NCAT’s 70 employees help Montanans save on electric bills

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), a private nonprofit headquartered in Butte, Mont., promotes sustainable agriculture and energy across the country. NCAT runs programs that help agricultural, commercial, industrial, and residential energy consumers conserve energy and save money. Established in 1976 to help low-income Americans become less reliant on expensive, unsustainable energy sources, NCAT’s current staff of 70 oversees about 80 regional and national projects building energy efficient communities.

For the past six years NorthWestern Energy, Montana’s major investor-owned utility, has contracted with NCAT under its Energy Efficiency Plus (E+) Business Partners program to help the utility’s customers implement energy-saving projects. The utility compensates NCAT in direct proportion to the savings each project realizes, so no dollars are wasted. Through this partnership, energy customers earn incentives and rebates under the utility’s Demand Side Management initiative.

NCAT provides marketing, training, and technical assistance in support of NorthWestern Energy’s E+ New Homes Program, which improves energy code compliance in Montana. The utility, in turn, helps fund NCAT’s Energy Corps program, which teaches low-income and underserved Montanans how to be more energy efficient, and assists them with home weatherization.

NCAT’s energy-saving efforts extend across Big Sky country and beyond. In alliance with the federal Corporation for National and Community Service, NCAT spreads the message and know-how of sustainable energy in Montana, Arkansas, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Texas. NCAT is certified to provide home energy ratings and issue state certification for Montana’s Northwest Energy Star Homes program. NCAT also regularly conducts workshops for farmers, teaching best irrigation practices, renewable energy development, and energy efficiency.

— Environmental Entrepreneurs