It’s easy to just assume that your local utility company can produce infinite energy with ease, but this isn’t exactly how it works.
There’s an old saying you are probably familiar with: ‘it takes money to make money.’ and this is certainly applicable to utility companies as the demand for energy continues to rise.
In order to keep up with demands the need for a new power plant can become a serious issue, a move that costs millions upon millions of dollars to build. In these situations it is far cheaper to incentivize customers to use less energy and that is where your business comes in.
As the rates continue to increase along with gas prices the effects of energy efficiency have become that much more important.
So let’s take a look at how you can save money by putting less strain on the grid (and the environment!)
Discovering the Rebates Available in your area
It usually pays to find out exactly what options you have in terms of saving money and energy. Sure it’s a little extra work and amounts vary from company and areas, often proportionally to local demand.
If there aren’t currently any rebates that apply to you or your business that doesn’t mean there won’t be. It may be worth it from time to time to check and find out if your local power company is offering or planning on offering any that might apply to you.
There are usually some common types of rebates that apply to special circumstances that may be just the right fit for your company.
Prescriptive Energy Rebates
Heating, cooling, and ventilation systems are well known to be big consumers of energy. How big? Big enough that there is a specific type of rebate to encourage the upgrade to more energy efficient equipment.
Those seer ratings aren’t just good for the environment -they are good for the checkbook as those monthly cost savings can really add up over time -so a rebate on HVAC equipment is icing on the cake!
It gets tricky when a business is located in different states as such rebates can differ greatly in different areas. As such, that might mean if you own several commercial buildings you may need to closely consider those purchasing decisions rather than just going with the same systems in all buildings.
Thinking about a big remodel, expansion, or even building a new office? You might be able to get the utility company to give you some guidelines that could make you eligible for this type of specific rebate. Typically this type is only for completely new buildings but a large expansion could qualify depending on the utility companies policies. They may consider nearly all aspects of the build such as the materials, lighting, heat sources or cooling sources if applicable (such as server rooms, office layouts, walk in coolers, commercial kitchens, etc) along with the HVAC systems and their efficiency in terms of layout and the systems themselves.
Servers, office equipment, and data centers -oh my!
This one can be more difficult and require more time but could be worth it.
This kind of equipment can use a whole lot of power trying to stay cool while outputting a whole lot of heat into a building that may already be trying to keep itself cool.
Improvements to infrastructure and efficiency can lead to significant savings in energy use and some utility companies recognize this in the form of rebates for things such as airflow efficiency, lighting, cooling, and improving the efficiency of the equipment. Not only can this kind of improvement bring in a nice rebate but save a significant amount of money on monthly electricity bills.
Custom Rebates: Debate the Rebate
Sometimes your local utility company just might not have a rebate that fits your specific situation. That doesn’t mean you aren’t making a big energy efficient improvement that is rebate worthy! A custom rebate, while often requiring more effort can potentially save just as much money -maybe more! As new energy saving innovations become available you might find yourself at the front of a new efficiency trend that simply hasn’t had a rebate program offered yet.
Don’t be afraid to ask and discuss your options or request a custom rebate -chances are they will be willing to work with you if you can demonstrate a significant improvement.
Making a proposal isn’t always easy and will take a lot of effort and research showing calculations of how much energy you can save with your proposed project. Sometimes the utility company may understandably want to verify the effects of the improvements with their own equipment.
That said don’t expect it to happen right away either, these processes can take a while to get approved and even longer to receive that rebate check.
Ok, that’s nice but where do I start?
Here are some resources to help get you started!
Energy incentive programs in illinois:
Illinois Incentives and Energy Efficiency Programs