Small companies get a helping hand to go green
Goldstream News Gazette, September 20, 2011
The lights in Gillian Carrigan’s office used to be twice as bright as they needed to be.
A free energy assessment by the non-profit City Green Solutions recommended the simple, no-cost solution of removing half the florescent tubes from ceiling lighting panels.
It was an easy adjustment for Carrigan and her colleagues at Boulevard Transportation Group in Langford.
“It feels better in here with less florescent light,” said Carrigan, general manager and environmental consultant for the transportation planning company. “It’s the type of thing you don’t realize is a problem until it’s not there anymore.”
As an added benefit, the company also reduced its energy bill — which is what City Green is out to help other small and medium sized businesses do through a provincially-funded program that subsidizes the full cost of energy assessments to private companies that spend less than $50,000 per year on electricity.
“It’s been a rough couple years for business, and this is a way they can save some money,” said Peter Sundberg, executive director of City Green Solutions. “Typically every office space has something that can change to be more energy efficient.”
The assessment, which takes about an hour, will look at lighting, heating, hot water use and refrigeration. Where retrofits are recommended, an assessment report will include information for government subsidies that will help offset the cost, and give an estimate for the payback period.
If, for example, Boulevard wanted to replace its 32 watt lighting tubes with 25 watt tubes, its assessment said the provincial government would cover a third of the cost and the project would pay for itself through energy savings in less than four years.
The report also gives a list of approved distributers for the products it suggests and, if needed, contractors to install them.
“We try to make it as easy as possible for the business,” Sundberg said.
Since the program launched in June, City Green has assessed 24 businesses in Greater Victoria, and it aims to have 150 done by March 2012.
For more information, see www.citygreen.ca
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