Capitalize on the Billions Available in Energy Rebates

There are billions of dollars in rebates available to facilities from utilities across the United States, according to a whitepaper by Ecova.

Skyscraper with dollar signEcova should know quite a bit about rebates as it is an energy and sustainability management company, whose goal is to help clients save resources.

As explained in the paper, there appears to be a growing interest in utility-sponsored rebate programs. Using rebate programs AND energy management, a facility can offset rising energy costs. And that’s important, considering that electricity is expected to increase by at least 4% in 2014 and gas prices may rise by about 10%.

Most energy rebate programs offer businesses cash rebates in exchange for making energy-efficient decisions when it comes to construction, equipment/facilities or IT operations.

Some state mandates encourage utilities to offer such rebates, but it’s just as beneficial to the utilities as it’s more cost-effective to offer rebates over building new power plants to meet increased demands.

Here are the four most common types of rebates offered by utilities:

  1. Prescriptive Energy Rebates: Prescriptive rebates are for upgrading existing energy-consuming equipment. Some of these are available only during certain times, which usually coincides with the utility’s budget cycle. So if the rebate funds run out, they are gone until the budget is renewed the next year.
  2. Custom Energy Rebates: Custom energy rebates are usually initiated by a business when it undertakes an energy-efficiency project. The business negotiates with the utility by proving to the utility that its project will save energy. This type of rebate typically requires a lot of research and initiative on behalf of both the business and the utility.
  3. Energy Efficiency Rebates for New Construction: Energy rebates are available to businesses undergoing construction. Some utilities offer rebates for retrofits, but many only apply to new buildings. Facility management should include the utility in the process early on to ensure it takes advantage of as many rebate opportunities as possible.
  4. Data Center Energy Rebates: Information technology businesses can take advantage of rebates catering specifically to data centers. It’s estimated that most data centers are spending as much on energy costs as they are in hardware infrastructure, according to Gartner Inc., an information technology research firm. Additional data by McKinsey & Company shows that only 6% to 12% of the electricity used in data centers is for processing data. The other 88% to 94% of electricity that’s used is just keeping the servers idling in cool rooms in case there’s a server crash or surge in activity. To address the issue of wasted energy in data centers, utilities now offer rebates to companies if they make improvements such as increasing server virtualization, optimizing airflow, better power management and lighting improvements.

The rebate process can involve following detailed instructions and forms, but the reward can be worth it. As a facility organization considers projects for new construction, equipment investments or retrofits, they should seek out any rebates that could be appropriate for their projects.

Facilities should consult the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency and the U.S. Department of Energy for information on rebates available across the country.

Read the complete Ecova whitepaper.

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One comment

  • Good to know this! Thanks for sharing!

    May 22, 2014

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