Are you new to managing your energy? No problem!

Your electricity and natural gas providers have a wide range of incentives available to help save costs on planning, installing and monitoring your next energy project. From programs available to help with costs of efficient equipment and lights to an engineered revamp of your processes, there are solutions for everyone.

Even simple upgrades, such as lighting or energy controls, can go a long way.

According to Sean Perry, Account Manager at Niagara Peninsular Energy Inc., reducing the speed of fans or pumps by 20 percent can result in a reduction of 50 percent of energy usage. Improving the control you have over your energy consumption is one of the best recommendations Sean has to offer for businesses of all sizes and organizations starting to improve energy efficiency. Sean suggests that by “installing smart meters or programmable thermostats, even lighting controls, gives you the ability to better manage your energy as you can set workplace temperatures and lighting levels for when rooms are in use or not in use.”

For small businesses, the Small Business Lighting Program offers a free lighting assessment. Participants may qualify for up to $2,000 in incentives. Certain utilities will also offer a Business Refrigeration Program in late 2017. This program will offer incentives to improve the efficiency of refrigeration equipment.

Having greater control goes hand-in-hand with better energy monitoring, which helps businesses identify energy efficiency opportunities such as lowering temperature set-points over weekends.

“A lot of this can seem overwhelming, especially if you don’t have a background in energy management,” Sean explains, “The best way to get started in improving your energy efficiency is to give your local utility provider a call. Even if you are unfamiliar with the available programs, and which one would be the best for you, they can help you understand your opportunities for energy efficiency.”

Your local utility can suggest improvements to save energy and, where applicable, identify three possible vendors that can provide you with a quote for the project equipment and installation.

Getting a quote from a vendor will identify the project costs and available incentives, as well as an estimate of the resulting energy savings. A quote will not commit you to a project and there are no obligations with project applications.

As part of Ontario’s current Conservation First Framework, the incentive programs available until at least 2020.

Through the Know Your Power initiative, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce committed to helping Ontario businesses understand the steps involved in participating in energy programs and realizing the benefits of improved energy efficiency, including lowering costs.