When considering any project at a facility, whether it is an addition to the building or adding or replacing equipment, does energy efficiency come to mind? If not, the most cost effective and biggest impacts are lost. Including energy efficient equipment/construction in a project may add cost up front, but it can pay for itself very quickly. And after those initial costs are paid back, the savings continue to pile up.
Reputable commercial and industrial energy efficiency program portfolios offer a suite of services to make planning and decision making easy, at low or no cost. Examples include audits and feasibility studies, retro-commissioning, and strategic energy management. Engage with these programs in time to incorporate findings into project designs. Typically, start a year before the design/bidding process begins.
A day late and a dollar short…
Keep in mind that utility energy efficiency programs are designed to help customers make the decision to choose efficient options over inefficient options; they are not intended to fund studies when the project ship has already set sail. Custom efficiency programs require early involvement in order to qualify for any of the incentives. The reasons are two-fold. First, the goal is to help make projects as efficient as they can be, which is much easier to do with early involvement. Second, achieving the first objective makes it much clearer that the program did its job and had a major impact on the project for the customer. If the decision was already made without knowing about any incentives, those incentives weren’t really necessary to make the project happen.
What’s a person to do?
Most commercial and industrial customers have an account manager that assists with delivery of electric/gas service, or there is a resource phone number you can call to obtain the same service. In addition to the day to day service delivery, these utility resources also deal with energy efficiency programs and they are available to direct customers to the appropriate program. Customers need to get account managers involved as early as possible to take advantage of any, and all, programs available. Captain Time at the helm of the ship of opportunity sailing out to sea will not turn around for latecomers.
 And I mean “may”. Many times energy management planning actually costs less! Simple example: over lighting.