Three affiliated hospitals in Connecticut have recently qualified for over $3,200,000 of electric and gas utility incentives. The energy efficiency project that achieved these numbers resulted in just a 2-year payback. To get to this point however, those affiliated hospitals needed to understand the complexities of the state’s utility incentive programs to find the most benefit.
Here’s what you need to know about utility incentives in Connecticut:
1 – Energize Connecticut is the program powering utility incentives
Energize Connecticut is the state program for promoting efficiency in residential, commercial and industrial facilities. This program outlines the rules and requirements that utilities follow when providing incentives to customers for implementing efficiency measures (such as the three hospitals mentioned).
Not only can commercial/industrial customers recover the money paid in program charges on their energy bills, they can get much more – it’s not uncommon for incentives to pay for 40-60% of the cost of efficiency projects.
Several groups are responsible for driving the Energize Connecticut program, including:
- Connecticut Energy Efficiency Fund
- Connecticut Green Bank
- The State of Connecticut
- Local electric and gas utilities
2 – Connecticut utility incentives are not one-size-fits-all
You want to take advantage of the Connecticut utility incentives for your business? Great! Unfortunately, there’s not one easy place to get the information needed to figure out your individual utility incentives. Additionally, higher utility incentives can be paid out on custom or comprehensive projects but getting to this point requires so much customization that there’s no one webpage with all the answers.
This is one of the biggest reasons why commercial/industrial businesses need a third-party engineering firm (like Fairbanks Energy Services) to run their efficiency project. Here’s how energy engineering firms qualify projects for utility incentive programs, like Energize Connecticut:
- Interpret the incentive program
- Identify the highest available incentives
- Find and develop projects that qualify for the best incentives
- Navigate the utility qualification process to obtain the incentives
Because this process is beyond most businesses’ capabilities, energy conservation projects that involve utility incentive programs require trained engineers that have worked on hundreds of other projects as well.
3 – Receiving optimum Connecticut utility incentives requires the right efficiency projects
Incentive programs, including Energize Connecticut, give the greatest reward to comprehensive efficiency treatment projects. This type of energy conservation initiative typically includes both lighting and mechanical upgrades and is usually granted higher incentives (more money) from the utility.
At the three affiliated Connecticut hospitals referenced above, a combination of upgrades resulted in over 8,000,000 kWh savings and 200,000 therms of gas savings. The efficiency projects included:
- LED lighting upgrades
- Building Management System (BMS) improvements
- Variable speed drive installations
- Air handling unit retrofit and redesign
The comprehensive approach to this project is what qualified the hospitals for $3,200,000 of electric and gas utility incentives and resulted in a 2-year payback.
Over time, utility incentives have generally increased for this type of more comprehensive efficiency treatment. Simple LED lighting incentives that don’t include controls will continue to diminish in incentive value as LED lighting becomes more “mainstream.” Eventually, simply inserting LED lighting may not be incentivized at all.
Although it can be confusing and difficult to understand how to access the right incentive programs in Connecticut, and particularly how to get the higher and less advertised incentives for comprehensive projects, commercial/industrial businesses aren’t alone.
The best way to find the right efficiency project for your company (and important utility incentive dollars) is to work with a trusted and experienced energy efficiency service firm.