Energy makeover contest gets "thrilling" response

This summer, one lucky business in B.C. will get an "energy makeover" worth up to $35,000, helping it improve its energy efficiency and inspire others along the way.

It's the Energy Fix contest. And the competition is stiff.

"I'm really thrilled with the response we've had, overwhelmed in fact," says BC Hydro's Janis Tong, creator of the Energy Fix contest.

This is the first time businesses have been able to nominate themselves to win the Energy Fix makeover – three finalists are then selected and the public votes to determine a winner. Tong wasn't sure what type of response there would be from B.C.'s small and medium-sized business sector.

"I know small business people are very busy, so I was worried we might not get very many entries, that people wouldn't take the time to fill out the entry form," she says.

In fact, by the entry closing date of April 29, a whopping total of 140 entries were received.

"The entries come from all sorts of sectors – non-profit groups, restaurant, retail, office buildings, some small hotels and lodges, even a dentist," says Tong. "Plus, they've come in from all over the province, which is great."

Best of all, the entries clearly show that B.C.'s business owners are getting the message about the benefits of energy conservation – and they want a piece of the action.

"In their entries, when they explain why they want to do a upgrade, they're talking about the comfort of occupants in their space, making a better environment for their customers, a desire to show their leadership, and so on," says Tong. "It's not just about the cost savings; they know the other benefits as well.

"It's clear that many smaller businesses in B.C. care about conservation and want to make a difference."

Place your vote! Voting starts May 16

The 140 entries will be narrowed down internally by BC Hydro, with the final pick of three finalists done by Lisa Coltart, the Executive Director of Power Smart, and Monk Office CEO James McKenzie, who is a Power Smart Community Leader.

From there, it's up to you: members of the public will decide, by online vote, who will be this year's Energy Fix makeover star.

Voting starts May 16. Make sure you visit the Energy Fix site and place your vote! The entry with the most votes will be the focus of an expert upgrade done over the summer, and the subject of three online videos that will help share the makeover experience with others.

This fall, the public will be invited to view the videos and answer energy efficiency questions for a chance to be entered in a prize draw, similar to last year's contest.

"Obviously, business in B.C. knows about energy efficiency," says Tong, reflecting on the popular response to the contest so far. "Sometimes they don't have the funds to do improvements, or they don't know where to start, but the motivation is there: they want to be more green, and they want to save energy. It's great."