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SAGE Sustainable Business Program Celebrates Two Years of Helping Businesses Save Money and Resources

SAGE Sustainable Business Program Celebrates Two Years of Helping Businesses Save Money and Resources


The City’s SAGE Sustainable Business Program celebrated its second anniversary in April. The SAGE (Save Act Grow Earn) program is a one-stop-shop for the Westminster business community on all things sustainability and takes a business-first lens, connecting businesses with financial and technical assistance and education to help achieve high-impact projects.   

Since April 2021, SAGE has helped 225 businesses; that’s around 8 percent of Westminster’s total businesses, with 75 of these businesses having completed initiatives supported by SAGE through financial assistance, advising, and programming. This past year, SAGE helped local businesses with several accomplishments including transitioning to all non-plastic packaging, upgraded LED lighting, starting a recycling service, employee education about water conservation, and more. These efforts were made possible through collaborations with local organizations and service providers such as the Colorado Green Business Network and Xcel Energy. Through Xcel Energy’s Small Business Energy Solutions program, SAGE provides free energy assessments to businesses. Over 60 businesses have already completed energy assessments, a value savings of up to $2,000 per business, and a total of $120,000 in savings.

In 2022, SAGE provided a robust set of financial assistance offerings. In particular, through the SAGE Accelerator Grant, $41,500 in funds were provided directly to businesses last year to complete upgrades and support resource conservation and environmentally friendly business operations. Business projects ranged from water and energy efficiency improvements to waste reduction and community gardens. 2022 highlight projects include: 

  • US Western achieved a 15 percent reduction in energy use in comparison to the last year through installation of an automated HVAC efficiency system. 
  • Vestar (property management company of the Orchard Town Center) reduced their utility bills by $5,000/month through new LED bulbs and controls for their parking lot lights.  
  • Rain Dance Car Wash slashed 1/2 of their water consumption and associated costs in half through upgrades to their water recycling system and arch spray valves.  

“Thank you for offering this program," said Carolyn Love of Love Enterprises. "It is a tremendous help to small business owners.”

Looking to this year, the SAGE Accelerator grants can cover up to 75 percent of project costs with a maximum of $5,000 per project. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a monthly basis.   

In addition to the SAGE Accelerator Grant, businesses received rebates on projects and free energy and water-saving products like sink aerators, power-strips, and LED “Exit” signs. In total, 100 products have been given to 8 businesses. These products will save about $5,000 throughout their lifespan. Five rebates were provided, totaling $5,000 for items such as high-efficiency TVs, sprinkler controllers, window tinting, and building operation staff trainings. Learn more about SAGE’s financial assistance resources and apply here

Along with financial and technical assistance, SAGE recognizes local business sustainability champions. Eleven businesses have fulfilled the criteria for SAGE certification, an acknowledgement of operational best practices that reduce operating costs, improve the wellbeing of employees, and benefit the health of residents and Westminster’s environment. In recognition, certified businesses receive a plaque, logo, placement on a map on the SAGE website, and media announcements. In October 2022, Gque BBQ was recognized as the “Sustainable Business of the Year” for their dedication to sustainable business practices, quality of employee services, and benefit to the community. They join Premier Members Credit Union and Vestar: The Orchard Town Center who received this award in 2020 and 2021. 

Looking ahead, SAGE aims to build upon its offerings through increased financial assistance, strengthened partnerships, and industry specific programs. One major project launching this year is the provision of technical and financial assistance to owners/managers of large commercial buildings (250,000 sq.ft or larger) to invest in high-efficiency HVAC systems. This project is funded through an EPA Region 8 Pollution Prevention-Source Reduction Assistance grant of $180,000. This project and all of SAGE’s services will continue to help local businesses save money, improve the energy and water efficiency of their buildings, and adopt practices and policies that benefit the Westminster community and environment.  

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