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Energy Efficiency... Water

In Canada, the usage of water is taken for granted by most.  Saving water in commercial operations can be a challenge.  The first challenge is overcome by recognizing that saving water is plausible. 
Water prices are going up.  Around the world, water is quickly being recognized as a finite resource that we must now manage with the highest amount of regard.

Water is prevalent in restaurants and hotels; cleaning, cooking, consumption.  Savings can be achieved but remember it is an accumulative saving that will make the difference in the water bill each month.

Low flow shower heads, dual flush toilets and education will result in reduced water costs.  In the old days of the hotels business, we would put brinks in all of the guest room toilets.  Sounds like a good plan.

Incentives and Grants

  • Green Eats
  • Ontario Power Authority (OPA)- The Ontario Power Authority supports and administrates the grant programs throughout Ontario.
  • Enbridge Gas -Enbridge Gas and Union Gas have excellent incentive programs for large facilities/large users.  For most of these programs, annual gas costs should be in the $250K or greater annually.  The incentives are for large projects.  For example, the gas company will pay for 50% of the cost of a steam audit, which typically costs in excess of $10,000.  For example, an annual spend of $500K on gas is reduced by $50,000 a year as a result of the incentivized $5,000 audit.  Well worth the investment!
  • Building Owners and Managers Association - Conservation and Demand Management - (BOMA CDM) - Building Owners Managers Association or BOMA, has been running a grant program dedicated to buildings in the 416 area code, or “M’ postal code.  The program is Conservation Demand Management or CDM, focused at reducing electricity demand during regular business hours.
  • Natural Resources Canada - (NRCan) - NRCan audits are generally for major projects.  A significant amount of time is required to measure the energy load of the planned retrofit or build.  All of the costs associated with this stage are not grantable and if the grant is not approved, the costs and efforts were for naught.  However, in many instances, NRCan grants can be very easily obtained if planned for.  They require measurement in advance as well as approval before spending a penny on the actual project.  For example, lighting retrofits can be incentivized by NRCan but only larger projects make financial sense due to the engineering costs related to the NRCan grant application process.
  • Region of Peel Water Incentives -  "Water Smart Peel"  aims to increase awareness and understanding about water efficiency and conservation.

Employer Incentive/Guest Incentive Programs

Today, getting everyone who uses a building involved becomes a critical aspect to energy savings projects and conversation programs.  It would benefit a business operator to incentivize ideas or actions taken by employees that result in tangible energy savings.  Education and information sharing will allow the employees to understand why energy savings and conservation are important endeavours that the company is undertaking.

Why not develop a program surrounding the guests?  Get their feedback and input.  Their ideas make it a lot easier to figure out how to make guests happier.  And happy guests mean return guests.  Design a green reward for the guest with the best idea that saved energy or helped the environment.  This will build some loyalty for the future. 

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