This post was originally posted on Business Energy on August 3, 2015.
When it comes to efficiency upgrades at commercial, industrial, and institutional properties, we all know that costs can hold companies back.
Dan Parsley, COO and President of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (EES) Consulting, would like to clear up some misconceptions and so he shared this Q&A with us. He calls this: The Five Most Costly Energy Efficiency Myths You Need to Bust Right Now.
“Every month, business owners leave money on the table while they puzzle over the big energy efficiency questions—which solutions, why now, and who will pick up the tab?”
1. Energy efficiency rebates have been around for years. I have time to make upgrades later.
Dan: “In reality, many energy efficiency rebates are based on government programs—and like all government programs, they can be reduced or eliminated at any time. Shifting priorities, budgetary constraints or a struggling economy can all cause longstanding rebates and incentives to be yanked out from under businesses that have foolishly left them on the back burner.
States around the country, including Ohio and Indiana, passed bills in 2014 that completely eliminated most of the states’ energy efficiency rebates. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, FirstEnergy abolished most of its Ohio energy efficiency programs at the end of 2014—less than two weeks after a bill imposing a two-year freeze on Ohio’s energy efficiency standards became law.”
2. Applying for rebates is too complicated. It’s not worth the effort.
Dan: “Finding and applying for energy efficiency rebates can be overwhelming. Each utility has its own way of calculating and administering the rebates. The easiest way to maximize return on incentives is to consult a professional, such as a full-service energy efficiency firm. There are also free online tools, like the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy, which breaks down all available programs by state and utility.”
3. It’s too expensive to become energy “efficient.”
Dan: “Quite the opposite—it’s too expensive NOT to be energy efficient. A one-time investment in energy efficiency boosts the bottom line by permanently lowering operating costs. According to a University of Illinois study, a business can typically lower its bills by about 30 percent through solutions like lighting, solar film and HVAC efficiencies. Rebates, incentives and low-interest loans help minimize up-front costs and allow businesses to choose solutions based on their needs and budget.”
4. All energy efficiency consultants are basically the same.
Dan: “Most consultants specialize in one or two measures—high efficiency lighting is the most common. However, a full-service consultant has many tools at his or her disposal, including HVAC, refrigeration, controls, window films, white roofs, power factor correction and more. These systems are interrelated. For example, if a customer employs solar-reflective window film or a white roof, they can often get away with a smaller HVAC system.
Far from a one-size-fits-all approach, a consultant should use building science to develop customized solutions for each building’s needs. Proven methods like taking foot-candle measurements in all areas before recommending replacement lights, or using an infrared camera to analyze where heat or air conditioning is being lost, ensure the consultant recommends solutions with high a return on investment.”
5. Energy efficiency is not ready for prime time.
Dan: “Many energy efficiency solutions on the market today have stood the test of time and are becoming the norm for commercial buildings worldwide. Even municipal governments are giving efficiency the green light via programs like the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Act. In areas with PACE legislation—currently 31 states and counting—municipal governments offer long-term loans to fund energy efficiency upgrades, which business owners repay via an annual assessment on their property tax bill.”
Click here to contact EES Consulting and find out how you could save money on energy.