Upgrading an HVAC system can be a costly project, and even adding VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) is not a small investment. This is where utility incentives can come into play. Rebates for HVAC equipment and VFDs improve the ROI on projects by allowing you to achieve higher energy savings with more efficient equipment.
Utilities incentivize HVAC upgrades based on higher efficiency equipment that is typically measured by SEER and EER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and Energy Efficiency Ratio). Every utility varies – the higher the efficiency number the more efficient the equipment is and the utilities have varying standards on what the SEER or EER needs to be to qualify for rebates. Utilities pay incentives based on tons, BTUs or energy savings.
Utilities incentivize VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives) as an add-on piece of equipment that makes motors more efficient. Instead of upgrading your current HVAC system you can add-on a VFD to increase efficiency and collect an incentive if the utility in the area has a rebate for it. VFD rebates are largely calculated on the horsepower of the motor.
HVAC/VFD and LED lighting rebates are different. Lighting has the most rebate programs followed by HVAC and then VFDs. The key differentiator between LED lighting fixtures and HVAC/VFDs is that HVAC/VFDs require information about the pre-existing equipment or condition far less often than LEDs which reduces the complexity of getting this incentive. In short, HVAC/VFD rebates are easier to apply for than LED lights.
So, how can you find these incentives for HVAC and VFDs?
Of course, you can call the utility, but if you’re project scope changes or you have multiple projects (or a multi-site project), that can turn into a bit of a nightmare. A faster and more agile path would be to use the Encentivizer Platform. Encentivizer has 14 defined categories for tracking HVAC incentives and the rebate varies based on that category. VFDs have 26 types of motors in fans, pumps and compressors in 4 application areas (HVAC, agriculture, industrial, recreation) – this info is all in one place…Encentivizer.
Utilities vary widely on their categorization of the HVAC and VFDs. Encentivizer normalizes all the variations the utilities use to categorize HVAC and VFDs and incentives for them.
If you’re a current Encentivizer customer, you can expect to see both HVAC and VFD data sets released in Fall 2017. The HVAC/VFD data set will become available through Encentivzer tools: XL, the mobile app, Portfolio Awareness, Product Awareness and the new widget.
If you are interested in being a beta-testing partner, please reach out to us.
by Mike Cham, CTO