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Federal Program Offers Incentives to Businesses to Go Green

By Sara Bedal |

If rising energy and operating costs are threatening to put your business in the red, then you may want to go green—before it's too late. A federal program that provides financial support to organizations that implement energy-saving projects wraps up in early 2011.

The ecoENERGY Retrofit program, under Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), has assisted small- and medium-sized organizations (as well as homeowners) since it was launched in 2007. The program encourages businesses to enact energy-efficient retrofitting measures such as improving lighting, heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.

Under the program, for instance, a small business in Saskatchewan received financial support to install new energy-efficient boilers while a small Quebec firm benefitted from financial assistance after installing energy-wise air compressors.

The government's aim, of course, is to help businesses and industries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Companies, in turn, not only save money on implementing the eco-friendly projects, but they may also reap the benefits of:

  • A reduction in annual energy consumption and costs (by an average of 20 per cent for comprehensive retrofits);
  • Paybacks (the time it takes for an energy-saving measure to pay for itself) usually within one to 10 years;
  • Increased competitiveness;
  • "Healthier", more comfortable buildings; and
  • A baseline against which to compare future eco projects.

If your business is thinking about going green by undertaking some energy-saving improvements, here's what you need to know about the ecoENERGY Retrofit program.

Value of the incentive

For commercial businesses, the eligible financial incentive is based on the lowest of the following:

  • $10 per gigajoule (277.8 kilowatt hours) of estimated annual energy savings (for reference, a gigajoule of electricity can power a 60-watt lightbulb continuously for six months);
  • 25 per cent of eligible project costs; or
  • $50,000 per project ($250,000 per organization).

For industrial facilities, the incentive is up to 25 per cent of eligible project costs to a maximum of $50,000 per project ($250,000 per organization).

Pre-project energy audit

If you're applying for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Buildings, you'll have to foot the bill for an energy audit by a qualified individual in advance. The audit, or technical energy analysis, will give you a better idea of your energy consumption and ways you can save energy--and money--in the future.

If you're applying for the ecoENERGY Retrofit Incentive for Industry, a professional engineer or certified engineering technologist must certify the estimated energy savings of your retrofit project.

Deadline for project completion

To be eligible to cash in on an incentive, you must complete your project prior to March 31, 2011. It takes NRCan about 40 business days to process an application so keep this in mind when estimating your project's completion date.

For more details on applying for and qualifying for ecoENERGY Retrofit funding, go to

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