The Greater Greencastle Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Greencastle Sustainability Commission, recently announced a new Buy Local Bucks Program.
The Buy Local Bucks Program for energy efficiency encourages the purchase of energy-efficiency home upgrades from local businesses by offering a "rebate" which can be used at any participating local business.
The program meets two Sustainability Commission goals: promoting energy efficiency; and fostering local economic sustainability. The program, which advances buying locally and investing in the local economy, is part of the RISE initiative from the Greencastle Sustainability Commission and is being funded through a grant from Vectren Corp.
Here's how it works: beginning May 1, people who make purchases of certain energy-efficiency home upgrades at participating local retailers will receive $10 worth of Buy Local Bucks for each $100 spent (with a maximum $100 in Buy Local Bucks per customer, per location).
For example, if a customer buys an Energy Star window air conditioner from a participating business for $250, they will receive $20 in Buy Local Bucks. Buy Local Bucks are distributed based on pre-tax sales. The purchaser can use those Buy Local Bucks at any participating redeeming merchant, which could be a local restaurant, retailer or service provider. Redeeming merchants, in turn, submit the Buy Local Bucks they have received to the Chamber for reimbursement.
Items eligible to receive Buy Local Bucks will be listed on the Chamber of Commerce website, and include Energy Star appliances (such as TVs, air conditioners, refrigerators and dishwashers), programmable thermostats, insulation, certain windows and heating and cooling systems. The Buy Local Bucks is the perfect complement to the energy pledges being gathered as part of the Sustainability Commission's RISE initiative, Greencastle Chamber
"I'm encouraged by the number of households that are participating in the Energy Savings Pledge. The Buy Local Bucks program is a great way to reward those individuals who are willing to make an effort to increase their awareness and decrease tier energy consumption. So far, over 800 pledges have been made," Chamber president Amber Bowers said.
Laurie Hardwick, who chairs the Chamber's Buy Local Committee, is hopeful local businesses take advantage of the opportunity to participate.
"It is a win-win program for all parties involved," Hardwick said. "It encourages local purchases both for energy-efficiency items, and then at other local establishments. There is no cost to our participating merchants."
More details will be available once the list of participating businesses is compiled, Hardwick said. To make an Energy Savings Pledge, individuals can go to www.putnamrise.org. The program will continue until the project funding runs out, or Dec. 15, whichever occurs first.
Anyone interested in his or her company participating, either as an Energy Efficiency Merchant or as a Redeeming Merchant, may call Chamber executive director Tammy Amor at 653-4517.