Small-business owners in Pennsylvania hoping to prevent pollution and save money by improving energy efficiency are now eligible to apply for a Small Business Advantage Grant through the Department of Environmental Protection.

Businesses can apply for 50 percent matching grants of up to $7,500 to adopt or acquire energy-efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes.

"This program provides small-business owners with the opportunity to invest in an energy efficiency or pollution prevention project beneficial for their own specific business," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "Energy efficiency projects cut costs, increase profitability and protect our environment."

Applicants must be a for-profit corporation, LLC, partnership, sole proprietorship or other legal entity with 100 or fewer full-time employees. The grant-supported project must be located within a Pennsylvania facility owned by the applicant and must save the business at least 25 percent, plus $1,000 annually in energy- or pollution-related expenses.

Applicants may be manufacturers, retailers, service providers, mining operators or agricultural businesses. Eligible projects include HVAC and boiler upgrades, high-efficiency lighting, solvent recovery systems, waste recycling systems and auxiliary power units deployed as anti-idling technology for trucks.

The application deadline is Aug. 29. Eligible applications will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are exhausted.

The application package, including guidance, instructions and application form, is available at www.depweb.state.pa.us [1], keyword: Small Business Advantage, or by calling (717) 772-8909.

Applications must be mailed or hand-delivered to the Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Energy and Technology Deployment, Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., P.O. Box 8772, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8772, Attn: Small Business Advantage. Faxes and electronic submissions will not be accepted.

Anyone with questions or concerns regarding project eligibility should contact the Office of Energy and Technology Deployment, Small Business Ombudsman's Office, at (717) 772-8909 or epadvantagegrant@pa.gov [2] before submitting an application.