Mayor Paul Soglin celebrated Energy Action Month Tuesday by recognizing the success of a city program that works with businesses and homes on energy efficiency projects.

The project, called Green Madison Program, works to help Madison households and businesses put energy-efficient projects in place, according to GMP Grant Administrator Matt Wachter. The initiative awards funding that equals a percentage of the cost of the project, estimated at around $8,000. 

Mayor spokesperson Katie Crawley said Soglin celebrates energy action month to promote the conservation of energy, which she added can lead to the creation of more jobs and job training.

“When you conserve energy, you save money, and there is more energy to go around,” Crawley said. “It’s a win-win.”

Wachter said the initiative has so far collaborated with 34 businesses in the Madison area. More than 550 households have participated or are currently participating in the program.

GMP can lower energy bills between 15 and 70 percent through the projects it promotes, according to Wachter. He cited the program’s implementation of more efficient parking garage lights that have significantly helped businesses across the city.

The program has worked with a wide variety of clients, including community centers, small businesses, large real-estate developers and nonprofits. The program has worked, for example, with Centro Hispano, a nonprofit group aiding children to achieve academic success that received a grant equaling nearly $8,000.

Centro Hispano Executive Director Kenneth Craig said the group became more energy efficient by installing motion sensors in rooms so that lights would not be unnecessarily left on, replacing old style light bulbs and fixtures with ones that were more energy efficient and installing high efficiency lights outside which will also increase visibility.

The implementation will save Centro Hispano about $3,000 a year in energy costs, Craig said.

President Barack Obama’s stimulus package funded the Green Madison Program and other American cities’ green programs, including ones in Milwaukee and Racine, according to Wachter. 

The Green Madison Program received $7.6 million and began in May 2010 and will continue to May 2013.