The US Department of Energy has awarded $10 million (£6.57m) to help small businesses implement energy efficiency improvements in a bid to save energy and cut bills.
The investment will be matched by at least $14 million (£9.2m) in private sector funding and will be used for six commercial building projects.
This includes schools, churches, small shopping centres and restaurants, all of which are less than 50,000 square feet in size.
The programme builds on President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan announced last month which calls for steps to cut carbon pollution and reduce energy bills for US businesses.
The commercial building sector in the US, of which more than 90% are small buildings, consumes around 20% of the nation’s energy.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said: “Energy efficiency represents a huge opportunity to help the businesses across the country save money by saving energy. As the President made clear in his climate action plan, energy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save businesses’ and communities’ money while curbing harmful emissions.”
According to the Department’s research facilities, small buildings such as fast food restaurants have the potential to cut energy use by up to 45%.