Commercial property owners should consider improving their energy efficiency for a number of reasons: reducing costs, noticeably improving the building’s temperature, helping the environment or increasing property value. Efficient energy usage is especially important in a climate such as WNY where the summer can be very hot and the winter very cold. The Buffalo-based non-profit, People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH), is committed to helping Western New Yorkers move towards better energy efficiency. PUSH, along with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), offers educational workshops, energy assessments and financing options for individuals or businesses.

To identify areas that need to improve in order save energy, an energy study can be conducted. Energy studies can reduce business costs as well as benefit the environment. NYSERDA offers the Flexible Technical Assistance Program, or FlexTech. For this program, a FlexTech consultant will analyze a business’s operations to pinpoint what kinds of technologies are needed to improve energy efficiency. There is also a program specific to non-profits and small businesses (those with less than 100 employees) called the Small Commercial Energy Assessments. These assessments evaluate how a business is performing by talking to staff, looking at the utility bill and observing the facility. After the assessment is complete, the consultants will identify options for carrying out energy improvement projects and how to finance them. There is also an opportunity to participate in a collective study with NYSERDA, the Energy Study Aggregation Program. In this program, consultants look at several commercial facility studies at once for the purpose of determining if this is a more efficient way to make assessments than looking at facilities independently.

Commercial property owners looking to improve the efficiency of their buildings have several options with the NYSDERA. The Commercial New Construction Program provides consultants, financial support and technical assistance to businesses that are under construction or undergoing a substantial renovation.  The Multifamily Performance Program for Existing Buildings is aimed at affordable housing structures with five or more units. NYSDEA encourages buildings, which are undergoing capital improvements, refinancing, or renovations to take part in this program, which includes a property assessment and financial incentives.  There is also the NY-Sun program, whose goal is to encourage home and business owners to use solar energy. The program does this by providing affordable solar options and educational opportunities. Installing air source heat pumps, which exchange heat between the inside and outside of the building, can help with energy efficiency. The Air Source Heat Pump Program gives incentives to air source heat pump installers, such as financial and promotional benefits.  Ground source heat pumps, which exchanges thermal energy between the ground and the building, are also beneficial. The Ground Source Heat Pump Rebate Program provides those who install ground source heat pumps with rebates.

For more information on the above programs, or to explore additional programs, visit the PUSH Green and NYSERDA websites.