Energy efficiency is often one of those issues that small business owners would like to do, but with so many other balls to juggle, just never becomes priority. But making changes to the way that your business operates and the types of products you purchase can result in some big savings.
To help you realise some of these savings without taking you away from your day-to-day operations, there are two programs which can help provide energy advisors for your business for free. The first from BC Hydro and the second from LiveSmart BC.
“Typically business owners are very busy and have a lot on the go, so energy efficiency is just one more thing they have to do,” says Peter Sundberg, Executive Director of City Green, a non-profit organization involved in delivering both of the new advisor programs.
“So we have professionals who can go in, take a look around a business, and provide recommendations,” says Sundberg. “All the business owner has to do is make someone available for the amount of time it takes for someone to come and visit – and depending on the size of their operation, that could be as little as 15 minutes.”
Identifying Savings and Providing Support for Incentive Programs
Once an advisor has visited your business they will provide a written report that identifies the best options the business has for reaping savings from energy efficiency. The report can also help to gain support from incentive programs such as BC Hydro’s Product Incentive Program (PIP).
“When I go visit a business, I help identify where they’ll get the best bang for their buck, where the payback is one, two or three years instead of 10,” says Maya Chorobik, a City Green energy-efficiency advisor. “Things like outdated fluorescent tube lighting, incandescent exit signs, or if it’s a kitchen, old freezers. That’s where PIP can really shorten payback.”
Who is Eligible for the Program?
While BC Hydro’s program is only available to small and medium-sized businesses located in the Lower Mainland, LiveSmart BC’s new Small Business Program provides business energy advisors in communities across the province.
Although Hydro and LiveSmart BC’s programs differ slightly, both help business owners over the hump towards better energy efficiency and support them in accessing incentives.
City Green advisors have already visited restaurants, consulting firms, retailers and other types of businesses. The BC Hydro program is also available for non-profits, such as housing organizations and strata councils.
“Not knowing where to start is the biggest hurdle,” says Chorobik. “So that’s one of the biggest things we can offer, as well as being able to understand the incentives.”
“We can help facilitate the upgrade process from beginning to end: show you the numbers, help you prioritize, help you make the decision. We will then follow up with you to help answer any questions or provide advice if you want to learn about different options.”
And the service is free. “Even if you think there aren’t a lot of opportunities for you, or even if you’re not going to do any upgrades right away, you can get the information and plan for them down the line” says Chorobik.
A Measureable Commitment
Says Sundberg, “We’re seeing huge interest among business owners in terms of saving energy, but also in the environmental impact they have. A lot are coming to us now thinking about the environmental benefits of doing these kinds of upgrades and the importance of that for their business.
“They like getting the hard numbers about helping reduce greenhouse gases and saving energy; it’s tangible proof of their commitment. As an organization that tries to get people excited about conservation, it’s been really inspiring to see.”
For More Information
To request a consultation with a BC Hydro Small Business Advisor in the lower mainland, call the BC Hydro Power Smart Business Helpdesk at 1 866 522 4713.
To find a LiveSmart Business Energy Advisor serving your area call LiveSmart at 1 866 430 8765.