SCALE UP Businesses Move Towards a More Sustainable Future


Eleven locally owned businesses in Tucson are well on their way to becoming more sustainable as they reach the halfway point of the SCALE UP Program. Since May 15th, these eleven local businesses have been meeting once a week to learn about how their business can be more economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable from local experts.

The businesses include:

·      Pop-Cycle
·      Surly Wench Pub
·      Borderlands Brewing Company
·      Sonoran Glass School
·      Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona  
·      Tucson Thrift Shop
·      Merit Foods of Arizona
·      LeadLocal
·      Wholesum Harvest
·      The Gloo Factory    
·      Delectables Catering and Venue

These participants have so far covered energy efficiency, water conservation, and transportation efficiency. In each workshop, participants learn about the issues at hand with each topic, learn how having a better understanding of each topic can benefit their business, and then benchmark their business’s current practices before setting goals. At this point in the program, all businesses have been benchmarked through the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager. This tool, provided by the EPA, will help the businesses track their improvements over time, based off of their energy and water bill data. By the end of the workshop series, the businesses will have created a general Sustainability Plan for measures that will reduce one or more expenses for energy use, water use, waste reduction and transportation emissions in facilities and then can access loans and other benefits to improve efficiency and implement sustainability projects to save money.

The goal is to help participating businesses reduce their energy use, water use, and transportation emissions by at least 10 percent.  Participants and other businesses looking to be more sustainable should feel empowered to reach a higher savings than 10 percent, but there can be a big difference made even by reaching 10 percent savings. How much of a difference can eleven business make by saving 10 percent? Let’s take a look!

Combined, the participants by the numbers:

Square Footage: Over 1,000,500
Employees: 290
Weekly Occupancy: 9,360
Annual Energy: $417,400
Annual Water: $54,000
Annual Gas: $29,270

A 10% savings in these Energy, Water, and Gas would generate at least $50,000 in cost savings.

Participants can then use these savings to reinvest in their business and their community. The benefits don’t stop there. By taking steps to reduce their water and energy consumption, they are becoming Sustainability Leaders in their communities, showing other businesses and patrons that they are committed to  reducing their carbon footprint.

Once participants have completed the six workshops and created a Sustainability Plan, they will gain access to and Exclusive Incentive and Benefits Package, as well as access to grants and low interest loans from the Community Investment Corporation. These incentives and benefits can then be used to by participants to invest in their business, and to help meet their sustainability goals.
Program partners include Local First Arizona, Tucson 2030 District, Physicians For Social Responsibility, Community Investment Corporation, and the University of Arizona Office of Sustainability, along with businesses involved with both Tucson 2030 District and Local First Arizona.

If you would like to know more about SCALE UP, contact CJ Agbannawag, SCALE UP Program Manager, at [email protected]