Green consultations aim to save businesses money and energy

Free assessments are part of the new LiveSmart B.C small business program, a three-year initative that aims to get businesses to be more energy-efficient

Like many small business owners, being energy-efficient wasn’t at the top of the list for Orca Book Publishers owner Andrew Wooldridge.

“There’s always enough to do without thinking about what you could be doing,” Wooldridge said.

But after growing pressure from his staff to be more environmentally-aware, he set up an energy assessment with Matt Greeno, a business energy advisor with City Green, a non-profit group focused on energy efficiency.

The main problem Greeno pointed out was the outdated fluorescent lights in Orca’s two-floor warehouse, which Wooldridge hadn’t worried about because they weren’t turned on all the time.

But Wooldridge’s not intimidated by the prospect of having to replace them.

“I see a real savings for us,” he said.

The free assessments are part of the new LiveSmart B.C small business program, a three-year initative that aims to get businesses to be more energy-efficient.

Capital region business owners with annual hydro bills under $50,000 are eligible to receive a visit from a business energy advisor, who assesses the building’s lighting, heating, hot water and ventilation systems and provides the owners with suggestions on how to save energy and money, as well as make their space more attractive.

The advisors also help owners access the other components of the program, like rebates on energy-saving upgrades and product installation.

City Green is just one of the companies providing the energy consultations.

Greeno agrees with Wooldridge that replacing old fluorescents isn’t a priority for most local businesses.

Many people are only renting their space, and may be part of a strata or multi-lease deal, so the financial responsibility for the energy upgrades often falls on the owner, he said.

But there’s an incentive for both parties.

”The renter wants to make it look better and the owner wants to save money,” he said.

“Their interest is related to the bottom line. They’re concerned about how much they’re spending.”

The program aims to save more than $7 million a year in utility costs, according to Sandra Steilo, communications officer with the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines.

It was developed with input from local businesses, the B.C Restaurant and Food Association and Shelfspace, a community group that represents retailers.

Greeno believes before the small business program, there weren’t many incentives available to persuade the commercial sector to put in retrofits.

Most initiatives focused on homeowners, he said.

The CRD recently ran a similar pilot project called Green Start that offered free assessments for businesses, which City Green was also part of, but the organization’s executive director Peter Sundbert said this initiative is different because it focuses specifically on conserving energy, while Green Start also offered advice on water and waste.

It’s also open to any business that wants to participate, while only 20 were successful applicants to the CRD program.

“In both programs we’re the feet on the street, but with Green Start there was an application process, and with LiveSmart we’re encouraging all businesses to phone us,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scarlet fever reported at Victoria elementary school

Parents advised to look for symptoms of ‘strawberry tongue’ and rash

Saanich dog walkers react to potential review of bylaws allowing off-leash dogs on beaches

Focus should have remained on migratory birds, not on dog behaviour, says Cadboro Bay dog walker

No dogs allowed off-leash at Luxton Fairgrounds in Langford

New sign placed by Metchosin Farmers Institute on Wednesday, Feb. 19

North Saanich’s Deep Cove Market up for sale for almost $1.8 million

Long-time owner Rosemary Scott hopes the public will understand her decision

Council approve temporary storage to extend life of Oak Bay Fire Hall

It’s cute, it’s iconic, but the picturesque Oak Bay Fire Hall is… Continue reading

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read