Energy audit can save you money
Soren Pasca wants to save your business money.
Sitting in the meeting room at the Prince George Chamber of Commerce, Pasca laughs as he talks about how some business owners have trouble with that idea.
“Some of them figure I must be selling something,” says Pasca, who is a business energy advisor with the LiveSmart BC Smart Energy program. He works out of the chamber office downtown.
“My main responsibility is providing free energy audits for small businesses who are BC Hydro clients.”
To qualify under the program, he adds, a business must be spending less than $50,000 a year on electricity.
“After I do the audit, I prepare a report for the client, showing them where they can save energy, either by changing practices or by updating or changing equipment.”
He says some of the suggestions he makes are simple ones, which would require little in the way of expense.
“I might suggest more insulation on some windows and doors, or making sure lights are turned off when a room isn’t in use.”
He has done about 85 audits so far, and more than 20 of them went through a retrofit to update equipment.
“One of the big reasons I suggest retrofitting is that BC HYdro has a Project Incentive Program which can pay back a lot of the costs involved.”
If an audit shows a retrofit would result in savings, Pasca can help with the next part of the process as well.
“I will go over the eligibility details with them to make sure they will qualify for the incentives. I can provide them with a list of contractors in the area who can do the work that might need to be done. I don’t steer them in any direction.
“How they decide to implement the suggestions is up to them.”
That could mean, for example, changing fluorescent or incandescent lights for LCD lights, he says, as a first step. Then, possibly a year down the road, some of the larger ideas can be invested in.
“When I go through the audit, I can make suggestions about how much they can save with different options,” Pasca says. “I have all the numbers right there, so they can get an idea on what the payback time would be for the work they do.”
Direct savings on energy, such as changing the type of lightbulb used, is easy to understand, he says, but major jobs sometimes aren’t.
“Boilers and stuff like that are more complicated. The savings are more difficult to figure because there are so many more variables.”
Pasca covers a territory which runs from Mackenzie in the north to 100 Mile House in the south, and from Valemount and McBride in the east to Vanderhoof and Fort St. James in the west.
“A lot of times, especially in the smaller communities, I’ll do an audit for one business and then, a few months later, I’ll get calls from five or six other businesses there who see how much the other person is saving.”
With some of the incentives covering up to the full cost of the retrofitting, Pasca says clients need to remember one thing.
“It’s not enough to purchase the product, you have to install it. BC Hydro sometimes does an audit of its own to make sure the product was installed.”
Pasca says a lot of large groups have energy advisers of their own, but he sees his role as different.
“I work for the businesses. They are my clients. My role is to be a facilitator for them in saving money on their energy bills.”
Pasca can be reached at the Chamber office at 250-562-2454, or you can register for an audit online at www.bchydro.com.