In March of 2017, the city of Scottsbluff announced a grant opportunity for businesses (many of which are Hispanic owned) to improve the exterior of buildings along the East Overland Corridor. Ramon and Elena Pedroza decided this might be an opportunity for their restaurant, El Molcajete, to get a facelift and to make interior improvements. When the city held its outreach meeting in the neighborhood, USDA Rural Development provided information for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The Pedroza’s applied for and were awarded a REAP grant of $3,711 to increase the energy efficiency of their building.
Every year the Pedroza’s struggled to keep the restaurant warm in the winter and cool in the summer. REAP funds were requested to provide additional insulation (under the stucco), and additional ventilation in the kitchen and to upgrade heating and cooling systems. To capitalize on the funding, the Pedroza’s worked with the city of Scottsbluff to provide funding for stucco, the new alcove and windows.
The Pedroza’s worked with the Nebraska Public Power District’s auditor to make the restaurant as energy efficient as possible. The improvements are estimated to save 41,179 kWh or provide 76% savings annually. The Pedroza’s think the outside of the building has helped increase restaurant traffic which means increased sales. The restaurant is much cooler now. They are now anticipating lower bills and a much warmer environment this winter.