Small businesses across the U.S. spend more than $60 billion a year on powering, heating, and cooling the spaces they rent or own. However, there is vast potential to cut this spending in half and unleash a wide array of economic and performance benefits for small businesses everywhere.

With little time, competing priorities, and lack of expertise, small businesses need help to tap into this potential. For business support, they often look to local chambers of commerce and similar organizations as trusted partners: from economic developer and advisor to marketing consultant, to government relations liaison—chambers wear multiple hats. Adding the role of energy advisor is a smart way for them to stand out from the competition and add further value to small business members and the community. However, we know small businesses are not the only ones with time constraints and competing priorities, and not every organization has the expertise or available staff and resources to start a comprehensive energy efficiency program. That’s where the Small Business Energy Initiative Action Guide can help.

Whether a chamber or small business organization is a one-person operation with little to no experience on energy issues, or it has already built a strong foundation for an energy efficiency program and is looking to take the next step, this guide contains helpful tools, resources, and best practices to energize and inform efforts to establish or enhance a program that will help small business members reap the immense benefits of more efficient buildings and spaces.

Here are just some of the helpful resources contained in the guide:
  • Energy Efficiency Program Design Workbook
  • Stakeholder Engagement Toolkit
  • Utility Engagement Checklist
  • Local Government Engagement Checklist
  • Sample Green Lease Clauses
  • Promotional Toolkit
  • Case Study Examples
  • And more…

The Small Business Energy Initiative Action Guide pulls from IMT and the Greater Cleveland Partnership/Council of Smaller Enterprises (GCP/COSE) deep in-the-field knowledge and experience. Launched in 2016 by IMT and GCP/COSE with support from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Initiative energizes small business communities across the country by equipping chambers of commerce and similar organizations with energy- and water-saving tools and strategies to help businesses prosper. For more information on the Initiative, visit To use any of the templates for resources included in the action guide, such as the promotional toolkit, email Audi Banny, Associate Director of Private Sector Engagement, at

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