Capperella Success Story
Experiential Learning Opportunity for Penn State Students
Dave Capperella, owner of Capperella Furniture has had a valuable relationship with the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Dave has worked with the consultant from the Penn State SBDC’s Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) regarding energy efficiency issues at his furniture retail store. In 2008, an EMAP consultant met with Dave to discuss energy efficiency recommendations and opportunities for his business to help reduce energy costs, with the main focus on lighting. To help supplement the cost of the recommendations, Dave pursued the Department of Environment Protection (DEP) Small Business Advantage Grant (SBAG). With the help of the EMAP consultant, Dave was able to submit the SBAG application. He was awarded the grant, and launched his energy efficiency lighting project recommended by EMAP.
Outcome: Project cost $18,000: SBAG funds: $7,500: Cost savings $4,473-49,702 kWh – 32.9 tons of greenhouse gases annually ~ 2.3 Return on Investment!
In 2013, once again Dave contacted EMAP for another assessment, this time focusing on his roof and building envelope. The EMAP consultant requested permission to bring Penn State students along during the assessment to provide the students with a firsthand learning experience.
Five honor students from the Penn State EGEE 102: Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection course participated in the energy audit for Dave to help him reduce energy costs through energy reduction while increasing energy efficiency. The primary objectives were to expose the Penn State students to supervised energy research at local small businesses and to help local businesses reduce energy costs. This opportunity gave the students an experiential learning opportunity, real-world applications, and the opportunity to apply the principles they learn in class and put their theories into practice. This project helped to prepare these students to be tomorrow’s sustainable leaders.
Benefits to Capperella Furniture included: reduced energy costs, improving profitability and competitiveness, and helping to stimulate the local economy.