Local business people were given advice on how to reduce their energy consumption at the Cranbrook and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
A representative from Fortis BC explained to Chamber members how they could measure what they were spending energy on, and suggested ways to reduce that energy use.
“The objectives today are to provide small businesses with processes to identify energy savings opportunities, provide practical approaches and ideas to optimize energy savings, and to communicate our incentive programs so you can find out how you can apply to our programs when you are looking to upgrade your equipment,” said Shelley Thomson, Energy Solutions Manager for the B.C. Interior for Fortis BC.
Once businesses know when and where they are using the most energy, they should ask themselves why those patterns exist.
“A really key thing in developing any kind of energy management strategy is asking questions. It’s questioning, why is this being done? Is it necessary? What would happen if I didn’t do it this way? And asking yourself the big question: is it being done this way because that’s the way that it’s always been done?” said Thomson.
Another step is to consider the business’s equipment: its efficiency, its fuel type, the age, condition and maintenance schedule.
Thomson said that lowering a thermostat by one degree will save about three per cent off an energy bill over a year.
Fortis BC has several incentives to help businesses improve their energy efficiency, Thomson explained, including the Efficient Boiler Program, the Commercial Water Heater Program, the Efficiency A La Carte Program for commercial kitchens, and the Energy Assessment Program.
“We really do strongly encourage our customers to look at ways to implement energy management programs and ways to reduce their energy consumption. It does have a huge impact on your bottom line, and it is something you can have an effect on, and it’s a great way to showcase your business as being energy efficient,” said Thomson.
Megan Lohmann from the East Kootenay Energy Diet introduced a new, free tracking tool for businesses called Portfolio Manager. It allows businesses to compare their energy use to other operations with the same square footage and the same use. Workshops to show businesses how to use the Portfolio Manager are being planned for Cranbrook through the Chamber.
The November luncheon was sponsored by Rocky Mountain Print Solutions, which is celebrating 40 years in business in Cranbrook.
The luncheon also marked the conclusion of events to celebrate Pacific Coastal’s direct flight from Cranbrook to Kelowna.
The mayors of both cities, Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski and Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, agreed on a challenge over their respective hockey teams.
If the Kootenay Ice place higher in the standings this season, then Kelowna City Hall will fly Cranbrook’s flag. If the Kelowna Rockets place higher, then Cranbrook will fly Kelowna’s flag – but at half mast, joked Mayor Stetski.