All this talk about energy efficiency can, to the skeptical ear, sound like so much happy talk. Really, can something as simple as changing lights or adding insulation actually make a meaningful difference in my business’ financial performance?
Well, in a word, yes. Investments big and small can have an outsized impact on the amount you spend on energy.
Take Tigard, Oregon, welder Fought & Company as an example of how utilities and governments help pay substantial portions of big jobs that wind up paying for themselves in very short order. Fought needed new welders and went to the Energy Trust of Oregon, which handles utility incentives, for help. In the end, the firm chose a $175,000 equipment upgrade. Energy Trust paid $105,000 of that, and the project qualifies for a 35% state tax credit on top of that. Energy bill savings of $29,000 a year means the investment has a simple payback of less than 3 years.
For an example of smaller investments that pay big dividends, look at Tool Box Inc. in Great Falls, Montana. The 10,000-square-foot retail store did a $6,000 lighting upgrade, about a third of which was paid for by NorthWestern Energy incentives. The Tool Box will save more than $2,000 a year in electricity costs, paying back its investment inside of two years.
In addition to simple cost savings, energy efficiency investments have been widely documented to increase worker productivity (warmer employees tend to get sick less) and real estate values (efficient buildings are more fully occupied at higher lease rates). Plus, customers appreciate businesses that share common sense values like choosing to cut unnecessary energy waste.
Below are links to Northwest success stories of businesses that invested in energy efficiency and are reaping the rewards in dollars, productivity, comfort and enhanced public image.
From Seattle City Light:
Five Corners Hardware, lighting upgrade, Seattle
Kusak Cut Glass Works, lighting upgrade, Seattle
Nickerson Street Self Storage, lighting upgrade, Seattle
Crown Hill Automotive, lighting upgrade, Seattle
14 Carrot Cafe and Allstate Insurance, lighting upgrades, Seattle
MacPherson Leather Co., lighting upgrade, Seattle
From Avista Utilities:
Spokane Athletic Club, equipment upgrade, Spokane
Spokane Public Facilities District, expansion of facility, Spokane
Quarry Tile, equipment upgrade, Spokane
Doma Coffee Roasting Co, new roasters, Post Falls, ID
Mountain Gear Inc., new building, Spokane
From NorthWestern Energy:
Sun Mountain Lumber, air compressor upgrade, Deer Lodge, MT
Miller Building, six-story office building, Billings, MT
Tool Box Inc., lighting upgrade, Great Falls, MT
Rex’s Food Farm, freezer and lighting upgrade, Choteau, MT
Centennial Ice Arena, lighting upgrade, Billings, MT
Western Security Bank, HVAC upgrade, Billings, MT
Northland Automotive, lighting upgrades, Billings, MT
Boise Cascade warehouse, lighting upgrade, Billings, MT
Big Bear Sports, lighting upgrade, Billings, MT
From Energy Trust of Oregon:
Fought & Company Inc., equipment upgrade, Tigard, OR
Wong Potatoes, equipment upgrade, Klamath Falls, OR
Food processing industry, various solutions in multiple Oregon companies
Sunrise Village Apartments, insulation, Gresham, OR