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Biz shines under new lights

Judy Banfield never imagined something as simple as switching light bulbs would have such a significant impact on her business.

But when she swapped the lights in her store from old-school CFL bulbs to more energy-efficient LEDs, things changed at Mountain Baby.

Banfield got the upgrades thanks to a FortisBC program created to help small and medium-sized businesses save energy and money through energy-efficient upgrades.

The recently launched Business Direct Install Program hooks businesses up with a local contractor that helps them suss out how they could save more energy.

Once they have a plan, the contractor will then provide on-the-spot rebates of up to 50 per cent on the cost of eligible upgrades they install.

Banfield says taking advantage of the program last year allowed her to save heaps of money operating Mountain Baby, spend less time worrying about maintenance, and make the store more welcoming to customers.

“I have a lot of lights in my store. And probably at least once a week, my staff and I were up there on a big tall ladder changing light bulbs. It was frustrating, dangerous, expensive and time-consuming, and I was just never able to get the lighting that I wanted,” she explains.

Banfield says the contractor FortisBC connected her with showed up promptly and spent significant time with her figuring out exactly what would work best for her business.

“It was very helpful having someone come in and say, ‘I know how to fix that dead spot; I know how we can get it lit up,’” she says.

Now, her store looks brighter, the displays “pop out” in ways they never did before, and she often gets comments from her customers about how nice and bright the store is.

And she said her electricity costs have gone down “significantly.”

According to FortisBC, Banfield’s total rebates through the Business Direct Install Program were worth about $1,500, and have allowed her to save 18,950 kWh of electricity a year.

That’s roughly the equivalent of four window air conditioners running for ten hours a day throughout the entire year.

FortisBC spokesperson Nicole Bogdanovic points out that energy costs are some of the most controllable expenses for businesses, so having an experienced local contractor come in and beef up energy efficiency can mean big savings.

The quotes that contractors hired through the Business Direct Install Program give are calculated to each FortisBC customer’s projected energy savings.

Rebates will vary depending on the project and energy savings, but could be as much as $10,000 per facility.

Upgrades range from high-efficiency lighting and controls, to refrigeration, cooking equipment and water-efficient fixtures.

“We’re here to help. Being aware of energy use and using it efficiently is a sound business practice that can help improve profitability,” Bogdanovic says. “Along with lowering costs while helping preserve natural resources, it also helps keep rates as low as possible by lessening the need for new infrastructure. That’s why we work hard to make sure our programs are effective in helping commercial customers conserve and manage energy use.”

For more information, or to sign up for the Business Direct Install Program, visit FortisBC online.

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