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LiveSmart BC offers industrial companies free help with energy efficiency

Business Energy Advisor Mary Zuccaro with Konrad Blonski of IDRS Data, Print, Mail
Business Energy Advisor Mary Zuccaro discusses efficient lighting with Konrad Blonski of IDRS Data, Print, Mail.

With the renewal of the Provincial Government's LiveSmart BC: Small Business Program, small and medium-sized industrial companies in B.C. can access free energy efficiency advice until March 31, 2014.

The program requires that businesses are for-profit and have a commercial electrical account. New as of April 1, 2013, companies that have spent up to $200,000 on electricity in the past twelve months are eligible — making the program accessible to a range of B.C.'s industrial businesses.

"So many industrial companies are over-engineered — they have significant opportunities to save on energy costs," says Mary Zuccaro, a LiveSmart BC Business Energy Advisor who spent more than 20 years working in the forest industry sector. "It's so easy to think of electricity as a fixed cost, but it's not. You do have control over how much you spend."

Free advice from a Business Energy Advisor

The central element of the LiveSmart BC: Small Business Program is the Business Energy Advisor (BEA). Throughout the province, 15 BEAs are now available to help companies assess their energy use and assist with making upgrades and cashing in on incentives.

The service is free, and it addresses one of the biggest constraints businesses often face: time.

Many small- and medium-sized businesses don't have the time or people-power to research and implement energy-efficiency changes. And yet those changes can make a big difference to their bottom line. By offering an energy expert, LiveSmart helps boost businesses over the energy-efficiency hump.

Support spans energy assessment to efficiency upgrade

BEAs provide assistance in a variety of ways, based on the needs of the business. To start, they provide a free walk-through energy assessment to identify energy- and money-saving opportunities, such as lighting, compressed air, hot water, heating and ventilation improvements. Business owners can also learn about the low and no-cost options to save money on their energy bills.

Next, they can support a company by researching incentives offered by energy utilities, such as BC Hydro's Self-service Incentive Program for industrial companies. Based on a company's needs and offers available, they can help prioritize which upgrades to pursue.

Finally, BEAs may support a company by working with contractors to manage the installation of equipment. "We take care of the coordination, such as getting equipment installed, plus the administration – dealing with BC Hydro, collecting invoices from suppliers, everything," says Zuccaro. "So many people are just busy running the day-to-day operations; what we bring is a huge help."

"BEAs provide a unique and valuable service," says Brooke McMurchy, a program coordinator for small business energy efficiency programs with the Ministry of Energy and Mines. "The energy utilities already offer incentives. But what doesn't exist elsewhere is a free resource to walk small businesses through the process of energy-efficiency upgrades."

Energy advisors available province-wide

Eligible businesses anywhere in B.C. can access BEA services. The Advisors are divided into coverage regions as follows:

  • Mainland/Southwest
  • Vancouver Island/Coast
  • Thompson-Okanagan
  • Kootenays,
  • Cariboo,
  • North Coast/Nechako, and
  • Northeast.

The LiveSmart small business website includes a Business Energy Advisor map with contact information for each Advisor across B.C.

Learn more about the program