How to Take Advantage of Energy Incentives
Energy rebates and incentives are out there. Intelligent people who apply themselves to finding and applying for them can save themselves a lot of money — but it often seems like the only way to stumble across them is by meeting someone who already knows where to look. That’s because they come from a wide variety of disparate places:
- Utility companies offer their own incentives.
- Municipalities offer their own unique energy incentives.
- States offer a variety of incentives.
- The federal government offers energy incentives.
- And occasionally private NGOs will offer energy incentives as well.
Even in the modern Internet area, there are no resources out there that gather and curate all of the possible incentives for a given area and business. If it were that easy, everyone would be applying for them. Taking the time to do the parts that no one else is doing, however, can prove to be a significant competitive advantage in the long term.
Energy incentives can also come in a lot of different forms, including:
- Tax credits
- Green building incentives
- Performance-based incentives
- And several others
That can make it hard, if you’re applying for several different energy incentives, to figure out exactly how each of your dozen different incentives works and how to arrange your business to take advantage of all of them.
The USDOE, in conjunction with the North Carolina Solar Center, runs the website DSIRE — a fairly comprehensive list of federal, state, and large-city energy incentives that has a focus on ‘green’ energy. On the homepage, you can choose a state and immediately see a list of incentives available for businesses in that state. Many of them won’t apply to a property management business, but some will; you’ll have to read each one to learn who can apply and how.
Personal Initiative Is Important
DSIRE only gives you the information on about 250 local initiatives — and there are thousands across the country. Don’t make the mistake of using it and then deciding that you’ve done your job; instead, get on the phone. Call the local government’s directory and ask for energy initiatives, sustainability initiatives, green tax credits, and so on. Also, ask your local general contractors — the guys who do decently-sized business projects often have personal experience with energy incentives and can give you the low-down if you buy them lunch.
How ever you go about it, don’t underestimate the potential business impact of this decision. It might take a significant investment to get this information organized, but if you could save 2%-8% off of your total bottom line — and that’s not unrealistic — would it be worth your time and energy?