The Greater Westerly-Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce has committed to grow green-energy businesses and to help others maximize energy-efficient use.
The Westerly-based group last month announced it had become a member of the Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a national organization dedicated to stimulating the economy through new energy technology.
“[Alternative] energy is a growing business,” said Lisa Konicki, executive director of the Greater Westerly Pawcatuck Area Chamber of Commerce. “We don’t have a staff expert to provide help to area businesses. Their organization is equipped to help businesses become more energy efficient and to help those wanting to get into the field.
“We want to help companies in our service area save money so that they can be more competitive,” Konicki said.
The local program is in its infancy, so Konicki realizes it will take time to build up interest in the local business community. In the meantime, she has taken the initiative to form a collaborative relationship with Uplands Construction Group of North Stonington, Conn., a contractor specializing in energy-efficient construction. The company regularly conducts energy audits, installs insulation and replaces inefficient doors and windows.
“We’ve met with them and they’re ahead of the curve when it comes to conservation,” Konicki said.
An independent collective of chambers, the CICE has grown significantly since it was formed in the summer of 2010. Dissatisfied with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s lack of progress in promoting green energy and energy-efficient businesses, several chambers throughout the nation formed CICE – while still retaining their U.S. Chamber membership – to encourage the use of alternative energy. The chamber of San Francisco was one of the key groups behind its formation. The organization now boasts a membership of more than 68 chambers in 28 states, according to Diane Doucette, executive director for CICE. She said they regularly communicate with 500 chambers, sharing contacts and information.