Recently the Memphis and Shelby County mayors brought attention to an issue that will have deep and lasting impact on our community’s businesses and residents — the ways we use, and overuse, energy in the workplace. This issue affects our wallets and our health alike, yet it receives virtually no attention in our daily lives. The benefits of projects aimed at improving energy efficiency in private-sector and nonprofit workplaces are often overlooked, as they are in large part designed not to be seen.

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, along with Pathway Lending, last month inaugurated the Mayors’ Energy Challenge, which simplifies the process for those looking to access the tools and resources needed to identify, finance and implement energy-efficiency and renewable-energy projects. Through the joint city-county Office of Sustainability and several other partners, businesses and nonprofits can now apply for low-interest loans to finance projects such as the retrofitting of lighting or heating and air-conditioning systems.