Community Consulting: Small Business Energy Efficiency

This study helped seven small businesses in Bloomington-Normal to become energy efficient which helps protect the environment and saves businesses money. Recent developments in lighting technology makes it possible for many small businesses to improve the quality of their lighting while reducing electricity consumption by 75% or more. For example, a restaurant replacing 100, 65-watt standard light bulbs with energy-efficiency compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs could save over $2,000/year with a payback period under 6 months. The change would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.

Project Mentors

Dr. Tom Bierma (Environmental Health)
Dr. Peter Kaufman (Marketing)
Dr. Lou Reifschneider (Technology)
Dr. Dale Fitzgibbons (Management)


Rebecca Groeninger, Environmental Health
Kaylee Halberg, Environmental Health
Morgan Martin, Environmental Health
Kimberly McLeod, Environmental Health
Filip Miljevic, Finance
Laura Miller, Marketing
Ben Taylor, Management

Final Deliverable

Each team demonstrated what marketing strategy, what client interaction event, what technology (types of lighting) yielded the best outcome of energy conservation for clients in the Bloomington/Normal area.
Specific student learning outcomes from this project were as follows:

  • building communication skills with team members from other disciplines,
  • developing research and analytical skills,
  • developing project management skills,
  • building selling and persuasion skills with local area businesses, and
  • developing a financial analysis template that clients could use to help assess the return on investment of a lighting retrofit.

Field Experience