“You don’t get rebates just for waking up in the morning…”

As obvious as the above statement seems, you might be surprised to discover it’s not as easy as it seems to capture a rebate to offset the upfront costs of your energy efficient investments.  If you are thinking about energy efficiency and want to make sure you can take advantage of utility funding, you should be considering the following:

  • A high efficiency label doesn’t always mean rebate eligibility:                

Program requirements vary from utility program to utility program and the bar rises with each program year.   HVAC systems must meet high EER or SEER efficiency ratings, LED lamps must be listed Energy Star or Design Lights Consortium approved lists and Kitchen equipment must be Energy Star.

  • Installing qualifying equipment only gets you to first base:

Rebate program requirements are sometimes very simple; but just as often they are quite onerous and can be very disruptive to your project schedule if you don’t anticipate them and accommodate them.

For example, many projects, including most lighting projects, will require detailed submission of pre-existing conditions – audits with counts and equipment descriptions allowing the utility to calculate the energy demand before and after your upgrade.  They will also require a pre-inspection before the work is started so the utility can verify the details of your submission.  All of this takes time – sometimes a couple of months of advance planning and document submission are critical.  Failing to get pre-approval will disqualify your eligible investment from receiving its rebate.

  • The devil is in the details:

There can be a lot of documentation requirements – invoices marked paid detailing make and model numbers of all equipment, separate labor invoices, W-9, spec sheets for new equipment, copy of a recent utility bill; even a certificate from the state taxing authorities saying you don’t owe any back taxes.  Document submission can be required as soon as 60 days after invoice date and invoice dates can’t precede preapproval dates.

It’s a lot to keep track of if you are only doing one project; it can be a logistical nightmare if you are doing a multi-site project spanning many utilities over a fixed time or budget period.  Utilities tend to be very parochial in their program design and administration which makes it very difficult to coordinate all these requirements in multiple jurisdictions and still have an install schedule which makes sense from your business perspective.

  • Sometimes it pays to get some expert help:

If you are embarking on an initiative which will involve funding from multiple utilities, you better think about outsourcing with a rebate specialist.  Consult with them up front, even before projects have been approved while you are negotiating terms with your vendors.  Doing so will ensure your choosing qualifying equipment and build into the project plan the rebate timing and document requirements.    In a large scale project you don’t have to get disqualified from too many sites, before the fee you are paying the expert is more than covered.

Also, make sure your expert is really an expert.  Your equipment vendors will have knowledge of these programs, but do they have the time or persistence to chase every dollar?  Ask for a detailed estimate of rebate potential for each site before you get started so you have something to measure success against.

So, yes there is widespread opportunity across the US and Canada to capture rebates and improve your ROI’s for energy efficiency investments.  But, actually getting the checks into your hands takes attention and organization — definitely a lot more than just waking up in the morning…




3 responses to this post.

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  2. I like this web blog very much so much fantastic info.


  3. Some really great content on this site, thankyou for contribution.


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