In Little Rock, Arkansas, the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) operates the Home Energy Affordability Loan (HEAL) program, which helps local businesses and their employees reduce their energy use and related utility expenses. In July, Alan Hope, president and CEO of Powers of Arkansas, Inc., became the first small business executive to incorporate HEAL’s new Small Business Model – an initiative that brings HEAL’s energy-based employee benefit to smaller companies in the region.
Hope believes that Powers, which specializes in energy-conserving HVAC controls installation, is particularly well-suited for the HEAL program. “I’m a big believer that our (employees) need to understand their purpose and their goal,” he said, sitting at his dining room table, as HEAL energy raters tested duct leakage behind him. “I want them to understand there’s a real reason for the work we do. I think HEAL will help drive home that message.”
Powers of Arkansas has a roster of approximately 120 full-time employees, each of whom Hope considers part of an extended family. His actions as CEO certainly reflect this: Powers’ employees are already treated to a comprehensive benefits package. Given this track record, it’s no surprise that he calls the HEAL benefit a “no brainer.”
“Feelings count,” he explained. “You want your employees to feel good about where they work. If I can save them money every month on their utility bills, put fifty or a hundred bucks back in their pockets, that’s a big deal. That affects the whole family.”
Hope wants to see these savings materialize, and quickly: while he won’t be pressing his staff to enroll in the benefit, he says he plans to survey those who do, and publish their annual savings, with permission, in the company’s newsletter to its customers. Doing so will not only encourage other employees to participate, Hope said, but will also demonstrate to clients Powers’ commitment to energy conservation.
“We’ll do a recap,” he said, “and highlight the success stories. Sort of like a ‘Biggest Loser’ thing. Employees (who haven’t participated) can say ‘Wow. Why haven’t I done that yet?’”
Hope and several company executives have personally enrolled their homes for HEAL energy assessments. When asked how he expected his own home to rank, Hope smiled and said, “Mine might be the worst.”
Hope will receive his Personalized Energy Plan (PEP) on August 22, when HEAL will share the results of his audit (good and bad) and further gauge his impression of the program. Right now, the CEO says it’s all upside.
“The whole process has been very smooth,” he said. “I can’t imagine how an employer could lose by offering HEAL.”
HEAL, a project of the William J. Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative (“CCI”), is a unique, energy-based employee benefit program designed to improve quality of life, at both the corporate and homeowner levels, by reducing GHG emissions through energy-conserving improvements to existing commercial and residential buildings (“Retrofits”). By enlisting employers to offer the HEAL program to qualifying employees, the program is able to make a large-scale and rapid impact in energy usage, GHG emissions, and employment opportunities.