Free program helps save energy costs

It’s been underway since June, but a free program to help small businesses, particularly restaurants, identify ways of reducing energy consumption and find grants to help pay for that work has had its official launch in Kelowna.

It’s been underway since June, but a free program to help small businesses, particularly restaurants, identify ways of reducing energy consumption and find grants to help pay for that work has had its official launch in Kelowna.

The Thompson Okanagan Business Energy Advisor Program provides two energy advisors who go to a business, identify ways of reducing energy costs, explain what grants are available and write a report for the business, all free of charge.

The program is part of a $15-million funding plan by the province that includes other programs to help address climate change issues as well.

According to Darrell Eason, one of the two Kelowna-based program advisors with Green Step, the company contracted to provide the services, the aim is to help 300 small businesses, 150 of which have to be restaurants. “It’s all about planning for the future,” said Eason, adding if any company is considering a refit, or replacing large pieces of equipment, it should contact the program first. To have an advisor do a report is free and there is no requirement to follow through with any of the work recommended.

According to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, one of the biggest barriers for small business addressing the issue of climate change has been cost.

Eason said there are a wealth of grants available to help businesses, everything from one-to-one exchange programs for the replacement of light bulbs to grants of $1,500 to $9,500 for vent hood in restaurants and up to $15,000 for commercial boilers.

A company that has already been working with GreenStep to reduce its energy costs is Kelowna-based Prestige Hotels and Resorts, a chain of 12 hotels in smaller communities across the B.C. Interior that hopes to have all its hotels assessed by the end of October.

Sonu Murphy, director of corporate services for Prestige Hotels, said her hotels have found their customers are now looking for greener alternatives and the accommodation industry as a whole is now addressing that.

One of the first things the hotel chain did was discover that by unplugging fridges in rooms that were not being used, it could save $20,000 per year in energy costs across the 160 rooms they have in their hotels.

“Making a relatively small change can make a big difference,” she said.

The program also won praise from the president and CEO of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, Ian Tostenson, who said he hopes the work in the Thompson and Okanagan leads the way for a provincial program. “The program offers business cost-effective solutions to the challenges of increasing energy costs and increased demand from the public for environmental stewardship,” said Tostenson.



Just Posted

Basement fire quickly extinguished

Fire crews quickly extinguished a basement fire at a home in Kelowna

West Kelowna neighbourhood fed up with criminal activity

Prowler frustrating West Kelowna residents

Kelowna motel robbed, suspect sought

The suspect threatened to harm the lone front desk clerk and demanded money.

Kelowna airport hosts accessibility event

Canucks Autism Network event brings families together to help deal with air travel

Penticton reporter reflects on covering Charles Manson

Charles Manson, leader of a murderous cult, died on Sunday at 83

Heavy snowfall expected on Coquihalla

Snow forecast for mountain highways

Annett finishes season on the podium at Ironman Arizona

Penticton triathlete sets new course record on the bike

Cash donations create purchasing power

Salvation Army and food banks stretch a donated dollar a long way

Hergott: A pedestrian’s legal obligation

Lawyer Paul Hergott questions the moral obligation of pedestrians and motorists

Coyotes grab Okanagan boys title

George Elliott defeats Seaton in AA volleyball final, seeded third heading to provincials

ICBC overbilling for crash repairs not the problem, dealers say

Collision repair shops reject union claim of inflated costs

Last day for shoeboxes at Kelowna Gospel Fellowship

Kelowna church has been gathering gifts for kids in need in countries around the world

Owls soar to Okanagan volleyball title

KSS girls win 4A championship for 12th straight year beating Pen Hi in final

B.C. groups to address child sex abuse in sports

viaSport is organizing a full day of education in association with Canadian Centre for Child Protection and the Coaching Association of Canada.

Most Read