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News / Life / Clark County Life

Energy Adviser: Savings possible for businesses

By Clark Public Utilities
Published: March 30, 2024, 6:07am

However big or small an organization is, uncontrolled costs can drain budgets and cost leaders the chances to seize on other opportunities. Whether it’s a business, school district, cities, or a nonprofit it makes sense to capitalize on savings opportunities whenever possible.

Often, one of the best and most long-term cost-cutting measures can be found on the energy bill, but knowing exactly where to begin and how to implement those changes can be difficult. That’s why Clark Public Utilities has a team of experts ready to help commercial, industrial and other nonresidential customers identify and eliminate energy waste at their facilities and reduce their energy expenses.

“Cutting energy waste is a win for the customer and a win for the utility,” said Clark Public Utilities Key Accounts Manager Bill Hibbs. “We’re a nonprofit at-cost energy provider, so every kilowatt our customer doesn’t consume is one less they have to pay for and one less we have to produce or procure on the market — that keeps costs down for everyone.”

All commercial accounts can take advantage of a free energy assessment of their facilities. All they have to do is request one from Clark Public Utilities.

During an energy assessment, experts from the utility meet with business owners or facilities managers to review their buildings from bottom to the top, inside and out. They’ll look at the external envelope of the buildings to look for air leaks, inspect the climate control system, and review the lighting system as well as any electric equipment on site. Finally, they’ll highlight their unique conservation opportunities and explain investments that could reduce their energy expenses without sacrificing comfort or performance.

Just as no two organizations are exactly alike, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to energy conservation.

The time and scope of each assessment will largely depend on the size of the organization. A small facility assessment will be similar to that of a residential customer. The utility employee will talk about scheduling the thermostat around business hours, energy efficient lighting, shutting off all electronics at the end of the day and reaching for no-cost ways to stay comfortable.

Larger buildings require a more nuanced approach. That can involve thoroughly examining the HVAC system and its overall performance, reviewing all the electronics as a single system, and lighting that includes fixtures — not just the bulbs. At that point, the discussion shifts to how much can be saved in a year if the customer takes a more systematic approach to the facility’s operations.

In every case, the utility experts will usually discuss financial incentives that may be available to make energy efficiency upgrades more affordable. In some instances, the utility offers flexible incentives for custom projects that meet criteria for projected savings and cost effectiveness. All commercial and industrial customers of Clark Public Utilities are eligible to participate.

Commercial or large customers that want to make a lasting reduction in their energy costs may be able to participate in the utility’s strategic energy management program. It focuses on low-cost and no-cost efficiency opportunities in buildings and provides the tools and education to start saving energy immediately and sustain them over time.

Participants are trained in energy scans, energy management assessments, workshops and coaching calls to understand how their organization uses energy and how to identify energy waste. They also build relationships with a cohort of peers who are all working to increase employee engagement and using customized energy modeling tools.

Customers interested in an on-site energy assessment or the strategic energy management program should contact their key accounts manager. Those who don’t know their key account manager or don’t have one, should contact the Energy Counselor of the Day at 360-992-3355 during business hours. More information about reducing energy waste at home and on the job is available at www.clarkpublicutilities.com.

Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to ecod@clarkpud.com or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.