Developing an Energy-Efficiency Strategy

By Doug Yon, P.E.  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Identifying Energy Rebates Delivers Bottom-Line BenefitsPt. 2: Energy Efficiency Incentives and Rebates Require Time InvestmentPt. 3: This Page

One strategy to evaluate or prioritize potential rebates begins with reviewing available rebates that might apply to a facility. Based on a cursory evaluation, managers should be able to identify those programs that are likely targeted for the facility.

Another approach is to assess both the immediate and anticipated near-term needs of the facility and review available programs that best meet these needs.

Managers might want to review rebate programs as a part of an energy audit, which can be part of a customized rebate. A Level I or a Level II audit based on American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Engineers (ASHRAE) guidelines should provide enough guidance to identify programs that can provide the best bang for the buck. A Level I audit focuses on a facility's low-hanging fruit, while the Level II audit is more comprehensive.

Managers can customize an energy audit's scope so its results can help develop a business case for the anticipated investment. This business case should include an estimated payback and an expected return on investment, and it should address potential internal conflicts of interest. The inclusion of a utility rebate or incentive in business-case calculations will improve the payback and return on investment, and it will increase the likelihood of securing the funds needed to finance the retrofit.

State, local, and federal incentives and policies also promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. These programs typically provide tax incentives. Manufacturers of some energy-efficient products also offer rebates. A good place to start investigating the available rebates for a facility is the DSIRE website. For more information on the site, see the accompanying article on this page.

Utility-sponsored rebates and incentives continue to be plentiful, targeting many energy-saving opportunities for facilities. Maintenance and engineering managers should look to their utility providers and familiarize themselves with the available programs to ensure they make the most of these opportunities for energy-efficiency savings.

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  posted on 7/2/2012   Article Use Policy

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