Cleveland, Tenn., incubator to grow environmental businesses

photo John Tworkowski checks the consistency of the insulation foam before it is applied inside the bay to be used by AirTight SprayFoam of TN LLC at the new Cleveland/Bradley Business Incubator building at Cleveland State in Cleveland, Tenn. AirTight SprayFoam is donating the insulation for its own bay in the new building for more energy efficiency. From left, Darrell Scroggins, of AirTight, Cindy Tworkowski, business owner Scott Wright and incubator director Hurley Buff.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- By the end of September a $600,000 building devoted to green-business entrepreneurs will be ready for clients here.

While the building is being offered to new companies with environmentally friendly ideas, that doesn't mean tenants have to be working on something cutting-edge or new, said Hurley Buff, executive director of the Cleveland/Bradley Business Incubator.

As an example, he said, a dry cleaner with a better way to treat cleaning solutions could be a tenant.

Scott Wright waited three years to bring his AirTight SprayFoam of TN LLC to the new building on the north side of the Cleveland State Community College campus.

"Scott's been waiting so long I would be remiss if I didn't offer him a lease immediately," Buff said. But he will be offering the remaining bays to other entrepreneurs soon, he said.

"Spray-foam insulation is extremely important for energy conservation, because when you spray-foam an entire building you reduce your power consumption about 50 percent," Wright said. "You also downsize your heating and air system by 50 percent."

AirTight SprayFoam is donating work and material to make its own bay more energy efficient, Wright said.

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He also has reserved another bay for his newest business, EnergyWright Homes LLC.

"We are hoping there will be energy-efficient businesses in the building soon and we can all work together," Wright said.

That's how it's been at the existing business incubator building on the south side of the campus, Buff said.

Cleveland State will occupy one of the eight new bays, Buff said. The college space will be used as a conservation laboratory.

A USDA Rural Development grant is the biggest portion of the funding for the building. Additional funds came from Cleveland and Bradley County. The Appalachian Regional Commission also awarded another federal grant, administered through TVA, and a small grant came from the U.S. Department of Education.

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