Energy Efficiency Upgrades Help Maryland Businesses Cut Costs
When looking to reduce operating costs, business owners don’t need to look far. The answer’s 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, the Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) Smart Energy Savers Program® has been helping Maryland businesses take advantage of financial incentives and technical assistance to increase energy efficiency and cut costs.
“Businesses of all sizes are saving energy and money with the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program,” says Bill Wolf, BGE’s manager of commercial and industrial energy efficiency programs. “With expert advice and turnkey solutions, we’ve helped thousands of businesses improve their bottom lines – from small shops and retailers 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. Thanks to program incentives, a participating service provider performed BGE Building Tune-ups at five office buildings, identifying relatively low-cost operational and maintenance improvements to save MacKenzie’s client 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, MacKenzie’s senior property manager. “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. To date, the client has saved more than 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually. That translates to $182,000 a year, which paid back the project costs in just four months.
The National Aquarium in Baltimore also splashed into savings by working with BGE. The aquarium wanted to improve its facilities for the 1.3 million annual visitors and the 20,000 creatures it houses. Through
the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program, the aquarium accessed more than $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 have helped the National Aquarium save $253,000 annually in energy costs, while supporting excellence in animal care.
Word about BGE’s incentives quickly spread around the Inner Harbor. A short walk from the aquarium at the 32-story Baltimore Marriott Waterfront, a green team already had been established to check into opportunities to increase energy efficiency. Nick Novella, the hotel’s director of engineering, says he was charged with looking for ways to reduce energy use and cut costs. When he heard about BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program at a business council meeting, he says it was time to act.
“I knew it would be smart for us to take advantage of the BGE incentives to make these upgrades,” says Novella. “Saving on energy helps your bottom line. It’d be foolish not to do it.”
Since participating in BGE’s program, the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront has saved 1,745,004 kilowatt-hours a year – or $101,210 annually.
According to BGE’s Wolf, the program makes it easy for businesses to quickly see real energy and cost savings, no matter what the scope of their projects might be.
“The program really is for everyone – from businesses planning to retrofit or replace old equipment to those looking to 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 Wolf.
The BGE Smart Energy Savers Program supports the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act, a statewide initiative to reduce per capita energy consumption and demand.
BGE incentives are available for a variety of energy efficiency measures, including lighting and controls, heating and cooling system upgrades, variable frequency drives, commercial kitchen and refrigeration equipment, and custom projects.
“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 to identify potential energy-saving projects and encourage them to take advantage of our great program incentives.”
BGE’s Smart Energy Savers Program offers a suite of solutions that can help any type of business maximize energy efficiency and reduce costs.
Small Business Energy Solutions
Small business owners and small nonprofit organizations can take advantage of savings of up to 80 percent on upgrades to energy-efficient lighting and refrigeration controls to help them manage energy costs and maintain a competitive edge. Turnkey installation services and a fast return on investment make these retrofit projects simple and affordable.
Energy Solutions for Business
Commercial and industrial facilities of all types and sizes can access 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 their specific facilities. 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.
The Building Tune-up Program focuses on 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 they perform together effectively and efficiently to meet current operating requirements. Benefits include extended equipment service life, reduced maintenance costs and improved occupant comfort. Plus, businesses can receive financial incentives to cover up to 75 percent of the service costs.
Combined Heat and Power
Energy-intensive, industrial and commercial facilities – such as manufacturing plants, hospitals and college campuses – can receive financial incentives up to $2.5 million 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 reduced emissions.
Instant Lighting Discounts
Instant discounts are available on qualifying energy-efficient lighting. With improved lighting, businesses can lower energy use, save money and increase employee and customer satisfaction. Participating local distributors offer instant discounts right at the register.
Building Operation Training
Building engineers, maintenance workers and facility coordinators with two or more years of experience can receive a financial incentive to cover 80 percent of enrollment costs for approved building operation and maintenance training courses. Building Operation Training can help professionals improve energy efficiency knowledge and implement changes to create comfortable, environmentally friendly workspaces.
I95 Content Marketing
For more information, visit BGESmartEnergy.com/business or call 877-685-7377