New Environmental Leaders of America (NELA), a Fontana-based nonprofit opportunity organization, has announced the launch of the Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Initiative (SPPI), which provides free energy efficiency audits and upgrade recommendations to small businesses in the Inland Empire.

The goal of the project, which is funded in part by an Environmental Champions Grant from Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), is to identify energy solutions and other measures that reduce pollution and carbon footprint and recommend sustainable manufacturing and business practices that will help businesses thrive in the 21st Century.

"SoCalGas is a strong proponent of reducing carbon emissions and helping California meet its ambitious climate goals," said Trisha Muse, community relations director at SoCalGas. "We are proud to support NELA's Sustainability and Pollution Prevention Initiative and help small businesses reduce their impact on the environment."

Businesses that participate in the SPPI project can expect to receive: 1) recommendations for cost-effective equipment replacements and/or retrofits; 2) water reduction measures that conserve this natural resource and save money; and/or 3) reduction in air pollution and associated costs.

Businesses interested in receiving a free audit under the SPPI can submit interest inquires to NELA. Businesses selected must meet the Small Business Administration's size standard qualifications pursuant to 13 CFR Part 121. In addition to meeting the definition of a small business, the entity must meet the following criteria:

1. Be a customer of SoCalGas and have annual natural gas usage of at least 40,000 therms per year;

2. Have a willingness to participate in the program, implement solutions, and agree to disclose results and outcomes upon completion;

3. Be located in an underserved community within the Inland Empire area in the counties of San Bernardino, Riverside or Los Angeles;

4. Have annual emissions less than four tons per year of either Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or Nitrogen Oxides (NOx).

For more information, visit www.nela501c3.org.

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