Energy Smart Offers Ways for Commercial Businesses to Get Summer Ready | Sponsored: Energy Smart
Summer in New Orleans is officially here. It’s the hottest time of the year, with the local metro area already seeing record high temperatures in May. In fact, a record daily high temperature was set last month, breaking the previous record from 22 years ago. With this kind of extreme heat, energy consumption typically increases during the summer months in New Orleans as businesses and residents try to stay cool.
The onset of summer is a prime time to assess electric usage and implement measures to become more energy efficient. For commercial businesses in particular, energy represents approximately one-third of a commercial building’s operating costs. Implementing energy efficiency upgrades in commercial properties can directly impact the bottom line through reduced operating expenses, and now is a great time for businesses to start investing in energy-saving upgrades. Here’s where Energy Smart comes in.
Earlier this year, Energy Smart implemented a new bonus incentive structure that gives companies more money the earlier they apply to complete energy-saving facility upgrades during 2022. The “step-down bonus” provides different quarterly bonus incentive levels to help business customers make energy efficiency upgrades to their buildings or facilities and is available for new projects submitted and approved during the first three quarters of this year. The bonus incentive rate available now through June 30 is 15% and drops to 5% during the third quarter. These bonus incentives are in addition to the standard cash incentives offered by the program for approved energy efficiency projects and are applied to the overall total project incentive.
“We’re encouraging all commercial customers seeking to make energy-saving upgrades this year to apply now in order to take advantage of the step-down bonus incentive,” said Derek Mills, manager of Entergy New Orleans’ demand-side management programs. “By locking in now, before June 30, you will receive the bonus incentive at the locked-in rate of 15% and have until December 31, 2022, to complete the project.”
Energy Smart’s incentives for commercial businesses are available for equipment upgrades that result in verifiable electric usage reduction, including lighting and lighting controls, high-efficiency chiller replacements, HVAC upgrades, motors and retro-commissioning. Here are some considerations for business owners to keep in mind when thinking about energy efficiency projects:
- LED lighting is crucial. LED light bulbs can last for up to 25,000 hours, which is 15 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. Further, research shows that by switching to LED lighting, commercial building owners can cut their lighting costs by more than 75% over a 25-year period.
- HVAC upgrades bring major benefits. Data from the National Institute of Building Sciences shows the typical payback for high-efficiency commercial HVAC equipment is three to five years. In this timeframe, owners or administrators can experience up to a 30% reduction in annual HVAC-related utility costs. Given nearly half of the energy generated for commercial buildings is used for HVAC and refrigeration, upgrading to high-efficiency HVAC equipment is a logical step in lowering operating costs. HVAC upgrades can also lead to improved comfort and increased air quality in indoor office environments, as well as provide remote operation capabilities.
“If you run a large commercial operation, energy is a major expense,” said Mills. “Energy efficiency projects like HVAC and building automation system upgrades can help lower maintenance costs and operating expenses, among other benefits.”
For commercial customers interested in making HVAC upgrades, Energy Smart provides cash incentives for projects involving new A/C units, heat pumps, chillers, duct sealing, A/C and heat pump tune-ups, and window film. In 2021, Energy Smart awarded commercial customers more than $240,000 in HVAC-specific incentives, and these projects resulted in over 2 million kilowatt-hours saved.
“Don’t delay those projects,” Mills said. “Upgrading your HVAC system will benefit you and your business in many ways. High-efficiency HVAC systems not only help lower bills but also reduce carbon dioxide emissions by saving energy. Now is the time to get your business summer-ready with an HVAC assessment and incentives from Energy Smart, and we encourage commercial customers to talk to an Energy Smart energy advisor before starting any HVAC project.”
Energy Smart is the comprehensive energy efficiency program developed by the New Orleans City Council and administered by Entergy New Orleans. The program provides financial incentives for making energy efficiency upgrades that decrease unnecessary usage and help businesses save money. The program launched in 2010 and is open to all Entergy New Orleans customers. Since the program began, Energy Smart has distributed more than $36 million in cash incentives and allowed customers to save more than 288 million kilowatt-hours.
Commercial businesses interested in learning more or applying should visit EnergySmartNola.com/businesses or complete this form to receive a call from an energy advisor. For more information about Energy Smart, call 504-229-6868.