Maryland Businesses Can Save Energy and Money
When looking to reduce operating costs, business owners don’t need to look far. The answer is right in the building. Energy typically represents about 30 percent of a commercial building’s costs and is the largest operating expense for many businesses. With those numbers, business owners can’t afford not to take a hard look at reducing energy use to improve their bottom lines. Since 2009, Baltimore Gas and Electric’s Smart Energy Savers Program has been helping Maryland businesses take advantage of financial incentives and technical assistance to increase energy efficiency and cut costs.
“The BGE Smart Energy Savers Program offers expert advice and turnkey solutions to help businesses save energy and money – whether it’s a small shop or a large commercial, industrial or institutional facility,” says Bill Wolf, BGE’s manager of commercial and industrial energy efficiency programs. “We’ve helped thousands of Maryland businesses – from retailers and healthcare providers to industrial facilities and nonprofit organizations.” MacKenzie Management, a commercial real estate operator in Lutherville, helped a client uncover major savings by participating in BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program. A participating service provider performed BGE Building.
Tune-ups for MacKenzie’s client at five office buildings, identifying relatively low-cost operational and maintenance improvements to save energy and money. “We normally don’t have the luxury of hiring a mechanical engineer to look into every nuance of a building,” says Kevin Kimmel, senior property manager at MacKenzie. “The incentives enabled us to hire a specialist and make sure the systems were running correctly.”
MacKenzie implemented the recommended energy efficiency upgrades, which qualified for $150,000 in incentives and saved more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually. Plus, the financial savings – to the tune of $182,000 a year – paid back the project costs in just four months.
A Baltimore landmark, the National Aquarium, also worked with BGE to make a big splash with its savings. The aquarium wanted to improve its facilities for the 1.3 million yearly visitors and the 20,000 animal occupants. With the help of the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program, the aquarium received over $200,000 in incentives to complete 15 energy efficiency projects.
“The aquarium’s resources are always constrained, so it is important to be careful with the time and money we have,” says Jacqueline Bershad, vice president of capital planning and facilities at the National Aquarium. “It’s smart business to take advantage of any opportunity to use our resources more efficiently.” To date, the upgrades are helping the aquarium save $253,000 annually in energy costs, while supporting excellence in animal care.
Public sector energy customers are also taking advantage of BGE’s energy efficiency programs. For Harford County Public Schools, upgrading multiple buildings added up to greater savings. With the help of BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program, Harford County Public Schools completed upgrades to improve energy efficiency in 42 schools – a step that cut energy use by more than four million kilowatt-hours and saved an estimated $443,000 annually in energy costs. In addition, the lighting and HVAC system upgrades created a much better learning environment. The school system can now redirect the savings in operating costs to fund student programs.
“For businesses planning to retrofit or replace old equipment, start a new construction project or launch a major renovation, the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program can help build energy efficiency into any purchase or project,” explains BGE’s Wolf. Incentives are available for a variety of measures, including lighting and controls, heating and cooling system upgrades, variable frequency drives, commercial kitchen and refrigeration equipment and custom projects.
Under the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program, BGE offers a suite of solutions that can help any type of business maximize energy efficiency and reduce costs.
Small Business Energy Solutions
BGE helps small business owners and small nonprofit organizations manage energy costs and maintain a competitive edge. These organizations can get up to 80 percent savings through financial incentives on energy-efficient upgrades. Turnkey installation services make the replacement of existing, inefficient lighting, electric hot water measures and refrigeration controls simple and affordable.
Energy Solutions for Business
BGE offers technical assistance and incentives to help pay for prescriptive measures, such as standard upgrades to lighting or appliances, as well as custom measures that are unique to a particular business. Financial incentives can cover up to 50 percent of the total cost for retrofit projects and up to 75 percent of the incremental cost for new construction projects.
Building Tune-up is the process of monitoring, troubleshooting and adjusting electrical, mechanical and control systems in existing buildings to optimize energy performance. These services help to ensure that equipment and systems are integrated so that they perform together effectively and efficiently to meet current operating requirements. Building Tune-up benefits include the extension of equipment service life, reduced maintenance costs and improved occupant comfort. Plus, businesses can receive financial incentives for implementing relatively low-cost operational and maintenance improvements.
Combined Heat and Power
This program offers up to $2.5 million in financial incentives to offset installation costs for qualifying combined heat and power (CHP) projects. CHP is a clean and efficient approach to generating power and heat from a single fuel source. Typically, these systems are located close to a building, campus or industrial plant and provide at least a portion of the facility’s electrical load. Benefits include improved efficiency, lower energy costs and increased power reliability and security. CHP systems are well suited for energy-intensive, industrial and commercial facilities, such as manufacturing plants, hospitals and college campuses.
Instant Lighting Discounts
BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program offers instant discounts on qualifying energy-efficient lighting. With improved lighting, businesses can lower energy use, save money and increase employee and customer satisfaction. Instant discounts are available right at the register from participating local distributors.
The BGE Smart Energy Savers Program supports the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act, a statewide initiative to reduce per capita energy consumption and demand. “Businesses that invest in energy efficiency are helping to reduce the demand for energy, which ultimately helps improve the environment through reduced greenhouse gas emissions,” says Wolf. “We’re extremely proud to work with many diverse businesses, both large and small, to identify potential energy-saving projects and encourage them to take advantage of our great program incentives.”
For more information on the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program, visit BGESmartEnergy.com/business or call 877-685-7377. I95