A new FortisBC initiative is designed to help businesses improve energy efficiency and reduce costs, with rebates offered to upgrade fixtures to LED, which are now more affordable and efficient, and have a quicker return on investment.
“We know operating costs are really important for small and medium sized businesses,” said FortisBC corporate communications advisor Nicole Bogdanovic.
The program, which started this month, is “innovative and community based”, she said, utilizing Fortis-approved local contractors who receive training, support and assessment tools.
“They’re really very important in transforming the marketplace toward energy efficiency,” said Bogdanovic. “This program is really designed to make it their business to help customers save energy.”
And it makes the process easier, too, with the contractors being the ones to fill out rebate forms.
“When I’m liaising with Fortis, we’re speaking the same language, as opposed to somebody who doesn’t know electricity,” said Wynndel Electric owner Aaron Lucke.
The process begins with the contractor touring a commercial location to conduct an energy audit and determine the business’s needs.
At Kokanee Ford, for example, fluorescent tubes have been replaced with LED tubes in most areas. Each $22 tube has a $6 rebate, and they last 35,000 hours — as opposed to 20,000 with fluorescent tubes — paying for themselves in about a year.
“As long as the bulb is compatible, it’s plug and play,” said Lucke.
In Ford’s service bay, where lighting is important to see small detail, the old metal halide lights have been replaced with LEDs fixtures ($390 minus a $90 rebate) that require significantly less maintenance and last 100,000 hours.
Energy-efficient upgrades extend beyond lighting, and include cooking appliances, air conditioners, heat pumps, refrigeration and compressors.
“I think people are surprised there are a lot of products out there to suit their needs,” he said. “It’s really nice to know they can make a positive effect on the environment with an effort to grow greener.”
For Lucke, who has been an electrician for 15 years and ticketed for 10, becoming approved through Fortis has added a new dimension to his work.
“It’s been a great experience to learn all the ins and outs of working with LED lighting,” he said.
Residential customers can also receive rebates on a variety of energy-saving upgrades, which can be found at www.fortisbc.com/Rebates. It’s best for customers to find a contractor who is insured (bonded and liability), licensed through the BC Safety Authority and can offer references.
It’s also important to find one who can help determine the right lighting for a specific space, just like the assessment provided for commercial spaces.
“The light in a kitchen is going to be different than the light in your bedroom or living room,” he said. “That same process can be applied to a shop or showroom or commercial bakery.”
To learn more about upgrades or for contractors to learn how to become Fortis approved, visit www.fortisbc.com/directinstall or call 1-778-945-1373.