At our annual budget meetings in November, Heartland staff announced plans to boost both the energy efficiency and economic development programs in 2015 with the addition of new opportunities for customers. Details are now available regarding new residential and commercial energy efficiency rebates as well as assistance programs for communities in the site selection process.

Energy Efficiency

2014 proved to be another successful year for Heartland’s energy efficiency programs. Seventy-five rebates were issued for upgrading appliances to new Energy Star models, including six freezer rebates, 24 refrigerator rebates, 22 dishwasher rebates and 23 clothes washer rebates. In addition, Heartland incentivized the installation of nine Energy Star rated heat pumps, two air conditioners and one geothermal heat pump. Finally, eighteen businesses replaced 1,106 light fixtures with energy efficient models.

Hoping to expand upon its success with the current programs, Heartland will now be offering additional incentives and rebates.

“Heartland is excited to add to its suite of energy efficiency programs in 2015,” said Heartland Communications Manager Ann Hyland. “In addition to our current incentives, we will also be offering rebates on lifetime warranty electric water heaters, residential LED light bulbs and commercial refrigeration.”

Residents who purchase an electric water heater in 2015 with a lifetime warranty will be eligible for a rebate of $100 on 50 to 79 gallon heaters and $200 for heaters 80 gallons and above.

Additionally, residents who purchase LED light bulbs for their homes may also be eligible for incentives. A rebate of $5 per light bulb will be given for each Energy Star rated light bulb purchased that is 9 watts or higher. Rebates will not exceed $100 per year, per home.

Commercial customers with refrigeration may receive rebates for making energy efficiency improvements. Installing LED refrigerated display case lighting will be eligible for a rebate of $25 per door. Installing anti-sweat heater controls on refrigerated display cases is eligible for a rebate of $25 per door. Replacing a standard shaded-pole evaporator fan motor with an electronically commutated motor is eligible for a rebate of $30 on reach-in coolers and $75 on walk-in coolers. Finally, rebates on new solid or glass door reach-in refrigerators and freezers will be given at $200 per unit.

Applications for the new incentives will be available soon or more information can be obtained by contacting Hyland at (605) 256-6536 or ahyland@hcpd.com.

Economic Development

Certified Ready Site Assistance

Available property is the number one factor site selectors and expanding businesses focus on when narrowing down their search. One key to keeping your community on the selection list is having a Certified Ready Site. Depending upon your community’s desire and goals, different site classifications can be applied for. The classifications are Heavy Industrial, Light Industrial, Business Services/Research & Development, Rural Business Parks, and Technology Parks. The requirements for each classification are focused on the site’s size, highway access, and the availability and capacity for electric service, water supply, sewer, natural gas and telecom. Environmental studies may also be required.

Every state has different requirements to qualify a site as Certified Ready and the process can take some time and financial investment, but it will pay dividends to the community for decades to come. Beginning in 2015, Heartland will be your partner in the process for achieving Certified Ready status by providing guidance in the planning and application process as well as financial support.

Spec Building Assistance

Other than having an available site with infrastructure, another important factor for a community in the site selection process is having an available building. Heartland is also able to provide assistance in this regard by being highly involved in the planning process. Grant funding may also be available for initial expenses.

“Providing new or expanding businesses with a ‘virtual spec building’ is a great tool in recruiting those businesses,” said Heartland Director of Economic Development Ryan Brown. “There will be some initial cost in putting the spec building project together, such as architectural, engineering or legal expenses, but the community or economic development organization will not need to invest in the full financial cost of the project until a business has committed to relocating or expanding in that community.”

The virtual spec building entails a survey with the property placement on the site, a blueprint of the building, and initial cost breakdown for the construction phase. The building plan will most often include a 10,000-30,000 square-foot industrial building with standard specifications.

“We have found this size to be the primary focus for business prospects looking at our communities,” Brown said. “However, the new or expanding business has the opportunity to make any adjustments as necessary to fit their needs.”

A virtual spec building can be the deciding factor for a prospective business to choose your community. Not only does it allow for a smooth transition to the new property, but it also shows your community is prepared to grow and has a desire to move your local economy forward.

For more information regarding Heartland’s Certified Ready Site or Spec Building assistance, contact Brown at (605) 256-6536 or rbrown@hcpd.com.