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How to Plan and Pay for Business Energy Efficiency Upgrades

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Vermont businesses are cutting overhead, improving the value of their facilities, and creating better environments for customers and staff through cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades to equipment and buildings. Thanks to services from Efficiency Vermont and creative financing from local lenders like VSECU, business operators are making energy saving upgrades that can result in a positive cash flow, a solid return-on-investment, and savings for years to come.

At the end of this post, you’ll see how you can get help with identifying and paying for the most beneficial upgrades for your business. But first, here’s some information on three areas where many businesses are finding opportunities to cut energy use. These are among numerous approaches that increase the energy efficiency of existing and new buildings.


Improve Profits with More Efficient Lighting

Lighting is often one of the first energy efficiency upgrades businesses take on because remarkable savings can be achieved at a relatively low cost and with minimal disruption. High-performance T8 fluorescent tube lighting, for example, is up to 50% more efficient than T12s and 20% more efficient than standard T8s. They last up to 50% longer and give truer light. While these lights fit in most T12 fixtures, the biggest savings come when used with a low-power ballast. Businesses are also finding great energy savings by installing LEDs in a range of interior and outdoor applications. Look for the ENERGY STAR® label to ensure that you’ll have top-quality LEDs that run cool, last long, and use less energy than halogens, fluorescents and incandescents.

In addition to saving money, lighting upgrades can improve employee productivity by providing higher quality illumination. Better lighting can also boost sales for shop owners by creating brighter and more appealing displays. Another benefit, which can be significant for larger businesses that power hundreds of light fixtures, is the reduction in time spent changing lighting, owing to how much longer efficient lighting lasts.


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Heat, Ventilate, Air Condition, and Save

Cut energy costs, and improve comfort and air quality with efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Whether replacing or improving your current equipment, optimize your savings by incorporating controls that delivers ideal temperatures and air flow both during and after your operating hours. Also, be sure to adhere to a maintenance schedule to keep your systems running efficiently over time.


Keep Your Cool with Refrigeration Upgrades

If your business relies on refrigeration, you may cut your related energy costs by as much as 50% with upgrades. Upgrading does not necessarily mean buying new equipment. Energy-saving improvements include covers that contain the cool air in your display cases overnight or curtains that prevent air from escaping your walk-in freezer every time the door is opened. You could also save by replacing an old motor or installing compressor controls. When it’s time to replace, look for ENERGY STAR refrigerators, ice makers, and freezers.


Pay Less with Smarter Financing

Energy efficiency upgrades do not have to increase your monthly bill payments. In fact, they can create positive cash flow for your business. With a low-interest loan, your upgrade’s energy savings may cover your loan payments. These loans enable you to spread the balance over a longer term.

Many businesses keep track of their annual savings so that they can reinvest the money in additional energy efficiency projects, thus multiplying the return on their investment over time. With each upgrade, they save more money and improve their work environment.


Before You Upgrade, Talk to the Experts

Efficiency Vermont can help you identify the energy efficiency upgrades that will benefit your business and offer the greatest return on your investment. You can also turn to Efficiency Vermont to learn about available financial incentives and to find local providers of efficient equipment and services. Start here or call Efficiency Vermont toll-free at (888) 921-5990.

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About Mark Kelley

Mark Kelley is an Efficiency Vermont Account Manager working to help small and mid-sized businesses and non-profits throughout central and northern Vermont reduce energy usage and improve their buildings and operations.
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