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Six ways energy efficiency pays off for businesses

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Waste reduction. Green branding. Carbon taxes. Regardless of your focus, sustainability makes good business sense.

Toss in the availability of significant financial incentives, and there's even more to gain. If your business hasn't looked into BC Hydro rebates, you may be missing out on financial support for energy-efficient upgrades, and on the chance to trim electrcity costs each month.

Still not convinced?

Norco Bicycles cut $4,000 per year from its electricity bills after upgrading lighting at its Port Coquitlam headquarters, qualifying for Power Smart incentives of $13,000.

A lighting retrofit in a residential building parkade is saving $30,000 per year.

And a Vancouver grocery is saving $11,000 per year through upgraded lighting, refrigeration, and ventilation systems.

In many cases, incentives can reduce payback periods to less than three years.

In addition to cutting down on electricity bills, getting strategic about your energy costs improves your bottom line in other ways as well. Check out the list below.

Six reasons energy efficiency pays

1. Control against cost increases
Too often, energy is treated as a fixed cost. So not only do businesses overlook energy efficiency as a way to improve the bottom line; it they'e also not strategic when it comes to anticipating future rate increases.

"We may not know what future rates will be, but we can be certain they will rise over time," says Daren Sanders, senior manager in BC Hydro's Finance group. "So a company that controls its use of energy mitigates the impact of future increases."

2. Buffer against downturns
"Controlling input costs is always good," says Sanders. "But it particularly helps you stabilize in bad times because a wider profit margin helps you weather the storm if you have to drop prices, sales are slow, or other costs arise.

"If you control your costs and your competitors don't, it's more likely you'll be the one to prosper."

3. Incentives reduce the cost of end-of-life equipment replacements
"When you've got old equipment that needs to be changed out, aim for a higher energy efficiency replacement," says Sanders. "Whether you're replacing a dishwasher or lighting, technology has usually improved such that you can opt for significantly better energy efficiency when you upgrade.

"Often it pays to buy a more expensive product that's more energy efficient, because the incremental investment will pay itself back. And Power Smart incentives may cover much of the upgrade cost."

4. Reduce maintenance time and cost
In many situations, energy efficient technologies reduce maintenance costs. Energy efficient lights, for example, can last up to 10 times as long as old fashioned types - that means less time spent on ladders, replacing bulbs.

5. Low-risk investment
"Investing in energy efficiency is a very low-risk investment," says Sanders. "With simple math you can determine the energy saving advantage of a more efficient piece of equipment over another. That's a solid number; you don't have to consider whether things like sales volumes or exchange rates will affect your return."

6. Intangibles
In addition to direct financial benefits, energy efficiency projects can be leveraged to improve goodwill, by meeting customers' environmental concerns and improving your employees' working environment. These can contribute to productivity, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.

Ready to start saving?

BC Hydro’s Product Incentive Program (PIP) offers rebates for small and medium sized businesses to replace old inefficient technologies with new energy efficient products.

To learn more visit www.bchydro.com/incentives or call 604 522 4713 (Lower Mainland) or toll free at 1 866 522 4713 elsewhere in B.C.