What is the difference between energy efficiency and energy conservation?

We’ve all heard the old adage of turning off the light switch when leaving a room. Measures like this are what’s known as energy conservation; they save energy through behavior modification. Other forms of energy conservation include dimming lights, turning off appliances when not in use, and lowering the temperature on the thermostat. Energy efficiency involves upgrading current systems to those that increase the productivity of each unit of energy, using less of these units to capture the same result as standard equipment.

Why should my facility be energy efficient?

Aside from minimizing your carbon footprint and saving the planet, upgrading your facility to energy efficient equipment can save you up to 30% on your monthly energy bill. Energy efficient systems typically have a payback of less than two years, and utility company incentives are available to help with the cost of installation.

Should I get an energy audit at my facility?

A commercial energy audit is one of the best ways to understand and make improvements to your facility’s energy consumption. Prism Energy Services provides professional, comprehensive building energy audits for commercial, industrial, and municipal facilities. This type of energy audit will assist us in understanding the usage patterns of your facility and to recommend energy efficiency upgrades that can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars each year. Following your audit, you will be provided with a customized proposal outlining your facility’s usage and energy efficiency upgrade potential.

What does an energy efficiency audit entail?

During a pre-scheduled, on-site visit to your facility, our seasoned auditors will accompany you on a walkthrough, where they will collect data on your current energy systems, usage rate, occupancy, running hours, and other details. Once this data is collected, Prism’s on-staff engineers will evaluate your needs and design energy efficiency measures specific to your facility. This design will be presented to you for approval, and our turnkey installation will commence at your convenience.

Why do utility companies want to lower my bill when that hurts their bottom line?

There are a number of reasons. State-level policy will heavily fine utility companies unless they overall electric demand by a certain amount. Plus, generating electricity is expensive. Utility companies have to pay for every kWh you consume. Basically, when you consume less energy, the utility generates less to meet the demand, saving them money. Lowering usage now also helps eliminate the need for more power plants down the road. It’s good for the environment, too!

How much is an evaluation?

There is no cost for the evaluation. Prism comes to your business at your convenience to administer a complimentary energy assessment.

Are we obligated to do anything after the evaluation?

Not at all. We send you an energy savings proposal after the evaluation. It is absolutely your decision if you wish to move forward with all, part of, or none of the proposal.

Why can’t I just buy the bulbs myself?

In many cases, it’s possible to purchase the materials we supply under the Small Business Program from your local retailer or supplier. However, Prism receives special discounted pricing under these programs, and the savings are passed on to you.

Can I have my own contractor perform the installation?

Absolutely, as long as they are willing to complete our Contractor’s Package and their liability insurance meets our requirements.

Can you install LEDs?

Yes; however, LED installation is determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on your existing lights, usage, and operating conditions. LEDs are not appropriate for every situation. Our highly trained auditors can help you determine what measures best suit your energy saving needs.

Can I finance?

Yes, depending on the utility.

  • For National Grid, you can finance for up to 12 or 24 months directly on your electric bill.
  • For Unitil and Eversource NH, you cannot finance.

I had an upgrade three years ago. Can I still save money?

Yes, it’s possible. New measures are being introduced constantly. We can determine if you qualify for any new energy saving measures once we perform a complimentary site visit.

I have lights that are in high places. Will the utility company pay for the lift?

It depends on your utility company. Unitil and Eversource NH will pay up to a 50% incentive for lifts. The utility companies in Massachusetts do not pay for lifts. However, if you are a National Grid Electric customer, the cost of the lift can be financed along with the rest of your project.

What do you do besides lighting?

Prism offers a wide range of non-lighting services, such as HVAC controls, energy management systems, demand controlled ventilation (DCV), variable frequency drives (VFDs), building envelope, water conservation, natural gas, and other mechanical solutions. Our experienced engineers can perform a complimentary site visit at your convenience to determine which measures are appropriate for your facility.

Will you insulate my pipes?

We offer pipe insulation services from steam and hot water pipes in most sizes.

Can I get a rebate on my lights, boiler, or heater?

Depending on the efficiency and age of your current equipment, there could be many opportunities to upgrade to more energy-efficient products. However, not all products qualify for a utility incentive. We recommend you speak with our sales and customer service manager for all inquiries.

Is an incentive the same as a rebate?

No. A rebate is typically paid out to the customer after a project has been completed. An incentive is more like a discount to save the customer money up-front, so the initial out-of-pocket is more manageable.

Why doesn’t the utility pay for the full incentive amount?

Unfortunately, not all projects qualify for a full incentive in Massachusetts. The incentive for certain measures is based on how much energy is used. We work hard to find the best balance of technology and savings for your facility that will yield the best return on investment for you.

Who pays for the permits?

The proposal we submit to you includes the cost of the permit. The utility will pay for a portion of the permit, and the remainder is included in your out-of-pocket cost.

Are you Mass Save?

No, Prism Energy Services is not Mass Save. However, we administer the program for the utilities that run the Mass Save program.

How do I convert from oil/propane to natural gas?

Unfortunately, we cannot assist with oil or propane conversions to natural gas. Please check with your local utility company.