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New business in Cumberland can help you save on energy bills

From MACED

Over 20 years of working in the coal industry, Scott Shoupe watched as jobs vanished from his hometown of Cumberland. With the economic downturn, families and businesses struggled to pay their rising utility bills. At the same time, they were facing increased flooding and infrastructure issues due to years of low investment and environmental degradation.

Shoupe said he knew that the area needed something very different.

He began to get interested in the growing field of energy efficiency and renewable energy. So in 2018, Shoupe, along with John Craft, another former coal miner, enrolled in the New Energy Intern program offered by the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED).

With greater fluctuation in weather, coupled with rising utility rates, eastern Kentuckians are facing electric bills that are higher than ever. Energy efficiency upgrades, renewable energy, and sustainability education help both reduce energy use and stabilize bills in face of these changes. For the past decade, MACED’s energy team has facilitated these energy solutions for eastern Kentucky businesses and organizations. But limited contractor and staff capacity has been a challenge in helping complete energy upgrades like LED lighting or renewable energy installations in a timely manner.

MACED created the internship program, funded by the Appalachian Regional Commission, to build a workforce trained in how to complete assessments on buildings and homes for energy efficiency issues, implement energy efficiency upgrades, and install renewable energy systems. The seven month internship also included training on communications, sales and marketing, and small business startup skills.

As Shoupe approached the end of his internship, with support from MACED’s staff and a MACED small business microloan, he developed his own clean energy services business, New Age Solutions, to serve a wide area of eastern Kentucky. In spring 2020, Shoupe opened a storefront in downtown Cumberland for the business.

As a part of his ongoing partnership with MACED, Shoupe is currently offering free energy audits for small businesses, non-profits, childcare and addiction recovery centers. An audit includes a walk through your building to look at your HVAC, lights, insulation, water heating, and any other areas of concern, as well as a utility bill analysis to look for any errors in billing or additional saving opportunites. After the audit, you will receive a report of recommended upgrades that Shoupe can work with you on if you choose.

For example, Shoupe worked with both Isom IGA in Letcher County and Methodist Mountain Mission, based in Breathitt County, to make important energy upgrades that will save them thousands.

“I think this is the perfect opportunity to be on the ground floor to learn and teach that our economy can rebound and prosper with energy conservation,” Shoupe said.

For more information, please contact Shoupe with New Age Solutions at 1newagesolutions@gmail.com or (606) 733-0721.