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Sizing Up Small Business

How big is a small business? The short answer: it varies. The change can be quite dramatic from program to program; in fact, we saw the size limit vary from 60 kW to 400 kW in a recent review of ten electric programs.

Determining small business size can be difficult, and that doesn’t even take the issue of gas programs into account. They can have sizes anywhere from 3,000 to 6,000 therms per month. What does all this uncertainty mean? Can you tell a 100kW commercial business by looking at it? Probably not.

However, there’s a new tool for you that can provide guidance for trade allies, energy advisors, and utility personnel to better estimate small business size. It can be useful to determine eligibility in small business programs. It’s especially helpful for those energy efficiency programs where utility data is not always readily accessible.

Now, the key to determining small business eligibility is to determine the approximate square footage of a facility type and see how that falls within the allowable kW. This can be done several ways, but a simple conversion calculator is the easiest approach to determine eligibility. You can download your own programmed calculator tool here, or by clicking the button at the bottom of this post.

Let’s see this idea in action. Assume we have a program where an eligible small business is required to be below 100kW. Further, let’s say we’re targeting convenience stores as a potential market. After entering this information into the calculator, we see that the estimated maximum size of a convenience store to qualify is just over 9,500 ft2, or roughly a building that is 80’ x 120’.

Using that same approach for an office building instead, the result would be for a building with an area of roughly 18,000 ft2. The reason this building is a little larger is that the energy intensity of an office is less than you would anticipate seeing at a convenience store.

This tool allows for a quick and easy way to determine small business eligibility, saving both time and resources. It helps speed up the process, so small businesses can go from being prospects to clients with unmatched efficiency.

 Download the free tool now to begin sizing up your small businesses! 

Download the Free Tool

Fred Dreher
Written by Fred Dreher

Vice President of Small and Mid-Sized Business Strategy
Fred Dreher knows how to make a big impact in small businesses. He draws upon his vast industry experience to identify ways to improve Franklin Energy’s approach to the small and mid-sized business sector. This includes developing new products that achieve more effective approaches to program implementation. In addition to his role at Franklin Energy, Fred is a former chair and a founding member of the advisory board for the development of UW-Platteville’s Sustainability and Renewable Energy Systems (SRES) degree, a founder of Wisconsin’s SE2 Award (now USGBC Wisconsin’s Building Performance Award), and a former chair of the Association of Energy Services Professionals’ (AESP) Innovations in Tools and Technology Topic Committee. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from UW-Platteville.


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