to buy and install upgraded LED lighting with new fixtures to conserve energy. Representatives of Cocoa Hut could not be reached for comment.
- Heckman & Laudeman, an accounting firm in Orwigsburg: $3,438 to buy and install upgraded lighting with individual motion sensors to control new fixtures to conserve energy. Representatives of the firm could not be reached for comment.
Since 2004, the grant program has awarded in excess of $8.5 million in more than 1,776 small businesses statewide, according to a recent press release from DEP.
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