PUD program helps businesses cut costs, earn rebates

EVERETT — The Everett Clinic recently installed new computer management software that it expects will cut its electricity costs by about 12 percent a year.

The software links all its workstations to a central location, allowing the company to turn the computers off when they’re not in use and to perform any upgrades remotely, rather than sending a technician around to do the work.

“The payoff is significant,” said April Zepeda, the company’s communications manager.

All told, The Everett Clinic expects to save about $90,000 each year in reduced electricity and staff time. It also will get a rebate of $16,408 from the Snohomish County PUD to help pay for the new software.

The rebate is part of a broader PUD program to help business and industry cut the amount of electricity they use. It’s not just for computers, but for everything businesses do.

“We’re really getting more aggressive with local businesses,” said the PUD’s Neil Neroutsos. “We can find big chunks of savings for the businesses and the utility. We’d rather save energy than have to go out and buy it on the open market.”

Neroutsos said savings can come from a variety of sources: different lighting, better sensors or controls, or improving such things as heating and air conditioning systems.

If you don’t know what your business should do, he added, the PUD can provide information or help determine how various changes can reduce electricity.

“We want to provide resources to help,” Neroutsos said.

The PUD is also increasing some of its rebates for business owners who act before Dec. 15 to ensure that changes are installed before the start of winter.

For example, the PUD will pay rebates of 20 cents per kilowatt hour of annual savings for authorized projects, an 18 percent increase. It will add a completion bonus of 10 percent for authorized projects that are completed by Dec. 15.

In its PC power management software program, the agency will pay an $8 per computer rebate for companies that participate. Authorized systems installed by Dec. 15 will get a 25 percent incentive bonus.

“For companies with many PCs, this program makes sense in that the cumulative savings really add up,” Neroutsos said, adding that the PUD itself has about 1,000 computers.

In addition to its PC programs and its general power-reduction project, the PUD also offers cash rebates for businesses involved in energy-efficient lighting projects. That includes replacing bulbs with thinner, more-efficient T-8 fluorescent tubes, installing LED exit signs and adding sensors and timers.

The PUD can cover as must as 70 percent of the cost of a lighting project.

Zepeda said the project at The Everett Clinic has an added benefit, the reduction of enough carbon dioxide from the computers to be “the equivalent of taking 175 cars off the road each year.”

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