The Advisor

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Energy Efficiency and Cost-Saving Strategies

By Ashley Smith, Fundamental Inc.


The original question from my first article last September was: “How will you and your business be affected by carbon pricing and the projected increases in electricity rates? Why is now a prudent and appropriate time to be evaluating your business and home energy consumption?” At that time, the Provincial Plan for carbon pricing and climate change action was yet to be released.


At present, we have a much clearer picture of how the Province is handling climate change. The Made-in-Newfoundland and Labrador Carbon Pricing Plan has been in effect since January 1, 2019, and the Province has now launched its Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund programs.


In reality, the strategies for energy efficiency remain constant. The physical properties of insulation are not swayed by political rhetoric! It is a simple fact: if you reduce your energy consumption, then you will save money. However, optimizing your cost savings is, more often than not, a function of available funding programs.


My previous article, from the March issue of The Advisor, recommended a strategy for calculating your energy consumption and conducting a high-level review of your risks and opportunities around energy efficiency and cost savings. If you’re interested in reducing energy consumption in your business or your home and in realizing cost savings – here is some helpful information:


Cost-Saving Strategies (from energy efficiency)


WAYS TO GET STARTED

  • Make an employee suggestion board with a carbon/energy focus – engage with your biggest resource and tap into all their knowledge of lived experience with equipment and daily operations.

  • Create a carbon/energy reduction contest – the biggest reducer gets a prize.

  • Collaborate with peers, suppliers, or industry organizations (Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Organization – NEIA – is very helpful).

  • Engage a consultant.

  • Google your questions and see what others have done.

HEATING

  • Arrange a thermal scan of your building (can be done locally for a very reasonable cost).

  • Conduct a building controls review.

  • Lower thermostat in low use or low occupancy spaces.

  • Promote behaviour change – have a sweater day.

ELECTRICAL

  • Lighting – upgrade fixtures, install occupancy sensors.

  • Energy management – study peak shaving, reduce phantom power losses.

  • Building upgrades – check insulation, windows, and window films; address air tightness.

  • Renewable energy – install solar panels or small-scale wind.

FLEET

  • Natural Resources Canada driving training – currently free online.

  • Increase tire pressure.

  • Optimize driving – plan your route and don’t idle unnecessarily.

  • Maintain vehicle regularly.

  • Plan for a hybrid or electric car for your next purchase.

WATER

  • Install low-flow fixtures and toilets.

  • Check insulation on pipes and tanks.

  • Recover waste heat (e.g., the Power-Pipe).

  • Consider tankless hot water heaters.

  • Consider hybrid solar panels (electric and thermal).


If you’re looking for available funding to help offset the cost of undertaking an energy initiative, here is some helpful information:


BUSINESS/INDUSTRY

RESIDENTIAL



Ashley Smith, Fundamental Inc.

Fundamental Inc. provides consulting and design services related to energy efficiency, carbon emissions, and renewable energy. We are based in Newfoundland and Labrador and work with all sectors, including commercial, municipal, institutional, and residential. We help our clients understand and effectively exploit cost savings from energy efficiency measures and renewable energy options. Owner and director Ashley Smith, BSc, MEng, LEED AP, has 16 years’ experience in strategic planning, construction management, green building, and sustainability consulting.