Businesses: save money, help the economy and the environment
By Carol Dillin
Portland General Electric
PGE's Carol Dillin will give the Wednesday keynote address at the April 16 and 17 Future Energy Conference.
While it's encouraging to see signs of economic recovery, most businesses continue to watch their expenses very closely. A business owner recently told me that while she sees light at the end of the tunnel, she is only making investments today that will bring quick, tangible payoffs. She's decided energy efficiency is one business investment she'll make in 2011.
She is one of a growing number of business owners who are stepping up to save money on their electric bills while helping the economy and the environment. We've seen a big jump in the number of businesses who are signing up for PGE’s energy-efficiency classes and signing on to energy-saving initiatives. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks Oregon third in the nation for encouraging energy efficiency in homes, businesses, industry and transportation systems.
Energy efficiency helps create jobs throughout the Oregon economy, and not only for those who supply equipment and conduct retrofits. It also provides businesses with more money in their pockets – money that can be reinvested in the economy. That's why the 2010 Oregon Business Plan outlines energy efficiency as one of 10 initiatives to improve Oregon’s business climate and spark job growth.
Energy efficiency also will help close the gap between the amount of energy needed and the available resources to generate electricity. Over the next decade, PGE expects to meet nearly half the growth in electricity demand through energy efficiency.
More and more, companies are finding that relatively small things like installing more efficient lighting or electronic shut-off systems can pay back thousands of dollars a year. With cash incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon and state Business Energy Tax Credits, many business owners see their initial investment recovered in two years or less – while the long-term savings continue for much longer.
Carol Dillin is PGE's vice president of customers and economic development.
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