Considering the financial pressures on your business, how much attention can you afford to pay to energy efficiency, sustainability and being environmentally responsible? Currently there is a convergence of new technologies, governmental incentives, energy legislation and public interest focused on energy and being “green.” Customers, shareholders and communities are showing their desire for sustainability and there can be valuable marketing benefits for your company.
Truthfully, in the current business climate you cannot afford NOT to create and execute an energy saving strategy!
Energy efficiency improvements are becoming more common as a growing number of companies offer specific services in lighting, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and other products. Your strategy needs to be comprehensive and encompass all areas in your facilities. A complete facilities audit should include:
- Roof Construction
- Equipment Loads
- Any other areas where natural gas and electricity are used.
With expert calculations and product knowledge, a comprehensive energy efficiency project can reduce your energy costs by more than 25 percent, with paybacks around three years and returns on your investment of 25-30 percent. The company providing the services should guarantee these savings.
Another part of your energy strategy should involve self-generating renewable energy from systems installed in your facilities. Available technologies include wind turbines, solar photovoltaic panels, hydro and proprietary devices like fuel cells and high efficiency generators. Savings from these systems can return their investment between 6 and 15 years, depending on the electrical usage and technology employed.
With self-generation, you can choose to remain connected to the utility grid through a process called “net metering.” There is security in this arrangement, but there are also connections costs. Alternatively, you could install a redundant system and remove yourself from the grid for maximum savings and best returns.
You can purchase these systems directly or conserve your capital resources and enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). A PPA is a multi-year contract under which you would purchase the electricity you need from a third party who owns and pays off the installed equipment. Once the PPA has expired, you may be able to assume ownership of the equipment and produce your own electricity for the life of the equipment, usually another 20 plus years.
With all of these options and benefits available to your business, seize this opportunity to create or refine your energy strategy. You will save significant money while becoming sustainable and green!
Mark Matheny is the business development leader for Thermo Source, LLC, a Sylvan Lake, Michigan based energy company creating client projects in energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy generation. firstname.lastname@example.org
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