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Energy Efficiency Grants – 5 tips to get the most from these grants

Energy efficiency grants are sometimes made available by governments. For example, through the Australian governments energy efficiency community grants program. Are you considering applying for one? Perhaps to fund an energy audit or energy efficiency assessment, or to move ahead with implementing energy saving measures. Maybe you have already received the grant. Here are 5 ways you can maximise the energy saving results of your grant.

5 tips to getting the greatest value from an energy efficiency grant

1. Keep the end firmly in mind

That is, reducing your energy usage, costs and carbon footprint. Be careful you aren’t side-tracked and that your focus (and budget) is mostly spent on saving energy, not just getting a report on how to save energy. Consultant reports from an energy efficiency expert can be useful in advising you how to get best value for money from your upgrade budget, just be sure that you don’t treat a report – such as an energy audit report – as the end game.

2. Be willing to invest to save energy

Unless you are a small energy user, if you really want to significantly cut your energy use, the money from the grant won’t be enough. Be prepared to put your own money in, and have a total budget that is larger than the grant.

Generally if you are willing to spend an amount on energy energy efficiency that is equal to your total annual energy spend you will be able to achieve large savings with a reasonable return on investment. Energy efficiency grants are usually much smaller than this.

Organisation’s that are most effective at getting large energy savings through energy efficiency will have a long term energy management approach. A grant could help you achieve some quick wins that can be leveraged into larger savings if a longer term strategic approach in used.

3. Don’t treat the grant as money for free

That’s a gamblers attitude, and there is a fairly high risk you ultimately won’t benefit much at all. Instead imagine the grant money is actually yours, and you need to account for how well its spent and the ROI. (See point 1 again). This could include applying some rigor to assessing the likely payback, internal rate of return, or net present value that the grant could give you.

Aim for a good ROI - energy efficiency grants
Aim for a good ROI – energy efficiency grants

4. Use an Energy Efficiency Professional

The chances are that you’ve had good experience, like I have, with professionals such as accountants, physiotherapists or similar. You don’t necessarily need to get an accountant to do your tax return, you could DIY. But the accountant will probably be able to identify some legitimate tax deductions that you just didn’t see and give you other useful advice. There’s a good reason why professions exist – you get access to expertise that can give value.

An energy efficiency professional – whose full time job is helping energy users use less energy – similarly can give you good value from any energy efficiency grants you may have won. If its hard to track down an expert in your area, assistance could possibly be provided virtually if you are willing to be the “arms and legs” for the expert in gathering site information.

5. Scale to your current energy spend

If you are spending less than $20,000 a year on energy, it could be worthwhile contracting an energy efficiency expert for a half day/one day to give you guidance or undertake a simple energy efficiency assessment, but the expense of an Australian standards compliant energy audit is not advised. More than $20,000 a year? I would suggest that you definitely get an experienced energy efficiency professional to help.

Use a professional – energy efficiency grants
Use a professional – energy efficiency grants

Need help applying for or managing energy efficiency grants?

Get in contact you need assistance in applying for a grant, or would like to make the best use of funding your received through an energy efficiency grant. I’m adept at working virtually if necessary.

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