Incentive programming is typically made available by federal or provincial governments, utilities or associations, either for retrofit or in some circumstances, new construction of premises.
A consistent factor when pursuing incentive program funding options is to have a full understanding on how you use all energy and water – annually, seasonally and daily within your premises. You would want to be able to view and record utility bills, utility interval meters and site sub-metering if it is available.
With the data, establish your organizational baseline for energy usage, which will assist in determining your current status and identify where you want to go in the future.
Incentive programs vary significantly between commodity and the provider. They can help you identify possible areas of energy improvement and/or help pay for any capital, if the new technology is proven to be more energy efficient than your current equipment. Energy efficiency incentive programs help to identify possible opportunities in the following areas:
- Education & Awareness
- Energy awareness workshops
- Formalize employee/ owner operator training on specific items
- Account representatives visits
- Trade papers and magazines
- Web sites or mail outs
- Energy monitoring
- Energy assessments/audits from an identified third party expert
- Incentives for
- Retrofitting existing equipment
- New construction
It is essential to meet with your account rep (for all fuels & water) at least once a year to review your operation and energy usage. During the meeting it is important to discuss future plans over the next one to three years and how any changes could impact your energy usage. This will give them an idea on how your business is changing which could impact the services they offer, including utility rate options while keeping you appraised of possible incentives and technologies you might consider moving forward.
Keep in mind, most utilities require prior notification of any changes in your operation if you wish to apply and receive approval for incentive programs
Do your homework
Energy efficiency incentive programs require the customer and stakeholders to do their due diligence. It requires the customer to follow a specific process in filling out an application and in obtaining approvals. This is one more reason to speak to your account representative or energy management organization so they can help you expedite the paper work process and you can maximize their assistance and resources.
We encourage customers to follow this process but also make sure the effort required to obtain the incentive does not delay or negate the a large payback by pursuing energy efficiency on your own
Look at the total impact on all energy costs when you pursue energy efficiency on one particular energy source. For example if you focus on natural gas and reducing its costs through particular energy efficiencies, what impact if any, will it have on your electrical costs? Another item to factor in is to ensure you have a full understanding of current and future energy costs. The forecasted costs and the signed energy contracts you are responsible for may be impacted when you implement energy efficiency projects.
There are several elements that come into play when considering energy efficiency improvements and obtaining incentives to assist with them. It is imperative you have plan in place to execute and make it as simple and straightforward as you can.
Lisa Brodeur is Quality Assurance Supervisor with 360 Energy in Burlington, Ont.
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