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Celebrating local climate action successes during Small Business Week
Oct 18, 2021
B.C. entrepreneurs cut more than 700 tonnes of CO2 this year with energy efficient efforts
SURREY, BC – October 18, 2021: Each year, Small Business Week (October 17 – 23, 2021) pays tribute to the entrepreneurs in British Columbia (B.C.) making a meaningful impact in their communities and local economies. This year, despite challenges related to COVID-19, FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. (together, FortisBC) found that many entrepreneurs in B.C., particularly in the food service industry, made significant contributions toward the province’s climate action goals by investing in high-efficiency equipment upgrades that help make their business operations more sustainable.
“Small businesses are vital to our communities and we’re thankful to work with so many that are prioritizing energy efficiency projects despite the challenges they’ve faced over the last two years,” said Lynne Williams, FortisBC program specialist, conservation and energy management.
Two of FortisBC’s energy efficiency and conservation programs saw a substantial increase in participation during the COVID-19 pandemic. Close to 600 small business owners signed up for a free virtual energy assessment with our partner, GreenStep Solutions, a leading sustainability consultant, to identify opportunities to save energy, reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and lower operating costs. Many entrepreneurs also upgraded to high-efficiency equipment, taking advantage of rebates for high-efficiency equipment to help offset the upfront investment.
The investments made by restaurant owners alone through equipment rebates from January to August 2021 collectively saved more than 11,000 gigajoules of natural gas, the equivalent energy used to heat around 130 homes for one year. On average, restaurants participating in FortisBC energy efficiency programs received around $3,500 in incentives, leading to an estimated annual savings of $1,350. These savings continue to add up over time. For example, an upgrade to a high-efficiency double rack oven alone can save over an estimated $2,000 annually and around $26,000 over its expected lifetime.
One such entrepreneur, Kanwaljeet (Lucky) Randhawa, opened his first Chic-Chic-Chicken restaurant location amidst the pandemic and made it a priority to invest in high-efficiency appliances.
“This was my first time looking into energy efficient equipment options. The energy solutions manager at FortisBC helped me every step of the way,” said Randhawa. “He helped me through the application and showed me that my new appliances qualified for rebates on top of making my food more flavourful and crispy by cooking it at the perfect temperature every time.”
He attributes the rebates from upgrading to energy efficient equipment as contributing to his ability to meet payroll during his first year in operation. With one location in Surrey, Randhawa is planning to open more locations across the province and intends to continue to install high efficiency equipment in future locations.
“We are honoured to collaborate with entrepreneurs like Lucky and look forward to future partnerships with more small businesses to find innovative ways to save energy, reduce costs and help their businesses grow,” said Williams.
The active participation by entrepreneurs in these programs make it possible for FortisBC to contribute to the province’s climate action goals and stay on track with reaching their ambitious 30BY30 target to reduce customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
Businesses can take advantage of FortisBC’s specialized programs by purchasing and installing high-efficiency equipment that meets the eligibility requirements. To learn more about FortisBC’s Small Business Program, visit fortisbc.com/smallbusiness or to learn about FortisBC’s suite of commercial energy efficiency programs visit, fortisbc.com/businessrebates.
FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. do business as FortisBC, a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, renewable gas, propane and thermal energy solutions. FortisBC employs approximately 2,550 British Columbians and serves over 1.2 million customers in 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC owns and operates two liquefied natural gas storage facilities and four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,335 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines, and approximately 50,182 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC is indirectly, wholly owned by Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. FortisBC Inc. and FortisBC Energy Inc. use the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc. For further information on FortisBC, visit fortisbc.com. For further information on Fortis Inc., visit fortisinc.com.