Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Business, Non-Profit, and Institutional Energy Savings Program

The Business, Non-Profit and Institutional Energy Savings Program (BNI) offers incentives to encourage Eligible Participants to choose high-efficiency products. Eligible participants can apply for the rebate upon installation of an approved high-efficiency motor, heating or lighting product, or they may choose to submit a pre-install application for approval prior to installation. Once approved and the products are installed, the eligible participant will receive a cheque that will help cover the cost of the equipment.

Products

What products will be rebated?

Please see the Eligible Prescriptive Measures List for the full index of products that are currently eligible for rebates.

I own a small business. How do I know which products to buy?

Energy Efficiency Alberta will be working with contractors and distributors throughout the Province to inform them of the eligible products for the program. We recommend speaking with a local contractor and they should be able to help you. If you don’t have a contractor, we recommend getting at least three quotes from different contractors.

We recommend signing up for Energy Efficiency Alberta’s online newsletter to ensure you’re up to date on program details and changes.

Please contact program representatives at BNI@ICF.com for additional support.

Am I going to need to purchase a certain product brand or can I purchase any product brand?

The current list of eligible products is available here. We are working diligently to ensure that the program is brand neutral, however there may be additional technical requirements to ensure safety and quality products for Albertans. As such, not necessarily every brand will be acceptable.

How is Energy Efficiency Alberta ensuring the quality of eligible products?

Products must meet the Canadian Certification Standards as outlined by the Standards Council Canada for product approval, or equivalent certification by an applicable Certification body such as ULc, ETLc, CSA, etc. Please see Electrical STANDATA for additional information regarding product approvals and certification bodies. There are many energy efficient products in the market, and more are added every day.  Therefore, Energy Efficiency Alberta relies on qualified third-party organizations (such as Energy Star and DLC) to ensure Albertans are getting quality products.

Please note that products must meet all program requirements, and just having DLC or Energy Star certification does not qualify a product for rebate.

What is DLC Qualified?

Design Lights Consortium (DLC) is a third party organization that sets a globally respected standard for energy efficient lighting performance and quality. To check for a lighting product’s qualification, please search the model number on the DLC website.

What is Energy Star Qualified?

Energy Star is a third party organization that sets a globally respected standard for performance and quality of energy efficient technology including lighting, furnaces, boilers, and water heaters. To check a product’s qualification, please search the model number on the Energy Star website.

Do I need a permit for the installation of energy efficient products?

The BNI program’s mandate is to provide incentives in the form of rebates to offset the cost of new equipment purchases. We are not involved in the permitting process, please contact your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). Your AHJ will be able to provide guidance on permitting requirements.

Will the program expand to include more products in the future?

At the time of program launch, Energy Efficiency Alberta released a list of eligible products. Going forward, the program will be evaluated at regular intervals to identify ways to improve program design. Evaluation criteria may include revisions to processes, rebates, eligibility requirements, or eligible products. Feedback from Albertans and the industry provides a key component to the ongoing improvement of the program and toward making the province more energy efficient. We will consider all suggestions for improvements to process and additional equipment. To send your suggestions, please send an email to BNI@ICF.com.

I have a product that I would like to add to the Eligible Measures List. How do I do that?

To provide stability and consistency to the program, the product list will be updated every six months. A survey will be sent out at those times to gather information about new products. Alternatively, you can email us at BNI@ICF.com to provide us with detailed information, preferably with a spec sheet attached, and your request will be included during the regularly scheduled reviews.

Participation

Who qualifies to participate in the program?

The BNI program is available to most buildings that are non-residential. This includes businesses, non-profits and institutions as well as co-operatives, and the non-residential (common) areas in multi-unit residential buildings. Other examples include but are not limited to schools, hospitals, universities, and airports. There are a few exceptions including: Large Final Emitters under the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation as well as facilities owned and operated by either the federal or provincial government; individual residences (house or apartment); and new construction. If you would like to clarify your facility’s eligibility please contact us.

How do I participate in the program?

There are 2 paths to participation: post-install application and pre-install application.  Pre-install application is optional. See the program application for more details. Further information about the post-install applications and pre-install applications is provided below.

Is there a qualified contractor list?

No, the BNI program is open to all contractors as well as customers with qualified in-house staff who want to self-install.

I’m a contractor/supplier. How do I participate?

All contractors and suppliers who sell/install eligible products are able to participate in this program. It has benefited contractors and suppliers to be informed about the rebates to help their customers identify eligible products. Contractors/suppliers, having in depth product knowledge, may choose to apply for the rebates on behalf of their customers.

Note, that only customers are eligible to receive rebate cheques.

Guidelines and tools for contractors involved in the promotion and delivery of Energy Efficiency Alberta programs can be found in the Contractor Resources.

I am an installer. Can I provide my customer a discount on their invoice and then collect the rebate myself?

No. Rebate cheques will flow directly from Energy Efficiency Alberta to the end customer who owns the building or leases the space in the building, and not to the installer.

We do not own our space. Can we still participate in the program?

Yes. Building ownership is not be a pre-condition for this specific program. However, renters need to ensure that the building owner approves of changes planned. The landlord or building owner must acknowledge and sign the Terms and Conditions for your participation.

Are multi-unit residential buildings eligible?

Yes, multi-unit residential properties (5+ units) are eligible, but only the common areas (outdoor lighting, front entrance, halls, offices, pools, parking lots, utility rooms etc.). The in-unit component (i.e. the residences) can apply for rebates under Energy Efficiency Alberta’s residential programs and are excluded from the BNI Program.

I manage a farm/food processing plant. Are we able to participate?

Yes you can participate in this program. However, the Government of Alberta also currently offers other energy efficiency programs targeting the farming/agricultural sector.

Please keep in mind, that if you’ve received a rebate for products under another program you can’t also get a rebate for the same product(s) under the BNI program.

I represent a non-profit organization. How can we participate?

The process for participation for non-profits is the same as for businesses and institutions. A non-profit can contact a local installer or supplier to purchase eligible products. Submit an application for pre-approval, or, once eligible products have been installed, submit a standard application either on paper or online. For support, please contact a program representative by emailing BNI@ICF.com.

I represent a non-profit organization. Do I need to have an audit completed through the Non-Profit Energy Efficiency Transition Program (NEET) in order to participate?

No. While it may be helpful for you to have a NEET audit, it is not necessary for participation in this program.

I took part in one of the Growing Forward or TAME Programs. Can I participate in this program too?

Yes, however, please keep in mind that if you’ve previously received a rebate for product(s) under either the Growing Forward or TAME programs you can’t also get a rebate for the same product(s) under the BNI program.

 

Post-install Applications vs. Pre-approval Applications

Should I go through post-install application or pre-approval application process?

The choice to select post-install application or pre-approval application is entirely up to the customer. There are no requirements for picking one over the other. With a post-install approval, products are purchased and installed and then the customer applies for a rebate after; for a pre-approval, an application is submitted prior to the purchase of products.

It is expected that most customers will choose to submit applications for post-install approval, but customers may decide to opt for pre-approval:

  • for long-term budgeting purposes
  • to ensure eligibility
  • to ensure available funding
What does post-install application approval involve?

For the post-install approval process, applicants need to submit an online application for the equipment already purchased and installed. Submit documentation, including an itemized invoice (with model number, quantity, unit price, total price), proof of payment (credit card receipt, accounting system screen shot, processed cheque), specification sheets for all proposed equipment, and a copy of the facilities electrical retailer bill.

What does pre-approval involve?

Pre-approval requires applicants to submit an online application for the equipment they would like to purchase prior to purchase. Submit documentation including an itemized price quote (with model number, quantity, unit price, total price), specification sheets for all proposed equipment, and a copy of the facilities electrical retailer bill. Once approved, funds will be reserved for 365 days. Before your rebate cheque is issued, ensure that all products are installed, and submit your itemized invoice and proof of payment.

What if I want to make changes to the pre-approval application I have already submitted?

Changes are acceptable for eligible products within the same product type (as determined by BNI code on the Eligible Measures List) but the total value of the pre-approved rebate cannot be exceeded. The date determined for the 365 day term of the pre-approval does not change.

Can I purchase and install product(s) before my pre-approval application is complete?

Yes, while your application is in review you can purchase and/or install. However, until you receive notification of ‘reserved’ status for your pre-approval application, the funds will not be guaranteed and we cannot confirm products are eligible for rebate. Before your rebate cheque is issued, ensure that all products are installed, and submit your itemized invoice and proof of payment.

Site Inspections

What is a site inspection and when will it occur?

Site inspections are performed to ensure that equipment that was claimed for rebates has been completely installed. Inspections will include checks to ensure that the product types and quantities installed exactly match the equipment identified in the application.

Site inspections will be scheduled after equipment is installed. Site inspections are required for all applications of $15,000 or more in rebates, and will also be performed for other randomly sampled applications of less than $15,000. Energy Efficiency Alberta reserves the right to inspect any project prior to issuing a rebate cheque.

Timing & Status of Application

When did the program launch?

The program launched May 18th 2017.

How long does it take to get my rebate?

From the time we receive all of the necessary information required to process the application, it takes approximately 20 business days for processing and cheques to be issued. If any of the required information was omitted or incorrect, or the application is incomplete, processing may be delayed. Energy Efficiency Alberta recommends submitting an online application to help ensure the process moves quickly.

Can I check on the status of my application?

Yes, applications can be checked online at Energy Efficiency Alberta’s website or by calling our call centre at 1-844-357-5604.

How long after I do the work can I submit an application?

An application can be submitted up to 3 months after the products were installed.

How long is a pre-approval valid?

Pre-approvals are valid for up to 365 days (1 year) from the date that the approval is granted. Applicants will receive an email acknowledging application approval.

Rebate Value & Multiple Applications

Is there a cap on incentives?

$60,000 per facility per year

Are there any exceptions to the $60,000 per site ID?

Yes. Please see the following exceptions:

  • Organizations with multiple buildings on the same property will be treated as if their properties are all separate facilities, and therefore may be eligible to receive up to $60,000 for each building despite only having a single site ID.
  • Tenants sharing a building (either horizontally in a strip mall or mall, or vertically in a high-rise) may each be able to qualify for up to $60,000 for their space.
  • Landlords/owners can’t claim more than $60,000 in a single enclosed building on behalf of the tenants despite metre numbers. Therefore, buildings with multiple site IDs qualify only as a single building.
  • In a case where tenants and landlords are responsible for separate components of a building, each would be able to upgrade their component of the building for up to the $60,000 rebate. For example, if a strip mall had 3 units where the tenants paid electricity but the landlord paid for gas heating, each tenant could apply for up to $60,000 for their unit, but the landlord would also be able to upgrade the heating system to a maximum of $60,000 for the building.
I would like to submit more than one application for a single site ID. Is this OK?

Yes, as long as you don’t exceed $60,000 per year you can stage your applications, or submit one through your HVAC contractor and one through your Lighting Contractor as an example.

I have a property with 2 site IDs can I combine them into one application?

No, in this case 2 separate applications will be required – one for each site ID.

How do I check on the application(s) I have submitted?

Once you login, click on ‘Manage Applications’ at the top of the screen.

Disposal of Lighting Products Containing Mercury

How can I properly dispose of old products?

This information is applicable to the following types of lighting:

  • Fluorescent Tubes
  • CFL Bulbs
  • Metal Halide
  • Sodium Vapour Lamps
  • Mercury Vapour Lamps

Issue:

These categories of lighting contain varying amounts of mercury and phosphor powder (with cadmium mixed with the phosphor). These heavy metals are toxic to humans, wildlife and can contaminate our landfills and waterways.

Current Status of Waste Classification:

Currently, under regulations with the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, these materials are not considered hazardous waste in Alberta. C-238, an Act respecting the development of a national strategy for the safe and environmentally sound disposal of lamps containing mercury, is currently under review.

Available Disposal Services:

Several communities throughout Alberta offer commercial and residential drop off and disposal services for these waste products. Several waste management companies throughout the province offer recycling services including the pick-up of waste.

Recycling Council of Alberta Hotline can assist you in finding appropriate waste disposal options in your community for lamps containing mercury. These recycling or disposal options are recommended to ensure for health and safety and to protect the environment.

Useful Links

BNI Links: