5 Ways to Lower Your Business’s Carbon Footprint (And save money while you’re at it…)

5 Ways to Lower Your Business’s Carbon Footprint (And save money while you’re at it…)

Global warming, carbon tax, cap and trade, going green, carbon footprint, the buzz words surrounding the topic are endless.

What it comes down to, however, is pretty simple. How much pollution is your business responsible for creating on a daily basis?

We’ve all seen the massive amounts of pollution trapped along the Wasatch Front every winter. Inversion is a huge issue in this state. While it may not be as pressing a concern here in Southern Utah, it won’t be long before that changes. Our valleys will be as polluted as those surrounding the state capitol in Salt Lake City if we continue spewing carbon emissions without regard to the impact.

The good news is, it’s fairly easy to lower your carbon footprint and reduce the amount of pollution your business creates. And the best part of the deal is, it’ll make your business more profitable at the same time.

On top of the financial benefits, the value your business can glean from a boost in reputation and brand awareness for your green efforts shouldn’t be overlooked.

Going green isn’t something your business should do quietly. You should make sure everyone knows all about your efforts to make the planet and our community a better place to live and breathe.

Here are five simple and easy steps you can take today to save on energy and make your business greener:

#1) Power your business down at night and over the weekends.

It’s an easy step. Turn off computers, lights, anything and everything you can when your business is closed.

The simplest way to do this is to engage your employees. Ask them to do their best to create a more environmentally friendly business.

But if you want to get a bit more sophisticated, you can also monitor your small business consumption with the installation of an energy monitoring system.

Your power bill tells you little more than how much energy your business consumed as a whole and how much it cost you each month.

Energy monitors attach to your circuit breaker panel and will allow you to get much more detailed reports about which devices are consuming how much power. They’re fairly inexpensive, they start at about $300. And there are a number of companies that sell them. Sense, (https://sense.com) Schneider Electric (https://www.se.com/us/en/home/smart-home/wiser/), and TED (http://www.theenergydetective.com/) to name a few.

Each of these devices comes with access to either an app on your phone or a dashboard on the internet. This allows you to see, in real-time, which individual devices are consuming power and how much power they’re consuming throughout your home or business.

Armed with this detailed information, you can easily find ways to reduce your consumption. You may decide it’s time to replace that old power hog of a refrigerator in the break room. Or you may decide to give the heater a nudge up once you see just how much the space heaters your employees are bringing in are consuming instead.

#2) Set your thermostat properly or install a smart thermostat.

If you don’t already have a programmable or a smart thermostat, get one.

Adjust the thermostat to shut down the HVAC system when your business is closed and to turn back on just before you open the doors in the morning.

Heating or cooling your building is, far and away, the largest source of power consumption. And that makes it the largest portion of the carbon footprint for most homes and businesses. Simply turning the thermostat off when no one’s around, and adjusting it by a degree or two can save huge amounts of energy and money.

Don’t freeze your employees too much during the winter, however. Paying for space heaters can be more expensive than simply turning the heat up a degree or two. Pay attention to your business and your employees and manage your thermostat accordingly.

#3) Be aware of “Peak Demand” charges.

Depending on the size of your business and electricity use you may be seeing a “peak demand” charge on your power bill every month.

This is a charge your power company assesses to cover the maximum amount of energy your business uses at a single point in time during the month.

Think of it this way, if you bake bread at your business and turn on all of your electric ovens at the same exact time every morning, you’re going to have a very large “peak demand.”

If instead, you bake bread throughout the day and only turn on one oven at a time, you’ll reduce your “peak demand” and you’ll lower your power bill because the power company won’t have to ensure the availability of all the electricity you were demanding by turning all your ovens on at once.

Doing everything you can to ensure you don’t turn everything on at the same time inside your business can help lower your demand charges and greatly reduce your power bill.

From staggering the start times of large pieces of electric machinery to setting the programs to turn the AC and heat on at different times in the morning if you have more than one thermostat in your building, there are numerous ways to reduce your peak demand. And remember, many electrical appliances like AC units and heaters, use a much greater amount of electricity when they first power on than they do when they’re running and act accordingly.

#4) Switch to LED lighting wherever possible.

Most homeowners have been swapping out incandescent bulbs for LED for years now.

But many businesses still run hugely inefficient sodium vapor lights in their parking lots or a store full of fluorescent tubes.

Swapping out those energy hogging lights for more efficient options can save your business thousands of dollars every month and make the return on the investment very attractive for a business owner willing to swap out all the lights in a large facility.

A commercial energy efficiency expert, like the ones at ACES Lyfe (http://aceslyfe.com) in St. George, can do a quick walk through of your business and let you know just how much energy and money you can save by making the switch to LED.

#5) Go solar.

There’s a reason large corporations such as Apple, Google, Ikea, Kohl’s, Target, and hundreds of others have gone solar. It saves them money and fixes their costs.

Locking in your power rates can not only nearly eliminate your carbon footprint, it can also really help your businesses bottom line.

Going solar not only gives you a great way to show the public you’re serious about being a green company, it also means rate increases from the power company for the electricity your business is going to need, won’t impact your bottom line.

Your business can stay more competitive because your expenses are fixed instead of being at the mercy of the power company’s rate hikes.

Even if power rates rise at just the same rate as inflation, in 25 years, your business will be paying about twice as much for power as it is today.

With options for funding through Utah’s CPACE program and federal and state rebates and incentives for businesses that go solar, there’s never been a better time to switch to the clean, green, energy that beats down on your businesses rooftop every single day.

Again, a local solar and energy efficiency company like ACESLyfe, will be happy to put together numbers for your business and show you just how much you can save.

After you lower your carbon footprint and go green, then what?

At the end of the day, what most business owners care about is, how much they can save. Adopting these five strategies to lower your carbon footprint can help business owners increase profits simply through the savings they’ll see on their fixed costs.

But what’s not baked into those numbers is the increase in brand reputation and sales a business can realize by leveraging their status as a “green company.”

Once you go green, posting frequently to social media, touting your efforts is a must. Let your followers and brand advocates know just how much you care about keeping the community as pollution-free as possible.

Pitch the story of your new solar installation and lower carbon footprint to the media. Brag about your status as a green company as much as you can in your advertising efforts.

In this age of the internet where every business can be found online, making sure your brand is as well represented as possible in every organic channel you can find is imperative. Your brand, your reputation, is more significant now than ever before because information about your company is so easy to find on the internet.

It’s extremely important to ensure good information about your business can be found online, and your status as a green company is indeed good information.

When you couple the incalculable value your brand gets from the good press for going green with the very real and clearly definable value the savings in energy costs provides, it’s surprising there aren’t more business owners taking advantage of the strategy. 

Tax Credits

Tax Credits

Solar Tax Credits to Sunset

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” 

-Benjamin Franklin

Taxes. No one enjoys paying them. We’d all rather use the money for something else. A vacation, a new side-by-side, the kids college tuition, the list goes on. Yet, pay them we must. Fortunately, governments large and small attempt to influence our behavior through tax incentives like the solar tax credit, giving us a few ways to ease the pain and get a little something for ourselves in the bargain.

For example, for years, the federal government and the state of Utah have encouraged businesses and individuals to invest in renewable energy through tax credits. Install solar panels on your home or business, and you’ll get 30 percent of the cost of the project back in the form of a tax credit.

Not a bad deal when you think about it, especially since you get free power from the sun in return. Unfortunately, the famous nugget of wisdom predicts, all good things come to an end.  

Come 2020, the solar tax credit sunset begins. Federal tax credits for renewable energy upgrades for both businesses and homeowners will drop to 26 percent on January 1, 2020. Then in 2021, the solar tax credit drops again to 22 percent and in 2022 is goes away all together for residential solar and drops to 10 percent for businesses.

What does the solar tax credit sunset mean to you?

After years of seeing the cost of solar slowly fall it’s about to go up fairly rapidly. And that means, right now, and for the next six months, this will likely be the best time to install a solar array on your home or business for several years to come.

 Getting 30 percent of the cost of a solar array back on your tax bill can mean thousands of dollars in your pocket instead of Uncle Sam’s come April 15th and it makes the return on your investment and the break even point for solar far more attractive to home and business owners.

When you couple the tax incentives with the state of Utah’s new C-Pace program, a solar project can have a huge impact on revenue for business owners. Not to mention the public relations bonanza you can reap by becoming a “green” business. There’s a reason Uinta Brewing Company brags about how sustainable their brewery is; it’s good business.

If switching to clean energy is something you’ve looked into in the past, whether for your business or your home, but you were scared off by the high price tag or the numbers didn’t make sense at the time, you’ll want to look at it again before the end of 2019. 

 The numbers won’t get any better than they are right now for quite some time. You can find out more about how to take your home or business solar at ACESlyfe.com or you can chat with an experienced and knowledgeable ACES Lyfe rep by calling 435-294-2900 and they’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

 There’s no shame in taking advantage of these tax incentives. They help keep the air around us clean, increase our energy independence, reduce green-house emissions and have the potential to save you or your business a whole lot of money while they last. For more information visit the Solar Investment Tax Credit website!

 

What are you waiting for?

Conserve Before Create

Conserve Before Create

At ACES Lyfe, we aim to reduce utility bills by making homes more energy efficient.

Energy efficiency is necessary for homes due to the fact that energy efficiency in a home degrades over time.

As time passes, the insulation in the attic and walls settle and that reduces efficiency.

With each passing year, the air conditioning unit loses efficiency. And the inefficiency of the attic space causes major problems over time.

Homes are continually becoming less and less energy efficient as the times passes.

With our energy efficiency solutions, we are able to solve all of these issues and more.

ACES Solar Strategy

With electric bills continuing to rise at a record pace, solar has become even more important for homeowners to take back control of their finances.

We at ACES Lyfe offer the best solar panels in the industry and the best savings as well.

Traditional solar companies will suggest to homeowners that they will “eliminate one hundred percent of their electrical usage.”

This may be true but only for a short time. As previously stated, homes degrade over time.

Therefore, if solar eliminates one hundred percent of the electrical usage in a home right now, in a few short years that will no longer be the case.

As the efficiency of the home degrades, even with solar, the home will use more energy to keep up with the decrease in efficiency.

Homes over time use more energy than they did when they are new. That solar will soon not be able to produce enough energy to supply the home with all of the power that it now needs.

Along with the degradation of the home, solar panels themselves degrade as well. The technology of solar has come a long way over the past decade in the way of panel efficiency.

However, degradation in solar panels is still an issue when purchasing solar. Over time the solar panels will degrade and lose the efficiency they began with.

Just like a new home, with each passing year, those panels will lose a certain amount of efficiency. That one hundred percent coverage of electrical usage that the solar panels provide today will degrade over time to less than eighty percent in some cases.

The home is degrading, the solar is degrading and that solar investment is becoming less beneficial as time goes on. ACES Lyfe has the solution for that as well.

An Energy Efficient Space

With our energy efficiency solutions, we will make all homes more efficient and keep them there. That means the degradation that the home experiences will now be minimal.

The energy solutions will keep the home at its peak efficiency for the lifetime of the home. Along with the best energy solutions on the market, ACES Lyfe only offers the best solar panels on the market as well.

The solar used by ACES Lyfe has the lowest degradation rate on the market. With these incredible options, we pair them together to overcome the short comes of solar alone.

Keep the home at peak efficiency and have solar panels that degrade the least amount possible is the only way to ensure that your investment will remain an investment for decades to come.

Another benefit to combining solar and energy efficiency together is that by reducing the electrical usage in the home, the home will require fewer solar panels to eliminate the electrical usage.

This saves homeowners thousands of dollars while still achieving the desired outcome. Combining solar and energy efficiency on a home will not only save money, save the planet but also make the home environment more comfortable with energy solutions!

All our homeowners get all of the benefits of solar with the comfort and savings of energy efficiency!

ACES Lyfe is here to help you save money and create a space that is more energy efficient and comfortable.

Fill out or energy efficiency evaluation form below and we will get the process started!

Aces Solar In Utah

Aces Solar In Utah

Solar energy has become more of a popular means in Utah to create energy rather than using other traditional energy methods.

When you’re driving down the Utah streets, you are more likely to see solar panels lining roofs than you would have seen ten years ago.

Solar energy has definitely risen in popularity, but how exactly does it work and what are the benefits of it?

How do metal panels on a roof make your lights turn on in your home?

That’s a great question and we’re here to give you the info.

How does solar energy work?

A solar panel consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing and various wiring to allow current to flow from the silicon cells.

Silicon is a nonmetal with conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity.

When light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, which initiates a flow of electric current.

This is known as the “photovoltaic effect,” and it describes the general functionality of solar panel technology.

Let’s break that down so we can all understand how the sun powers our homes.

Panels Collect Sunlight

First, solar panels collect the sunlight. Imagine yourself laying out by the pool in the Utah sun and soaking up all the rays you possibly can.

That’s basically what the solar panel is doing as well.

All solar panels have photovoltaic (PV) cells. PV cells take light, or photons, and turn the light into electricity.

When the sunlight hits the solar panels, PV cells start producing direct current (DC) electricity.

Solar Power Becomes Usable

The direct current electricity is pretty useless unless it is inverted.

Solar panels have inverters attached to them in order to convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity.

The AC electricity is the electricity that powers your home. That’s the good stuff we’re looking for.

Electricity Is Used

Now comes the fun part–when your electricity is used to power your home!

Electricity starts its journey through the net meter and then makes its way to your appliance in order to power them up.

You don’t have to change a thing about how you run your electricity. It runs just as it did before.

No need to stress if your solar panels don’t produce enough energy to cover everything.

You will still be connected to a traditional power company so if by chance you need to, you can tap into their power for a time.

You might be wondering why you would need to continue being connected to a traditional power company when you are able to create your own power for your home.

The reason being is that the sun is not up 24/7. There’s that thing called nighttime and unfortunately, the moon doesn’t have the same effect on the solar panels that the sun does.

This is why it is beneficial to stay connected to your traditional power company.

Net Metering

Net metering is when your local utility company agrees to provide energy credits for any surplus power you produce and send back to the grid.

In some cases, these credits can roll over so you accrue them long-term, and some Utah utility companies will even give you money for the power you are creating with your solar panels.

Net metering all depends on your local utility company.

The net meter will be installed on the outside of your home and looks similar to the traditional electricity meter that you already have.

Your traditional meter only measures the energy you use, but the net meter measures the energy you use and the energy you give back to the company as well.

Is Solar The Right Option For Me?

We wish that solar was the best option for everyone but there may be times when it is not.

Utah, on average, has 222 sunshine filled days. That makes Utah a pretty good market for solar panels.

But how many days the sun is out is not the only factor that determines if solar energy is the right path for you.

The biggest determinant to see if your home is a good candidate for solar power is the direction that your roof is facing.

A roof that is facing south will definitely be able to produce enough power for your home.

Roofs that are facing west and east will most likely be able to power your home to its full capacity. North facing roofs are the roofs that are going to give you your biggest challenge.

Of all the four directions, these roofs are the worst at producing solar energy. Once you are able to determine the direction your roof faces, you will need to see how many hours your roof is actually getting hit by the sun.

The average direct sun hours is only 2.5 hours which is really not a ton of time in the whole scheme of things. If your home gets at least 2.5 hours of direct sunlight a day, it’s time to go solar!

Aces Solar

Aces solar is a great option if you are looking to upgrade from a traditional electric source to a more energy efficient source.

What sets Aces Solar apart from the other solar companies out there is that we will perform an energy efficiency inspection before we tell you how many solar panels you need.

Our goal is that we can help you create a more energy efficient space, use less energy and then we will install the solar panels.

This means you won’t be buying more solar panels than you actually need.

Our goal is to cut your energy usage up front and then determine your electricity consumption so we can provide you with the proper amount of solar panels.

This saves you money!

Solar Installation

Our installation process is relatively easy.

Installation of products is fast and efficient just like our products.

Our installation team is typically in and out the same day and can be scheduled as soon as 3 days after purchase.

If you feel like solar energy is a great option for you, fill out the form and we can get started!

Where Does Your Power Company Rank?

Where Does Your Power Company Rank?

Where’s the best place in Utah for solar?

You’d think the answer to that question would depend on what parts of this beautiful state see the fewest cloudy days or see the most sun because of lower latitude.

But the answer actually depends more on which power company supplies the power to the home.

Most homeowners who install solar panels still rely on the power company to provide them with electricity at night or when the sun isn’t shining.

 In order to offset the cost of this power and make their homes net-zero, most solar arrays are built with enough panels to generate more power than the home needs during the day.

This excess power is then sold to the power company so it can be used later when the sun isn’t shining.

The agreement between the power company and the homeowner that details how much the homeowner will be paid for their extra power is called a net-metering or interconnectivity agreement.

Each power provider in the state has different rules regarding how their net-metering agreements are written.

Some utilities give you a kilowatt hour for kilowatt-hour credit while others pay homeowners a fixed rate for the extra power generated and may or may not charge an additional monthly fee just because you have solar panels.

Depending on the details, it can mean a return on investment for solar that can be recouped in just a few years or it can mean the ROI takes decades.

Which utility providers have the best interconnectivity or net metering agreements in Utah?

We’ll break them down into three categories and rank them from there.

1. ROCKY MOUNTAIN POWER – Fortunately, one of the best interconnectivity agreements found in Utah is still the one provided by Utah’s largest utility company, Pacific Corp, or Rocky Mountain Power. 

After Rocky Mountain Power asked the State Utility Commission to change their interconnectivity agreement in 2016, Gov. Gary Herbert encouraged the utility to sit down with solar industry experts to ensure their new arrangement would allow continued growth in solar in Utah.

The new agreement that was hammered out currently ensures homeowners get 9.2 cents per kWh for the extra power they generate. That’s about 90% of the 10.2 cents per kWh average price of electricity from RMP.

While 90% isn’t as good as the straight 1 for 1 credit RMP customers got up until November of 2017, it’s not bad.

2. UTAH’S ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES – Most of Utah’s electric cooperatives like Dixie Power or Garkane Energy provide net metering and several even offer a kilowatt hour for kilowatt hour credit. What drops them to second place on our list, however, is that fact that these cooperatives offer some of the cheapest power rates in the nation. 

Solar power winds up costing somewhere around 6 to 7 cents per kWh if you do the math. (Take the cost of the array, spread it out over the 25-year warrantied life of the panels and divide that figure by the average rate of production on a south facing, 30 degree pitched roof…) 

That 6-7 cent rate stacks up pretty well against many Utah electric cooperatives where you’re also paying just under 7 cents per kWh. Since there’s no guarantee rates from the power cooperative will stay as low as they are now, buying 25 years worth of power at today’s rates does make sense.

Inflation alone demands co-op power rates will eventually rise by about two or three percent a year, but still, it’s difficult for most co-op members to see the wisdom in paying for all their power needs for the next 25 years in one lump payment today.

3. UTAH’S MUNICIPAL POWER PROVIDERS – There are some city power companies in Utah like those in St. George and Heber that aren’t all that bad when it comes to net metering.

Many more of them, however, charge fees for solar owners and offer net metering deals where customers get wholesale prices in the range 4 or 5 cents per kWh for their excess power and are then forced to buy it back at retail rate north of 10 cents per kWh. 

Utah Clean Energy’s website lists links to a variety of municipal power company’s net metering rules. See if your city is on the list and get the details on your net metering options at https://utahcleanenergy.org/issues/rooftop-solar/item/342-local-governments-and-solar-net-metering

While those are rankings for general types of electricity providers in the state, here’s our top half dozen picks for the Utah power companies that make going solar attractive to homeowners: 

1. Heber Power and Light – Heber City provides a kWh for kWh credit and gives you a payout at the retail rate for the extra power you generate over the course of a year when credits reset in January. The only drawback to solar in Heber City is their 15kW limit on the size of a residential solar array.

2. Rocky Mountain Power – Even with their departure from a kWh fo kWh credit in November of 2017, RMP still pays enough per kWh for solar and their prices are high enough that a solar array almost ALWAYS makes sense for RMP customers.

3. Brigham City – Brigham City also provides a kWh for kWh credit but their payout for the extra power you generate  is set to the wholesale rate they pay for power when credits reset in June. Brigham City also has a lower 10kW limit on the size of a residential solar array.

 4. Dixie Power – Sure their rates are some of the lowest in the United States but their net metering agreement provides a kWh for kWh exchange and their rates aren’t going to stay as low as they are now for forever. Plus their array size limit is set at 25kW. 

5. Lehi Power – Just like Dixie Power, Lehi’s net metering agreement is a beneficial kWh for kWh exchange. The limit on the solar array size, however is just 10kW.  

6. St. George City – If it weren’t for the fact that St. George City adds in a fee every month for solar customers, they’d rank far higher. That said, the fee is only $2 per kW per month and after that they do provide a straight kWh for kWh credit so on balance it’s a pretty decent deal. 

 

Of course, a homeowner can also choose to utilize battery systems to store their excess power, rather than selling it to the power company for pennies on the dollar.

With the costs of large scale battery systems still ranging in the tens of thousands of dollars, however, the cost can prove prohibitive.

Another option for homeowners who live in areas where the power companies don’t offer great options when it comes to solar is simply reducing power consumption by making their home more energy efficient.

You don’t need any sort of agreement from the power company or tax credits from the federal government to reduce your consumption.

ACES Lyfe is a local Utah business that does provide solar but they can also help you lower your power bill without going solar by increasing the energy efficiency of your home.

If you’d like to find out if solar could work for you and your home or what your power providers net metering rules are, or if you’d like more information on how to lower your power bill without going solar, call ACES Lyfe today!