NRCM News Release
Today, at a State House news conference, a diverse group of Maine business leaders touted the role energy efficiency plays in reducing their costs and improving the health and competitiveness of their businesses. These leaders released a letter signed by nearly 250 Maine businesses, urging Maine lawmakers to “make energy efficiency a priority during this legislative session, and work actively and in a bipartisan fashion to ensure that the Efficiency Maine Trust has adequate resources to capture all cost-effective energy efficiency identified in Maine homes and businesses.”
The businesspeople also displayed a map that illustrates thousands of business energy efficiency projects across the state, and distributed energy efficiency profiles for each of Maine’s 16 counties.
Energy efficiency can be an abstract concept, but it is very real for the businesses speaking at the news conference on behalf of hundreds and thousands of others. More than 3,300 Maine businesses, in every county in Maine, have worked with Efficiency Maine to save more than $320 million on their energy bills through energy efficiency investments.
“Energy efficiency projects help reduce costs and help with the bottom line,” says Ron Defoe, General Manager of Lyman Morse Fabrication (Boatbuilding), in Thomaston. “It isn’t just theoretical; we have seen it in our business: these projects result in real, significant savings. Some people may say that if energy efficiency is so cost-effective, we should do it without any help. That seems a little out of touch with the real world, where there are many barriers to investing in energy efficiency even if it is cost-effective. Efficiency Maine’s business program is really important to a thriving, sustainable economy for the state.”
“With so much manufacturing work going offshore, you have to be lean and mean,” says Joel Selwood, Plant Manager at Formtek-Maine, a metal products manufacturer in Clinton. “Our energy efficiency project has helped us remain competitive in this economy. That’s important for Formtek, for our employees, and for the state’s economy. Energy efficiency offers a good return on the investment, for us and for Maine.”
“Our lighting projects have helped us save energy and money, but may not have been realized without Efficiency Maine incentives and the guidance from them and the contractors,” says Chris Cookson, Owner of Cookson’s Collision Center in Palmyra. “Efficiency programs such as this one are very important to achieving investments that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, including in small businesses like mine. Maine should do more to help businesses invest in energy efficiency.”
“We believe energy efficiency is incredibly important for reducing energy costs in Maine,” says Richard Parkhurst, owner of Oakes & Parkhurst Glass in Manchester. “When we do work on windows in commercial buildings, like the office building we’re just completing in Auburn, energy efficiency is often a part of the package, often with assistance from Efficiency Maine. During the last few years we have done energy efficiency upgrades at our Stained Glass Express store in Waterville, our corporate and fabrication facility in Manchester, and a just completed office renovation on Water Street in Augusta. Not only are energy efficiency upgrades good for the environment, they also add a competitive edge in the marketplace through reduced energy costs. This is a no brainer for Oakes & Parkhurst Glass. We should make energy efficiency for businesses a greater priority across Maine.”
“When we built our 10,500 sq. ft. new facility, we weren’t really able to do all the cost-benefit analysis on lots of different technology options, and I was even a little skeptical of some of the fluorescent lighting,” says Dan Brooks, owner of Capital Car Care in Augusta. “But my electrician told me I should have the most efficient lights, and that Efficiency Maine would help bring down the cost. That made all the difference. Now I’ve done LED signage and occupancy sensors, too, and it is really lowering my energy bill and my overhead.”
Energy efficiency is the largest and lowest cost energy resource in Maine, and it is one of Maine’s few options to significantly control energy bills, because most of our energy prices are driven by energy markets over which Maine has little control.
Efficiency can make Maine businesses more competitive, create new businesses and jobs, and save hundreds of millions of dollars. Since 2004, Efficiency Maine programs have delivered nearly half a billion dollars in energy savings. The message from businesses across the state is clear: their efficiency projects were cost-effective, but simply would not have happened without technical and financial assistance from Efficiency Maine.
The larger economic impact is enormous. These energy savings are typically spent in the Maine economy (instead of on electricity and imported fuels), which creates a large multiplier effect for Gross State Product. Every $1 invested in energy efficiency yields $4 in state GSP. And energy efficiency programs create an incentive for new private investment in Maine businesses. Last year, Efficiency Maine programs leveraged $86 M in private investment in businesses—from the largest paper mill to the smallest grocery store.
“Through my real estate management and development firm, I have spent well over $1 million implementing energy efficiency improvements,” says Tim Soley, President of East Brown Cow Management, Inc., a property management company in Portland. “These improvements benefit me, my tenants, and all the local contractors we hired, as well as make Maine more energy independent. Many of these improvements would not have made it off the drawing board without the expertise and guidance, as well as the supplemental capital, provided by Efficiency Maine. In a state where energy costs are high and business growth is weak, investing in energy efficiency is a critical component of making Maine businesses viable. I hope, in pursuit of creating a more competitive, business-friendly landscape in Maine, the Legislature finds these compelling reasons to support increasing the funding to Efficiency Maine.”
“The Jackson Laboratory maintains a long standing commitment to reduce our use of fossil fuels and continue our leadership in environmental stewardship through increased use of renewable energy, continuous energy efficiency improvements, and green design,” says John Fitzpatrick, Senior Director of Facilities at the Jackson Laboratory. “Efficiency Maine programs and grants have been instrumental in helping us meet these goals, while at the same time helping to reduce our costs and increase our competitiveness. With some of the highest energy costs in the country, it is absolutely essential for Maine to make it a top priority to continue to proactively provide support to fund both large and small efficiency improvements across the state.”
Dylan Voorhees, Clean Energy Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine summarized some broader issues, saying “Despite the thousands of success stories with energy efficiency in Maine businesses, significantly more energy efficiency savings remain untapped. Even Central Maine Power’s consultants suggest it would be cost-effective for Maine to invest significantly more through Efficiency Maine. Every other state in New England has a higher per capita rate of investment in energy efficiency—and each of those states has higher energy prices than Maine. The more worried you are about energy costs, the more emphasis you should put on energy efficiency.”
Case studies of Maine businesses that worked with Efficiency Maine.
Strong support by Mainers for energy efficiency investments.
Map of more than 3,300 businesses that saved money working with Efficiency Maine.
Map of businesses urging Legislature to support energy efficiency.
Profiles of energy efficiency savings in each Maine county.
Statement by Dylan Voorhees, NRCM Clean Energy Project Director
Watch VIDEO of press conference.