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Updated: April 22, 2024 Ask ACE

Ask ACE: What are some environmentally responsible energy strategies?

Q: Energy bills are a large portion of my company’s operating expenses and carbon footprint. What environmentally responsible energy strategies can we use to reduce costs and become more profitable?

ACE advises: Here are four ideas.

1. Track energy-use data and optimize: The largest energy use reductions usually involve replacing old equipment, but even a simple and thorough energy performance evaluation will yield actionable insights for significant cost savings. If you have a decent energy management system in your building, you should be able to mine it for meaningful data. If not, ask your utility for information about programs you can take advantage of to capture more data related to your building’s energy consumption.

2. Use technological innovations: Prices for advanced energy-efficient equipment have never been lower. Lighting and HVAC manufacturers are constantly innovating to help their customers lower their energy usage while offering productivity gains.

3. Take advantage of savings incentives: Most Maine businesses can tap incentives offered by Efficiency Maine to upgrade and install energy-efficient equipment. Further, state and federal tax benefits can also reduce the effective up-front cost of using cleantech and efficiency to reduce their energy costs. The only catch is that these lucrative incentive programs are not going to be around forever.

4. Question your bill: Finally, double-check your energy bills to see if you are on the correct rate class for your business type and load. If your utility has made a mistake, demand a fix and ask for a refund for past overcharges. Don’t forget that most Maine businesses can sign up with a competitive energy supplier that may offer a better rate than the utility’s default. Negotiate your way to a lower bill, even if you can’t reduce your consumption.

Sam Milton is the owner of Climate Resources Group, a Maine-based company that connects businesses with financial incentives to afford clean energy and energy efficiency in their operations. Learn more at, and you can reach Sam at

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