Energy Efficiency Retrofits for Business
Both aging buildings and recently constructed buildings require maintenance. This maintenance fund can be expanded to include simple energy efficient retrofits, such as:
- Energy efficient hand dryers for restrooms to reduce paper waste and custodial time
- Switch to green cleaners and implement green cleaning practices to reduce chemical disposal costs. The State of illinois enacted legislation to require schools to use green cleaners. Reviewing some of their practices and proceedures may help a business determine their own best practices. More information is available at Healthy Schools Campaign.
- Lighting upgrades, such as T-12 to T-8 fluorescent lights, using LED and compact fluorescents where appropriate
- Instal motion detectors for lighting or simply educating employees to turn off lights or use less light when a room has natural light
- Instal a White Roof to better control air conditioning needs (estimated to save 10-15% of cooling energy). This can be as simple as painting a flat black or gray "tar" roof white with paint.
- Instal a Cool Roof if you have funds to add insulation and use light color material
- Instal a Green Roof over part of the roof will conserve water, save energy and may aid in storm water control
- Adding native plantings on part of the grounds reduces mowing, conserves water, and aids in storm water control
- Ask landscapers to mow less frequently, leave grass clippings on the lawn, weeds, clippings, leaves and twigs. Saves mowing, hauling, bagging and conserves water.
- Reduce food waste by placing vermi-composting bin in the cafeteria or office. A vermi-composting bin is a perfect outlet for select food waste from employees, which reduces amount of food scraps in the trash. This is done in offices at Will County Land Use and at Harrah's Casino offices.
- Reduce paper by implementing the setting on all copiers to double-side default and encourage everyone not to print e-mail or other paperwork that could be saved on a CD or flashdrive
- Recycle using AbitibiBowater's Paper Retriever Program for most of the paper or use one of many local haulers to decrease disposal costs by recycling all paper, including cardboard, and all types of containers
- Consider installing commercial wind turbines for energy generation
- Consider installing solar to preheat water or for energy generation
- Consider geothermal retrofits to save on overall heating and cooling costs
There are many businesses throughout the nation implementing simple to complex changes to reduce costs, improve energy efficiency, and improve the work environment overall. If your business has implemented any of the improvements listed or some other improvement, please let willcountygreen.com know. If appropriate, we will publish them as examples for others to view and consider.
Hendrickson Bumper & Trim in Joliet installed a bio-swale/rain garden outside their front door and along a small area of their parking lot. This was far less expensive than tearing up the asphalt and concrete to address a storm water flooding issue.
There are a number of grants available for funding projects, both large and small. Consider investigating the following:
- Solar and Wind Energy Rebate Program. The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity is accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2012. Rebates are based on 30% of total cost for homeowners and businesses and 50% for governmental and non-profit entities, with a maximum rebate of $30,000.
- Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property Credit. Current tax law allows people who install plug-in electric vehicle charging stations for electric vehicles to receive up to 50% of their expenditures as a tax credit.
- Illinois Recycling Grants Program offers funding for Illinois businesses, non-profits and government agencies for recycling, waste reduction and composting.
- State of Illinois Energy Grant Programs offer rebates for solar and wind energy and funds for development of biogas and biomass alternative energy sources. (Please be advised as of June, 2012 there is no current funding, please check site for updates to this program.)
- ComEd's Smart Ideas for Your Business® offers a portfolio of energy efficient tools and incentives to help business owners and building managers to manage their energy use.