Your boiler breaks down, and it’ll cost more in repairs over the next few years than to just replace it. But, boilers are expensive. What’s a facility manager to do? The answer comes in the form of a little research (and a free facility asset replacement cheat sheet we made for you).
Local energy conservation initiatives are a great way for building owners to save money when it comes time to purchase new assets or fixtures. In fact, most states have at least one state-led initiative that offers resources and financial support to businesses looking at sustainable facility options, and they can include grants, rebates, tax exemptions and/or energy metering.
As a facility manager, you could save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars by taking part in one of these programs. To get you started, we found answers to some of the most common questions that get asked about these programs.
How do I get money to replace large facility assets?
You can normally save money through a local program if you fill out the necessary paperwork. For instance, if you’re trying to replace a boiler in the state of Wisconsin, you’ll want to:
1. Identify which type of boiler you’d want to purchase: Most times, the boiler you’re replacing was purchased years ago when they were too large and over-designed for the facility. This means when you purchase a new boiler, you’ll save money since it’s more energy efficient and the load isn’t too large for the facility. When you’re choosing a unit, also consider the facility’s future needs. Will there be an addition to the building? Will space uses be changing? These are both situations that will impact your end purchase, and documenting all of these factors is important to telling your facility’s story.
2. Submit a proposal to your supervisor: You’ll want to document the cost difference between the ENERGY STAR boiler and the inefficient version, plus an estimate of your energy bills with both units. You’ll notice the more efficient one will cost less in energy use, so even though it’s more costly upfront, it’ll balance out. This might also be the best time to connect with your chief finance officer so they can help manage the contract process.
3. Submit your paperwork to the program
4. Work with a program administrator to confirm the installation: This isn’t always required, but every once in a while an administrator will follow up to make sure you spent the money you requested as directed.
How much money will going green save me?
Replacing equipment and fixtures with these incentive programs is only the start to your savings. The energy efficient versions will save you money with a reduced energy bill, and you also won't have to pay for future repairs on old, half-broken units. Plus, it’ll be easier to find parts for and repair newer units in the future, since more people will be familiar with them and the manufacturer will have better care and service documentation.
Can I get money for swapping out non-capital assets, such as light bulbs?
Yes. Energy efficiency incentive programs normally offer rebates or discounts for green alternatives for everything from exit signs to light bulbs and fixtures.
How do I get information about initiatives in my state?
You can visit DSIRE, which is a great roundup of policies and programs. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and was founded by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center. Most states have more than 50 programs listed, which means lots of opportunities to save some green by going green!
What is ENERGY STAR?
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary program the EPA created to help buyers find energy efficient options. Any product with this stamp of approval has been certified by the EPA that the product meets its energy standards.
Who is making money off energy-saving programs?
The companies who manufacture and sell energy-efficient items obviously make money, but, otherwise there aren’t any organizations we could find. The Scientific American actually did an article about this, and the only culprits they found were the eager investors who were able to get their toe in the market early.
Why is the government funding these programs?
The energy crisis in the 1970s was a “game changer” for the United States’ approach to energy supplies. Between the newly recognized political and economic issues, along with pollution and waste associated with energy, the federal government created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This agency has led to the creation of several environmental protection acts, which led to funding programs. Of course, all government programs are funded with taxpayer dollars, so you might as well take advantage of what you’re helping to pay for.
Is there a list of common assets and fixtures that are usually covered in these programs?
Yes! In fact, we made you a free cheat sheet you can use to audit any equipment purchases you may need to make and what state programs commonly fund. This isn’t to say that everything on this checklist is covered, but these are the assets that are most likely to fall into energy saving guidelines.