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Get a Business Energy Advisor and get over the energy-efficiency hump

Biminis Business Energy Advisors
Barb Whyte, Manager at Bimini's Beer and Wine Store and Adrian Pettyfer, LiveSmart BC Business Energy Advisor standing in front a cooler with new LED lighting. Bimini's also upgraded to energy-efficient overhead lighting, LED exit signs and installed occupancy sensors.

Big news for small businesses! The Province of B.C.'s LiveSmart BC: Small Business Program has renewed their free Business Energy Advisor (BEA) service until March 31, 2014. BEAs provide energy-use assessments, identify cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency, and assist with making upgrades and cashing in on incentives.

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 a free human resource, LiveSmart is helping boost businesses over the energy-efficiency hump.

"BEAs provide a unique and valuable service," says Brooke McMurchy, a program coordinator for small business energy efficiency with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas. "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."

LiveSmart advisors will focus on energy-efficiency implementation

LiveSmart offered the BEA service before, as part of their Small Business Program, and the service was so impactful, they have earmarked $1.6 million to continue it.

BEAs provide assistance in all kinds of ways, from offering advice, helping prioritize upgrades, researching applicable incentives, and even working with contractors to manage the installation of equipment. "We're placing even more emphasis on providing help to guide businesses through implementing upgrades where feasible," says McMurchy

More businesses eligible for energy-efficiency program

As before, the program requires that businesses are for-profit and have a commercial electrical account, but the criteria have broadened to include medium-sized businesses.

The first time around, BEAs were only available to B.C. businesses that spent less than $50,000 per year on electricity. Now, B.C. businesses that have spent less than $200,000 on electricity in the past twelve months are eligible. "This change is based on feedback from the BEAs," says McMurchy. "They suggested that medium-sized businesses would benefit from the program as well, and though in many cases they have completed the 'quick and easy' upgrades already, they often have capital to invest in further energy-efficiency measures, as long as they have support to do so."

Energy advisors available province-wide

"An eligible business anywhere in the province can access BEA service," says McMurchy. 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 website includes a Business Energy Advisor map with contact information for each advisor across B.C.

Advisors make the difference in cost-effective upgrades

"We went on a tour last summer to check on businesses that had been through the program, to see if they found it valuable," says McMurchy. "We talked with a variety of businesses, and those that had made upgrades said they wouldn't have been able to do it without their BEA. They didn't have time, money or know-how to make the upgrades in a cost-effective manner."

McMurchy says the most common upgrades are in lighting. "That's something a small business has control over, even if they're renting." Other common upgrades include replacing restaurant kitchen equipment with ENERGY STARĀ® models; installing energy-efficient pre-rinse spray valves, which save on water and hot water use; and boiler or hot water heater upgrades.

Learn more about the program: