The world runs on energy. Whether driving your car to work, using electricity to heat/cool your office, or manufacturing products, people consume energy. Even pumping water to the faucet in your office consumes electricity! In the last century, we have become increasingly dependent upon energy, specifically fossil-fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas. Unfortunately, use of fossil fuels to produce energy has not been without serious environmental effects. It is now common knowledge that as fossil-fuels are burned to produce electricity, pollutants are released into the atmosphere. Moreover, maintaining adequate supply of non-renewable energy sources over the long term is a concern, while the monetary cost for these non-renewables continues to increase.
The residential and commercial building sectors are the largest consumers of energy in the U.S, accounting for 40% of U.S. primary energy consumption (with the industrial and transportation sectors following). In Orange, the commercial sector accounted for 68% of energy consumption in the City, with residential at 28%. Energy applied to cooling and heating buildings is the largest component of building energy consumption, with operation of lights, electronics and water heaters also contributing substantially. Lowering your daily demand for energy will reduce the amount of energy generated from fossil-fuels, reducing the amount of pollution that your business produces. So, save energy, go green, and save some money on your electricity bill too! Some of the best ideas won’t cost you a penny! Check out our energy efficiency tips, rebates and tax incentives that can help!
Stay cool! – Keep your window shades drawn during the day. It helps insulate your building and regulates indoor temperatures. You could also apply window film or tinting to minimize the heat gain.
Breathe easier…plant a tree – Planting shade trees around a building (especially along the southern, sun-facing wall) can improve aesthetics while buffering it from the heat. Trees can save you from running your air conditioning in the summer. Trees also add an element of character and market value to a property. If you don’t have room for trees consider mechanical shade devices, awnings or shade structures, which may also add to your property's visual appeal and market value.
Let it blow! – We are blessed with a moderate climate in southern California. Open windows and use fans instead of air-conditioning whenever possible. Install ceiling fans for a decorative alternative.
Insulate your wallet! – Make some energy efficient upgrades to your building! If you're a tenant, talk to the building owner. Sealing cracks, replacing windows and upgrading or adding insulation to your attic and walls adds up in the long run. Insulating the attic (with R-30 or higher) and walls (with R-13 or higher) are often affordable, do-it-yourself cost-saving measures. Little things like replacing your door seal or caulking around outlets will reduce drafts in winter and heat gain in summer. Finally, replacing inefficient windows with newer, low-e models will help regulate a comfortable year-round temperature, while saving 15% of your total energy bill. Take advantage of all of the tax credits and incentives out there to help the bottom line!
True insulating is a whole building project. You’ll see dramatic differences in results between making a couple of changes versus insulating the whole building.
Cool technology – Today’s green movement has produced a number of sustainable products. Cool materials for roof tile, shingles, metal siding, pavers, and paint are among the most exciting advancements. So, spruce-up your building and stay cool in the summer. If it's a big-ticket item, take advantage of the tax breaks and other incentives to help out with the upgrades!
Solar safety! – Install solar-powered, motion-sensing or photosensitive porch, walkway, and entry lighting for building safety and access.
Radiant ideas! – Installing durable radiant barriers (aluminum foil backing) to roof rafters and roof decking can greatly reduce heat gain. According to the Florida Solar Energy Center, a radiant barrier can cut energy costs in hot climates by as much as 8 to 12% per year.
Ahhh!!! Sunny California! – With so much sun, what can you do? In fact, there are a number of commercial solar solutions. Solar attic fans are a simple solution for cooling smaller buildings. Solar water heaters or panels (cheaper than Photovoltaic) can also be applied to commercial buildings and save big! Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels may be a great way maximize use of your rooftop and power your building. Moreover, any excess energy produced can be sold back to Southern California Edison! PV can be expensive, so insure your facilities manager or building owner does their homework. It is always a good idea to read-up on the subject, use a certified installer to identify your business needs, ask a lot of questions and get at least three quotes. Check out our rebates, tax credits and incentives for going solar!
When evaluating the cost-benefit of PV, remember actuating (moving) solar panels, which follow the sun, will maximize return. Fixed panels may not save you money in the long run.
Off-to-Market! – When shopping for appliances and electronics, always look for the energy efficient models. Most major brands offer a selection. More importantly, they often pay for themselves without sacrificing quality, features or the environment. Check our rebates for help! According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average U.S. home spends about $1,900 on energy costs each year. Energy Star products can save consumers at least $80 per year. Recent trends in the cost of power may further add to your savings.
Off-to-Market – When acquiring new electronics, appliances and equipment, always look for the energy efficient models. Most major brands offer a selection. More importantly, they often pay for themselves without sacrificing quality, features or the environment. Check our rebates for help!
Energy efficient models can be identified by the Energy Star Symbol.
Maintenance is Key! – Perform routine maintenance on all electronic devices, including (but not limited to) filter or vent cleaning/replacement and dusting. Excess dust and debris can lead to inefficient machine function, unnecessary building heat gain, and reduced lifespan of the equipment. Even if your equipment runs well, you may be losing unnecessary energy. For example, clean your employee kitchen refrigerator coils at least once every six months to increase its efficiency. Always leave room from the wall when putting it back in place. If the doors have trouble sealing, try cleaning the doorjamb, or replace it if it’s time. It’s easy to overlook the small things, so insist your staff use a maintenance schedule and consult all equipment user manuals to ensure employee safety and product warranties are met.
Use it or lose it ($) – If possible, turn computers off when not in use (consult your IT department for options). Take the opportunity to replace old outdated computers with new energy efficient models.
CFLs are considered a hazardous waste due to trace amounts of mercury in the bulbs. When replacing used CFLs and other equipment, follow hazardous disposal requirements. Go to Orange’s Waste Reduction page for more information.
Flip the switch – Remind your employees to turn off unused lights, or better yet, install occupancy sensors. Switch to compact florescent lighting (CFLs). CFLs use 75% less energy than a standard incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times longer.
Hot ideas for your water heater! – Turn the thermostat down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius). Building owners should insulate hot water pipes, and use a water heater blanket. When you replace your old water heater, look into on-demand energy efficient water heaters. Our rebates can help?
Did you know?_
Did you know a few thousand square foot office space could prevent 500 pounds of CO2 emissions a year just by adjusting the thermostat 2° lower in the winter and 2° higher in the summer? Turn the switch and make a difference.
Using industrial equipment? – Look into replacing your equipment with energy efficient types. Our rebates can help!
Electricity in Orange is supplied by Southern California Edison (SCE), and your business may be eligible for SCE rebates! SCE has the most successful portfolio of energy efficiency and demand response programs in California. They also have a long list of credits, rebates and other incentives, which have saved more than 4 billion kilowatts hours (kWh) over the last five years. For the most up to date information on energy incentives and rebates, visit Southern California Edison’s Rebates and Savings for Business. We've provided a quick summary below to get you started.
Starting July 1, 2009, the City of Orange is offering "priority" permit processing for eligible "green upgrades". In many cases, this will mean over-the-counter building permits! Visit our "What is the City Doing to Help?” page to find out more.
Some energy efficient upgrades like solar panels, upgraded water heaters, electrical and HVAC upgrades require City building permits.
While reviewing your rebate options and considering energy saving upgrades for your project, visit the Orange’s Energy Efficiency Services (EES) Portal. Launched in 2010, this program offers energy savings calculators to help you measure the actual energy efficiency improvement from old equipment to new, so you know the true value of your purchase. Once your project is complete, you can assist future Energy-Savers by completing a voluntary survey. Your information will assist Orange in tracking City-wide savings. Thanks for making a difference!
SCE offers rebates! SCE business customers can apply for rebates on the purchase and installation of qualifying equipment that improve the energy efficiency of their businesses. These rebates solutions are convienently broken down by business type (catagory, size, or basic use - heating, lighting, etc), such as retail, healthcare, food processing, or buildings. Start with their Business Energy Guide. The most broadly applicable incentives are highlighted here.
Getting started? SCE offers Advisory Service and Management Solutions designed to provide SCE's small/medium sized business customers with FREE assistance to assess their energy usage and energy cost, and available cash incentives. Assessment reports include tips on:
Lowering your energy use by increasing your energy efficiency;
Improving the comfort of your customers and employees; and
Improving the maintenance, safety and security of your operation.
Rebates for System Upgrades SCE's Standard Performance Contract Program (SPC program) offers financial incentives to offset the capital cost of installing new high efficiency equipment or systems. Project examples may include common retrofits like lighting, HVAC and refrigeration upgrades, or more specialized process improvements and customized equipment replacements. Retrofit or new equipment installations are eligible.
Are you Flexible? There are a number of Demand Response Programs that offer utility bill credits for allowing interrupted service during peak use periods. Find-out which one of these programs works best for your business.
Got Central Air Conditioning? SCE's summer discount plan is one of our favorite Demand Response Programs. Enroll and receive a credit on your electricity bill between June and September. Credits are based on the tonnage of your central air conditioner and the plan you choose.
Large Commercial or Institutional Building Owner? Apply for SCE's Retrocommissing Program (RCx)! RCx typically saves owners 5 - 20% of total building energy costs typically from controls changes alone. Under this program, SCE will provide an in-depth investigation that identifies specific O&M improvements to HVAC mechanical equipment, lighting, refrigeration, and related controls, monetary incentives for implementing measures, training for building operators in maintaining improved building operations and utilizing updated system documentation, and a pre- and post-project energy benchmark to help you see your performance improvements.
Note: You must be a SCE customer paying the California public goods charge on your utility bill. And you must own or operate a building that has at least 100,000 square feet of conditioned space, a direct digital control (DDC) system in place, and central plant mechanical equipment in relatively good condition. SCE determine whether your building is a good candidate for this program based on factors including building size, annual energy consumption, and age and condition of building equipment.