Self-serve incentives make efficiency "pretty simple"

Ellett Industries fabricates a variety of high-performance equipment.

When you're a 91-year-old company, you know a thing or two about managing change. So when Ellett Industries — based in Port Coquitlam and founded in 1921 — shifted its production processes, it was time to rethink energy usage too.

"We used to do sand blasting here and we required a large air compressor to do that," says Jason Notley, the buyer at Ellett, a manufacturer of chemical process equipment. "Once we stopped doing that here onsite, our air compressor was oversize for what we needed. We had an energy audit done and found that that was a major drain on our consumption."

Through knowledgeable vendors Notley's team heard about energy efficiency incentives available from BC Hydro through the Self-serve Incentive Program (SIP). The program is available to BC Hydro customers who use more than 500 megawatt-hours of electricity per year (about $20,000). SIP offers an online application process for incentives that cover up to 75% of the cost of an eligible project.

60% incentive = potential 50% savings in electricity

Ellett replaced its 150 hp compressor with a new, 75 hp variable speed compressor. An incentive of $32,000 covered almost 60% of the project cost.

Annual electricity savings are estimated at 165,700 kWh per year, although Ellett is still monitoring results.

"Our compressor was estimated to be roughly 30% of our total consumption, so conceivably cutting that in half should give you about a 15% reduction in bills," says Notley. "It's only been a couple of months, so far, and we're working now to identify what's causing our peak demand charges, so it's been hard to determine what impact it's having on our consumption. But there's no reason to think that it wouldn't."

As for the Self-serve Incentive Program, Notley says the program made access to incentives easy. "It was pretty straightforward what was required once you go online. I didn't have to do much of anything; it was pretty simple.

"If you're in a position to upgrade some of your equipment, and you can get someone else to pay for it, why wouldn't you?"