Authors: Nick Brown & Chantal Sylvestre
In our last post, we began exploring the energy efficiency programs being rolled out by Energy Efficiency Alberta and how you can take advantage of their rebates. Here are more steps building owners and managers can take towards energy efficiency in your lighting.
The best way to start is by switching out incandescent and halogen lights for more efficient options. Common base lamp swaps are the easiest especially in areas where light levels are adequate and the goal is more toward energy savings than changing light levels. Also, auxiliary areas that do not get a lot of use can serve as a good test area to gauge new lighting technology options as it will have a lower capital cost and minimal impact on occupants. Another easy approach is behaviour change. If a light doesn’t need to be on all the time, ensure that there is a system that enforces turning lights off when areas are not in use. This can be a simple sign or a monthly tenant engagement meeting where actionable efficiency behaviours are discussed and acted upon. Changes such as these help decrease a building’s overall energy use intensity (EUI), which is a building’s overall energy use as a function of its size.
The next step is for building owners to create a policy on energy management, or review their current one. Energy management is not often simple, but it can be as complex as a building wishes to make it. A good place to start for any energy management project is to address the areas with a direct impact on energy consumption, especially those that reflect savings in your electricity bill. The best proactive step that companies can take is to have a dedicated Energy Manager. This is someone who can keep up with changes to energy efficiency and incentives. Across Canada, there are incentives provided for organizations that bring on energy managers. There is also a Certified Energy Manager program that provides training for this position.
Building Owners in Alberta can consider getting the BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) building certification, through which they can find a benchmark for similar buildings, and from there, know where their building is lacking in terms of energy efficiency performance. This certification will only become more relevant as the new program rolls out in Alberta and it comes to the forefront of the conversation.
Energy efficiency also needs be incorporated into capital and budget planning. Some questions you may ask in this planning process might be:
- How much would it cost to undergo a retrofit?
- When would be the best time to do such a project?
- How much would it cost to bring on an Energy Manager?
- Other than the Business, Non-Profit and Institutional Rebate Program, what other incentives can you can take advantage of?
The creation of the Energy Efficiency Alberta agency is an opportunity for people across Alberta to implement energy efficiency changes while being able to take advantage of the financial incentives to do so. Contact us today to see how we can help you get started!