Where We’re At
On average, it’s estimated that 30% of your energy bill goes towards paying for energy that was unnecessarily used. Depending on your business’ monthly energy bill, that thirty percent could equal a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars.
Although Nelson Hydro provides relatively clean electricity to our businesses and residents, the hydro utility can only supply about 50% percent of what our community demand’s, with the other half being purchased by FortisBC.
By taking steps to improve energy efficiency in your business, you can both reap the rewards of cost savings as well as contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions stemming from the generation of electricity here in our backyard.
How Can My Business Become More Energy Efficient?
For Businesses That Own Their Building
When you do an energy-efficiency retrofit on your building, you upgrade its energy-consuming systems. Retrofitting may involve improving or replacing lighting fixtures, ventilation systems or windows and doors, or adding insulation where it makes economic sense. It also means including energy efficiency measures in all your renovation and repair activities.
A thorough retrofit gives you a chance to audit your building’s energy performance. The retrofits you undertake can reduce your building’s operational costs – particularly if it is older – as well as help attract tenants and gain a market edge.
You can use ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager to support your retrofit initiatives. Benchmarking can help you to identify opportunities and to track and monitor investments once implemented, whether for minor, major or deep retrofits.
With minor retrofits, you target “low-hanging fruit” – modifications that are low-cost, easy to implement and that offer good value for the money and effort invested. This could include:
- Sealing with caulking or spray foam
- Adding insulation
- Upgrading lighting systems
Although they are relatively simple, these projects can make a big difference to your building’s energy consumption.
With a major retrofit, you take a more holistic approach. Your retrofit could include:
- Replacing window glazing and doors
- Updating inefficient heating and cooling systems
- Installing low-flow faucets with sensors and automatic shut-offs
- Installing sub-metering
This level of retrofit is still minimally disruptive to your building’s occupants.
With a deep retrofit, you undertake an extensive overhaul of your building’s systems that can save you up to 60% in your energy costs. Deep retrofits can be disruptive to your building’s occupants, so it’s best to time them with tenant turnover or other major changes to your occupancy. Measures may include:
- Significantly reconfiguring the interior
- Replacing the roof
- Adding or rearranging windows for increased daylight
- Replacing the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system with a renewable technology like a ground-source heat pump
Commercial Programs & Incentives:
Fortis Commercial Energy Assessment Program: Your business can receive a free walkthrough energy assessment conducted by an authorized FortisBC consultant. This assessment will identify low- and no-cost energy conservation measures, potential energy efficiency upgrades for you to consider and available rebates from FortisBC.
CleanBC Better Buildings: Better Buildings provides funding and capital incentives to encourage energy efficient design, construction and renovation of commercial buildings. This is a link to an exhaustive list of funding for energy-efficiency retrofits to commercial buildings in the Nelson area.
Residential Programs for Home Owners:
CleanBC Better Homes: Do you own your home? Are you building a new home? Better Homes helps British Columbians find rebates that save energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions. This is a comprehensive list of the rebates available to you as a homeowner in the Nelson area.
Regional Energy Efficiency Program (formerly EcoSave): Residents from the Regional District of Central Kootenay are encouraged to complete EnerGuide home energy evaluations and access energy upgrade support to learn how to lower energy bills. You can access grants up to $5000 and a free EnerGuide evaluation.
Energy-Saving Tips for All Businesses:
- Turn off your monitor when not in use. Your monitor uses up to 75% of the energy used to power your computer.
- Prioritize the purchase of ENERGY STAR equipment and enable the energy efficiency power settings. This will reduce the amount of energy your equipment uses to operate.
- Turn off photocopiers during off-hours. By activating energy-efficient settings on this equipment, and turning them off when it is convenient, you can reduce energy use by 25%.
- Turn off machines and equipment when not in use. You can reduce energy use by turning off your equipment on weekends and during the night when no one is present at your business.
- Unplug chargers when not in use.
- Turn off lights when areas are not in use.
- Switch to LED lighting. You can get rebates to do so and you will save money on your electricity bill throughout the lifetime of the product.
- Regularly clean your air filters. Your HVAC system works hard to keep you comfortable year round, but it has to work even harder if your air filters are not regularly maintained, driving up the cost of running these systems and affecting the air quality in your space.
- If possible, make use of the sun to light areas instead of turning on additional lighting.
- Adjust blinds. To keep the heat generate from the sun out during the summer months and the heat generated by your heating solutions in during the winter.
- Program your thermostat so that you’re not heating or cooling your business when no one is there.
- Monitor your energy usage through the Nelson Hydro online portal. This tool enables you to get a sense of your business’s energy usage at different times throughout the week.
The Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce Business and Climate Advisor Program is presented in partnership with The Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership and supported by Nelson & District Credit Union.
Support local businesses by choosing to shop local and work with Kootenay experts.