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Energy Answers for your Business

  • You asked. We listened.

    Energy Answers for your Business is designed for you. Your questions on energy-related topics can be submitted at any time to our energy experts. Just click here to submit your question, and if chosen, it will be answered here. See below for answers to questions that your peers have already asked.

    Can you do these 5 things with your Email or Online Bill?

    Kena Williams works to deliver a flawless billing and payment experience for our customers.

    Question:

    Yes or no? Can you do these 5 things with your Email or Online Bill?

    Answer:

    Whether you’re one of our nearly 2 million customers receiving FPL Email Bill® or you still get a paper bill mailed to you, there are several new upgrades that are making it even easier to do the things you want to do with your bill. Every customer has access to an online version of their bill which allows them to print bills, access billing and payment history and view energy usage easier than ever. If you’re an Email Bill customer, you have access to even more features, including one-click access to paying, printing and more – straight from your inbox. We upgraded these tools based on customer feedback and we’re still listening. In fact, here are five tips for using either your online bill or email bill, based on questions from customers, like you.

    1. I like my new online bill. Can I print it for my records? Yes! Your newly upgraded online bill is easier to download, save and print. In fact, it now fits on one page. If you’re an FPL Email Bill® customer, you have even more features, such as the ability to download, print and save your bill right from your email with one click. Simply select the “Download Bill” link on your Email Bill. If you’re not an Email Bill customer, but log into FPL.com to view your bill online, you can print your bill from your Account Summary and View Bill pages. From Account Summary, click on the PDF “Print & Save” icon at the top of the page. From your View Bill page, click on the “Download Bill” button.
    2. Can see how much energy I’m using? You can! Customers can now see how much energy they’re using and find new ways to save because we added valuable energy usage information right to your Online and Email bill. The new FPL Email Bill makes it easier to get this information. With one click right from your email, you can access comparative tables and graphs that help you see changes in energy use habits from month-to-month and year-to-year.
    3. I’m afraid I’ll forget to pay if I sign-up for Email Bill. Don’t worry, we’ll remind you. As an Email Bill customer, we automatically send you a reminder to pay if you haven’t done so three days before your bill is due. We also recommend the fail-safe plan for remembering to pay your bill on time – signing-up for FPL Automatic Bill Pay®. You can choose to have your payment deducted anytime between 11 to 21 days after your FPL Email Bill is sent.
    4. I tried FPL Email Bill before but could never remember my login information to view my bill details. This was a common challenge and one of the first improvements we made. Now, customers enrolled in FPL Email Bill are able to access their bill on FPL.com in one click. We call it “one-click access” and think you’re going to really enjoy this new, secure way of accessing the most popular billing and payment features. To learn more about the new Email Bill, visit www.FPL.com/newupgrade.
    5. I am a realtor and I want to see last year’s billing and payment breakdown. How do I get a printout of activity in 2013? We designed the new Online Bill and Email Bill with this mind. That’s why you can now access up to 24 months of billing history anytime online. In one-click from your Email Bill, you will be taken to your online bill where you can view your billing and payment history. With FPL Email Bill, we can serve as your filing cabinet and help you clear away the clutter.

    With a brand new design and increased functionality, it is now easier than ever to read and pay your bill right from your inbox. These are just a few ways we’ve improved your billing and payment experience. For more information about the upgrades we’ve made to your email and online bill, visit www.FPL.com/newupgrade.

    Leaving A/C on overnight vs. turning it off – what’s best?

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    Will it help to turn my air conditioner off every night to save on my electric bill?
    - Josette S. from North Miami Beach

    Answer:

    Whenever you turn off your A/C or raise the thermostat, you’ll always save money. Even if your cooling system has to play “catch up” in the morning when you bring the temperature back down, it is still more economical than keeping an unoccupied building cool all night long. However, while it may be more economical, there are downsides to turning off your A/C completely, or letting your building get too warm.

    Comfort level

    There’s nothing worse than coming into a warm and stuffy building first thing in the morning. If the A/C is kept off until the work day begins, it could take a while to get the temperature to a level that’s comfortable for employees and customers. We recommend turning down the A/C early enough to achieve a cool comfort level by the time employees arrive in the morning. Programmable thermostats can help you do this. In terms of how long it might take you to cool down your building, every facility is different due to its size, equipment, and cooling system. So you’ll have to determine what works best for you.

    Other cooling tips

    Because air conditioning is a top contributor to your energy costs, we suggest keeping your thermostat set to 78 degrees during the day, when the building is in use. If you prefer to keep your cooling system on overnight, 82 degrees could be a good setting to try. We don’t recommend turning off your cooling system for long periods of time, like a whole weekend, because humidity can seep in whenever your HVAC system isn’t running.

    We hope you found this Energy Answer column helpful. If you have an energy-related question pertaining to your business, just submit your question here. Or, get personalized energy advice by scheduling a free FPL Business Energy Evaluation.

    Energy-efficient LED street and road lights

    Enrique Formoso manages FPL’s street light programs & helps find new technology to save customers money.

    Question:

    I would like to change my existing parking lights to LED fixtures. Does FPL have a program that I can use?
    - Tomasz M. from West Palm Beach, Fla.

    Answer:

    Customers can purchase energy-efficient LED street and road lights under FPL’s Premium Lighting Program. We’re always looking for ways to leverage technology to help our customers and are pleased to now offer a variety of advanced roadway and street lights that are more environmentally friendly and will help our customers like you save money.

    We provide a range of LED lighting options - including post-top, side mount and roadway fixtures - to help convert existing lights to energy-efficient LED technology.

    Compared to traditional sodium-vapor lighting technology, LEDs offer the following improvements:

    • Efficiency: LED lighting is more energy efficient, which offers cost savings of approximately 60 percent
    • Appearance: LED lighting is whiter, brighter and more consistent
    • Environmental benefits: LED lighting does not use mercury

    For more information and to request a price quote, visit www.FPL.com/newstreetlights.

    What’s the cause of higher summer bills?

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    My bill was much higher compared to last month, and I haven’t done anything differently. What caused this?
    - Peter L. from North Miami Beach

    Answer:

    No one likes surprises, particularly when it comes to your expenses. When you haven’t changed your habits, it’s understandable how a higher than normal bill might not seem to make sense. But, while you haven’t changed anything, the weather has changed.

    High temperatures = higher bills
    Even if you never change the thermostat setting, as the days get longer and hotter, the cooling system in your business needs to run longer to keep employees and customers comfortable.

    For example, in hotter months, your HVAC system can run up to twice as long as it does in cooler months. Think of it this way: if the outside temperature is 80 degrees and you have the thermostat set to 78 degrees, then your system needs to cool your business just 2 degrees. However, when it’s 90 degrees outside, it needs to cool your business 12 degrees, running longer to keep the indoor temperature at 78 degrees. Your cooling system is one of the largest energy users for your business. So, when it’s running longer, your bill will be higher.

    Other factors
    Another reason your bill may seem higher than normal is the variation in billing cycle service days. The number of days included in your monthly bill can vary from 28 to 35 days due to holidays and other factors. So even if you use the same amount of electricity per day, your bill may be higher, or lower, from one month to the next depending on the number of days of service included in your bill.

    Make your bill lower
    As an FPL customer, you have one of the lowest electric bills in the state, but we always want to help you make your bill even lower. Here are a few things that can help you better manage your business expenses: 

    Top savings tips for your business include:

    • Keeping your thermostat at 78 degrees or warmer with the fan on “auto” and raising the thermostat setting to 82 degrees while your business is closed
    • Closing shades and blinds to keep the sun’s heat out. Also, consider installing window tinting on any windows with a westerly exposure, which lets in direct sunlight, to save energy even further.

     

    Schedule a Business Energy Evaluation for energy-saving solutions tailored to your business’ unique energy needs. One of our Energy Experts will come to your business, evaluate your energy use and provide free, personalized recommendations.

    View your personal Business Energy Dashboard if you have an activated smart meter, to see how the outside temperature and other factors impact your bill by month, day and hour. Be sure to look for energy use at unexpected times, a possible sign of equipment running when you’re not aware of it.

    Sign up for FPL Budget Billing® to make your expenses more predictable and say goodbye to summer bill fluctuations. While not a savings plan, this program evens out your annual energy costs so you pay approximately the same amount each month.

    We’re always working to provide electricity you can count on at the lowest cost, while helping you find ways to make your bill even lower.

    Top 5 ways to get storm info

    Julie Nicholas loves sharing “news you can use” such as facts about FPL services and money-saving tips.

     

     

     

    Question:

    How can I stay informed if a hurricane hits our area?
    - Sue T. from Palm Beach Gardens

    Answer:

    If you’ve been through a major storm here in Florida, you know how important information can be before, during and after a hurricane. As the storm approaches, protecting your business and keeping employees safe are your top priorities. Then, after it’s all over, you want to know how quickly your business will get back up and running.

    That’s why we’re always here to help you get the information you need. Here are the top five ways to get updates from FPL on your mobile device or tablet:

    1. Sign up for email alerts: Get preparation tips and restoration updates by email. If you already receive emails from FPL, check to see if you're signed up for hurricane updates. 
    2. Visit FPL.com: This is your mobile-friendly, one-stop-spot to check on outages using FPL Power Tracker, report an outage online and more.
    3. “Like” our Facebook page: We’re also here for you on Facebook at FPLconnect. Check back regularly for ongoing updates.
    4. Follow us on Twitter: Is Twitter more your style? Frequent storm updates are available for you @InsideFPL.
    5. Use our Storm Center: See how you can prepare – get safety tips and find the answers to our most frequently asked questions.

     

    Don’t forget, FPL and emergency officials will always provide updates through the local news media. So, always try to have a radio with batteries on hand in case you’re unable to get updates via your mobile device, internet or TV.

    Staying connected is extremely important during storm season. All of us here are committed to keeping you informed each and every day, especially when you need us most.

    Get money back on your bill with On Call

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    We’d love to make our bill even lower. Can you help?
    - Cindy N. from Oakland Park

    Answer:

    Hi Cindy,
    We are always looking for ways to help our business customers save money and there are a number of things you can do, but probably the easiest thing you can do is to enroll in our On Call® program.

    When you volunteer to enroll in On Call, you help us meet the power needs of all customers when demand for energy is highest. In exchange for your participation, we’ll give you money back on your electric bill.

    Here’s how it works:

    • FPL will connect a small energy-management device to your Direct Expansion (DX) air conditioner (A/C).
    • We may occasionally turn off your A/C remotely for short periods of time (15 minutes – or up to 17.5 minutes at a time, if necessary – every half hour with a cumulative interruption time of up to 2.5 hours within an eight-hour window, excluding emergency conditions).
    • You will receive a monthly credit on your bill from April to October, even if we never turn off your equipment – your total savings will depend on the tonnage (size) of your A/C.

     

    To qualify for On Call, your business must normally operate between 3 - 5 p.m. at least four days a week.

    Breaking down the savings
    You will save $2 per ton for each of the seven months your A/C is On Call.

    For example, if you have a ten-ton A/C unit, you will save a total of $140 per year (10 tons x $2 = $20 per month, $20 x 7 months = $140).

    If you have an even larger A/C, you can save even more. Customers with a 40 ton A/C could save up to $560 a year.

    How to enroll:
    Schedule a Business Energy Evaluation and an FPL energy expert will visit your business to determine eligibility.

    Other ways to save:
    When our energy expert visits your business, they will perform a Business Energy Evaluation and will provide you with a customized plan to help you save energy and money at your business. They will also tell you about programs which can help offset the cost of making energy efficiency upgrades.

    Turning computers off vs. sleep mode

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    What saves the most money? Putting my computer in sleep mode or turning it off and on when I need it?
    - Anastasia R. from Venice, Fla.

    Answer:

    Every dollar counts towards your bottom line. That’s why we recommend you turn off your office computer when you are not using it. Another best practice is to activate the sleep mode on your computer and monitor. These features can help your business save money and are easy to implement.

    Cost comparison
    So what if you left your computer on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? Here’s approximately how much it would cost:

    • Powered on: $89 per year
    • Sleep mode: $20 per year – nearly a $70 savings

     

    These estimates are based on one desktop computer with an LCD screen. Laptops actually use less energy.

    Myth busted

    A question we often get is whether or not it costs more money to power a computer back up after turning it off. Generally, the extra savings you get from turning your computer off far outweigh the extra power used when starting it up the next time it’s needed.

    Everyday tips

    Here are some general guidelines for the most-efficient computer use:

    • Turn off the monitor if you aren't going to use your computer for more than 20 minutes.
    • Turn off both the computer and monitor if you're not going to use your computer for more than 2 hours.

     

    Visit energy.gov for more energy-efficient computer recommendations. We can also help you find ways to save with our free Business Energy Evaluation.

     

    Vending machines: cost to run vs. profit

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    How much does it cost to run a soda vending machine? It is an older machine and I need to know if it pays for itself.
    -Tina D., Port St. Lucie

    Answer:
    A typical refrigerated vending machine can use 2,500 to 4,400 kilowatt-hours of energy per year. That means the average cost to run one machine can range from $250 to $440 annually.

    As with most appliances or equipment, the newer the model, the more efficient it is. So, if your profit margin from your soda sales isn’t as much as you’d like, you may want to consider taking your proceeds and reinvesting them into an ENERGY STAR-qualified vending machine equipped with higher efficiency compressors, fan motors, lighting systems and smart software. These vending options can use 50 percent less energy than conventional models.  Additionally, you may want to consider using occupancy sensors, which turn off the machine’s lights when no one is around, to reduce operating costs.

    If you’d like to learn more ways to save in your business, we can help. Just schedule a free, in-person Business Energy Evaluation with one of our Energy Experts.

    Additional resources: E Source and ENERGY STAR

     

    Energy tips for my business

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    What are some no-cost or low-cost energy tips for my business?

    Answer:

    We’re here to help business owners trim costs and gain control over their energy usage. Fortunately, making energy-saving changes doesn’t have to be a big capital expense. Here are some of our top no-cost or low-cost ways to be more energy-efficient:

    1. Enable the sleep mode on office computers to achieve savings up to $20 per year for each computer.
    2. Save up to 30 percent by using smart power strips to regulate energy use on equipment such as computers, copiers and printers.
    3. Installing occupancy sensors in rooms in your facility that are not always in use could reduce your total lighting costs by 15 percent.
    4. Save $30 or more in electricity with each replacement of a traditional incandescent light bulb for a Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) or light-emitting diodes (LED) over its lifetime. They use 75-80 percent less energy and last 10-25 times longer.

     

     

    See more tips for curbing energy costs. Or, if you want more personalized tips geared to your specific business, just schedule a free Business Energy Evaluation with one of our energy experts. We’ll evaluate your business’s energy use and give you a customized report with energy-saving solutions. Let us help you find ways to save and make your electric bill even lower today.

     

    Leave lights on or turn off?

    Kathy Schmitt is a member of FPL's Business Program Management team, overseeing the Business Lighting and Building Envelope programs.

     


    Question:
    I was once told that it takes more energy to turn a light on and off than it does to just leave it on for 10 minutes or so. Is this true?
    Patricia H., Boca Raton

    Answer:

    There is a little extra electricity involved in turning a light on due to more power needed during startup. However, the amount used is less than it would be if you leave lights on. Therefore, we typically recommend turning off lights whenever they are not needed.

    Factors you may want to consider, though, are the lifespan of the bulb, its efficiency and whether it has a warm-up stage after it’s turned on. The cost effectiveness of turning off lights depends on the type of bulb.

    Linear fluorescent and CFL Lighting
    For fluorescent lighting, the answer depends on the frequency and length of time you turn your lights on and off. The operating life of linear fluorescent and CFL bulbs is affected by the number of times they are switched on and off. You can generally extend the life of these bulbs by switching them on and off less frequently.

    You’ll save energy by turning the light off, so you’ll need to determine if the savings outweighs the cost of replacing the light bulb if it fails early due to frequent switching.

    LED Lighting
    The operating life of an LED is unaffected by being turned on and off. Therefore, it’s always best to turn them off whenever they are not needed.

    Halogen lighting
    Halogen bulbs, while more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs, are less efficient than CFLs and LEDs. They should be turned off when they’re not in use.

    High-energy discharge (HID) lighting
    HID lighting, such as metal halide bulbs, have to warm up after being turned on. They also have a cool-down state after being turned off, during which they can’t restart. Therefore, they should only be turned off when they will remain shut down for longer than 15 minutes. 

    Incandescent Lighting
    Incandescent lights should be turned off whenever they are not needed, because they are the least efficient type of lighting. Ninety percent of the energy they use is given off as heat, and only about 10 percent results in light.

     

    Holiday lighting tips

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    What is the safest, most efficient way to use holiday lights during the festive season?
    – Robert R., Boynton Beach

    Answer:

    If you decorate your business this year to add holiday cheer, follow these tips to help keep you and your customers safe:

    • Use LED lights whenever possible. They burn at a cooler temperature than traditional bulbs and use 90 percent less electricity.
    • When using ladders to install lights, look up and look out! Be aware of the location of power lines, staying at least 10 feet away.
    • Only use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside. Always use the correct type and wattage of bulbs for your display, and don’t plug in more than three strands of lights per extension cord or outlet.
    • Use timers to control your lights when your business is closed. Don’t leave holiday lights on overnight.

    In fact, it’s safest to switch them off when you leave your premises. Always use quality lighting products in the proper way to reduce the chance of electrical shock and fire. See more lighting tips for your business.

     

    Tankless water heaters

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    Are tankless water heaters better than traditional water heaters?
    - Felix, G. Miami

    Answer:

    This type of upgrade is definitely one of those situations where you need to weigh the pros and cons to determine what’s best for your individual business.

    The “pros”

    The main advantage of tankless water heaters is that they take up less space. You’ll also see some energy savings, typically less than 10 percent, because tankless systems heat water only when hot water is needed. That means you avoid the small amount of heat that escapes from a traditional hot water storage tank.

    The “cons”

    The downside of electric tankless water heaters is that they can have substantially higher power requirements than a conventional water heater. In fact, it takes two to six times more power for a tankless heater to instantly heat the water as it flows through the pipe. This can result in the need to upgrade the electrical wiring and circuit breakers at your business—added expenses that may make tankless heaters a cost-prohibitive option for you.

    Learn more about water heating and see if your business is eligible for savings through FPL’s Water Heating Program.

     

    Incentives for tinting windows

    Kathy Schmitt is a member of FPL's Business Program Management team, overseeing the Business Lighting and Building Envelope programs.

     


    Question:
    Does FPL offer incentives for tinting windows that face east?
    - Cristobal P., Weston

    Answer:

    Window treatments, such as tinting, can go a long way toward improving energy efficiency. FPL’s incentive program for window tinting applies to qualifying glass facing west, southwest or northwest, where long hours of afternoon sun take a harsh toll on air conditioning.

    This incentive of up to $1 per square foot of glass rewards businesses for several types of window treatments, including solar film, solar screens and high-efficiency window replacements. To qualify, the treatment or replacement window must be installed by a Participating Independent Contractor. Although your east-facing window doesn’t qualify for a tinting incentive, our complete list of energy efficiency programs and incentives can help you find other ways to save money and energy.

     

    Federal, State and FPL air conditioning incentives

    Israel Cuervo-Fernandez is a member of FPL's Business Program Management team, overseeing the HVAC program. He has worked at FPL for over seven years and is a Florida Licensed Mechanical Engineer as well as Certified Energy Manager

     


    Question:
    Please explain the various federal, state and FPL financial incentives when air conditioning equipment is replaced by more energy efficient equipment.
    Joe D., West Palm Beach

    Answer:

    If you’re thinking of upgrading your old cooling system to a more efficient one or installing a system in a new facility, there are several ways you can save.

    First, you may be eligible for incentives from FPL. While rebate amounts vary with the equipment type, size and efficiency level of the system, the following units may qualify:

    • Air, water and evaporative-cooled air conditioners and heat pumps
    • Room unit air conditioners and heat pumps
    • Water source, groundwater source and ground source coded heat pumps
    • Package terminal air conditioners or heat pump systems
    • Units that exceed the Florida Building Code by at least 7 percent

    Federal tax deductions may also be available for systems placed in service by Dec. 31, 2013. These deductions range from a partial deduction of 60 cents per square foot to up to $1.80 per square foot depending on the system implemented and anticipated savings. The ENERGY STAR website is your best resource for finding additional information. You can check for State energy efficiency incentives anytime by visiting the State of Florida website.

     

    How does my new smart meter help me lower my bill?

    Elaine Hinsdale, a Floridian for more than 30 years, is a member of FPL’s communications team. She helps customers understand how to monitor their energy usage using smart grid technology and promotes the benefits of a smarter electric grid in the community.

     


    Question:
    How do I find out how to save money and energy for my business using my smart meter?
    Nancy M., Port Charlotte

    Answer:

    While the new meters don’t actually save money, they operate like the old meters, tracking the amount of electricity used at a particular address so FPL can bill you properly. But the new smart meter technology does give customers greater visibility of their electric usage.

    Small- or medium-sized businesses with an activated smart meter can now take more control of their energy use by accessing their business Energy Dashboard.

    So log into your account on FPL.com and check out your monthly, daily and hourly views of your electricity use as well as a bill projection tool that can help you forecast upcoming use and budget your business’s energy costs. This added visibility to your energy use can help you evaluate if there’s something that could be affecting your bill, so you can act on it. For example, if your energy use is inconsistent with your times of operation, then maybe you have equipment running that you don’t know about or possibly your timers aren’t set right. Pinpointing the cause can help you make energy-saving changes.

    You can also use the Energy Dashboard to compare average temperature and humidity data to your electricity use. If your consumption changes dramatically with the weather, it may be time to make efficiency upgrades to your building’s roof, ceilings or windows - the items that help keep the cold air in and the hot air out. Another consideration would be having your air-conditioning system checked to ensure it’s running efficiently.

    Learn more about the features of an Energy Dashboard. Or, log in to your account and click on “Billing and Usage History” to see if you have a dashboard.

     

    How long it takes to restore power after storms

    Michael Jarro is director of network operations for FPL. He oversees the company’s emergency preparedness and processes for restoring power safely and quickly after a storm.

     

     

    Question:
    If there was a hurricane, how long would it take to restore power?
    Mariela D., West Palm Beach, FL

     

    Answer:

    Without a storm on the horizon, it’s hard to say how long it could take to restore power. Each storm is different, with different restoration challenges like flooding or hard-to-reach damage. But, our mission after a storm is always the same—to get our communities and businesses back up and running quickly. In fact, we’re always looking for ways to make restoration faster and there are several ways we do that.

    Calling in reinforcements

    When strong storms approach, we get a head start on response time by pre-positioning workers and equipment, while actively securing additional restoration workers from out of state. Having these reinforcements ready helps us restore power to communities faster. As soon as it’s safe, these crews begin working following our time-tested restoration plan and they won’t stop until everyone’s lights are back on.

    Technology and investments speeding restoration

    Another way we’re making restoration faster is with technology. Our smart grid can help us pinpoint the location of outages and send crews to make repairs faster. We’re also accelerating our ongoing work to strengthen the system that brings power to your business. Learn how we’ll be investing approximately half a billion dollars over the next three years to strengthen our grid against severe weather—work that will help to reduce outages and speed restoration.

    Keeping informed

    If a hurricane knocks out your power, you can get the latest information about restoration efforts via Twitter, Facebook, our online Power Tracker and our storm site. We also encourage you to sign up to get email updates from us.

     

    "Spray on" insulation

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers.

     


    Question:
    What can you tell me about this new "spray on" insulation that some businesses are using on the underside of their roof? Also, is the old attic insulation still needed after the product is applied?
    – Bob G., Bradenton

    Answer:

    If you would like to increase your attic insulation level, spray foam insulation may be a good option for you. It can be sprayed into walls, ceilings, floors, crawlspaces and attics at any point. Insulation like rigid foam board may be installed under roofing material when installing a new roof.​

    If your building has a sealed, unvented attic, spraying foam on the underside of the roof provides increased savings compared to other attic insulation products. In fact, spray foam insulation can seal the attic from outside air and provide an insulating value of R19, the recommended level. Attic insulation helps to keep your interior temperature at a comfortable level while your A/C unit doesn’t have to run as much.

    Also, although your existing attic insulation may no longer provide much benefit, it can often be cost prohibitive to remove existing insulation. There is no harm in leaving the old insulation when applying new spray foam insulation. Find out about FPL’s Business Ceiling Insulation rebates.

     

    Window tinting

    Kathy Schmitt is a member of FPL's Business Program Management team, overseeing the Business Lighting and Building Envelope programs.

     


    Question:
    I have a picture window with a southern exposure in the front of my business. The sun causes severe heat throughout the day. Is there a rebate available from FPL for having window tinting installed? If so, what is the procedure for applying for the rebate?
    Joe T., Sarasota

     

    Answer:

    Your plan to defend your business against harsh sunrays is a wise one.

    Installing window tinting can go a long way toward conserving energy while making the environment more comfortable for employees. It can also save flooring, furniture and fabrics from early demise to fading.

    FPL's Business Building Envelope Program offers an incentive of up to $1 per square foot for window treatments of qualifying glass facing west, southwest or northwest. Eligible treatment types include solar film, solar screens and high-efficiency window replacements.

    Given your description of “severe heat” radiating into your building, it’s likely that your front window faces southwest. If this is the case, simply follow these three steps to get started on your window-treatment rebate process:

    1. Select a qualifying energy-efficient window treatment.
    2. Search for an FPL Participating Independent Contractor.
    3. Contact your participating independent contractor to get started.

     

    There may be additional ways to reduce energy costs and gain FPL rebates for your business. To learn more about our Business Building Envelope Program and other available incentives, visit http://www.fpl.com/business/energy_saving/programs/exterior/window.shtml.

     

    Lighting Retrofits

    Kathy Schmitt is a member of FPL's Business Program Management team, overseeing the Business Lighting and Building Envelope programs.

     


    Question:
    Can you tell me if there are any rebates on retrofitting our 400-watt HID (high-intensity discharge) lighting to an induction light, approximately 200 watts? We have 40 lights that we would like to change.

     

    Answer:

    Yes, FPL offers an incentive of $15 per fixture for qualifying induction lamps installed by an FPL participating independent contractor (PIC). Information on incentives and PICs is available at www.FPL.com/bizlighting.

    While certain induction products do qualify, this is not a common retrofit, as induction lighting systems can be more expensive than other efficient lighting technologies.  However, the life of induction is much longer – usually 100,000 hours compared to the 15,000-20,0000-hour life of a 400-watt metal halide HID lamp – so fixtures that have high maintenance costs, such as ones that are hard to reach and costly to replace, are often a good fit for this type of bulb.  The lamp you select is truly dependent on your facility’s individual needs, so it is always best to get a professional opinion – and you can start with one of FPL’s PICs. 

    More common retrofits for a 400-watt metal halide HID lamp include:

    • A pulse-start metal halide with electronic ballasts: Compared to a more traditional “probe-start” HID lamp, pulse-start metal halides offer a number of benefits, including: brighter light; more lumens per watt for greater efficiency; improved light output over time; a faster startup to achieve full brightness more quickly; and longer lamp life, which results in fewer replacements and lower maintenance costs over time.
    • T5 high-output (T5HO) linear fluorescents with electronic ballasts:  Also known as F-bay by the industry, a replacement T5HO lamp is much more efficient. A typical four-lamp fixture replacement uses approximately 200 watts of electricity, compared to the more than 400 watts used by a 400-watt metal halide.  New T5HO lamps also produce better light and color quality, experience less light loss over the course of their lives, and provide instant-on characteristics to achieve full brightness immediately. The lamp life is similar to 400-watt HIDs.

     

    For more information on fluorescent lamps, you may also visit FPL’s Business Energy Advisor online for helpful information on Full-Size Fluorescent Lamps or schedule a Business Energy Evaluation for more customized tips for your business.

     

    Energy Usage: CFL vs. LED light bulbs

    Kathy Schmitt is a member of FPL's Business Program Management team, overseeing the Business Lighting and Building Envelope programs.

     


    Question:
    Which light bulb is better to use, CFL or LED? Should I be concerned about the mercury in CFL bulbs?

    Answer:

    The light bulb market is advancing at an astonishing rate as manufacturers race to create more and more efficient lighting that’s pleasing to the eye and easy on the budget. Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs both have brought huge efficiency improvements over the traditional bulb.

    CFLs are a better value

    All things considered, CFL may be the better value for your workplace than today’s LED options. Both bulbs emit less heat and last longer than the traditional bulb, but CFLs cost significantly less up front than LEDs while providing better distribution of light. A series of LED bulb studies sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy cited insufficient light output and inconsistent color quality among a range of LED models. According to Energy Star, CFLs can save you more than $50 in electricity (over the life of the lamp) over a traditional bulb and are available for most types of fixtures in your business.

     

    Perspective on mercury levels

    CFLs do contain a small amount of mercury—an average of four milligrams per bulb. This amount reflects a drop in CFL mercury content of about 20 percent in recent years. For perspective, an old mercury thermometer contains about 500 mg of mercury.

    How to safely handle and dispose of CFLs

    The mercury sealed inside the CFL tube is not released as long as the bulb remains unbroken. Always screw and unscrew CFL bulbs by holding the base, not the glass, and never forcefully twist the CFL into a light socket. If a CFL bulb does break or burn out, follow the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommendations for recycling and/or disposing of CFLs safely.

    To see how you can obtain an incentive for lighting upgrades to your business, visit. www.fpl.com/bizlighting

     

    Energy Phantoms

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers
    to figure out how you can save by managing your energy use.

     


    Question:
    Why do plugged-in electric items use electricity when turned off? If current isn't flowing, why are they taking power? -- John D., St. Augustine

    Answer:
    What you’re describing is called energy phantoms, or “phantom loads.” Many devices used in your home or business consume electricity even when they are turned “off.” Current continues to flow, keeping them ready to operate at all times. That’s why adapters plugged into the wall feel slightly warm even when not in use.

     

    Fortunately, these energy phantoms account for only a tiny fraction of the energy use compared to when devices are “on.“ But, in an office or workplace, where you may have a number of electronic devices per employee, these costs can really add up.

    Common energy phantoms in the workplace include anything operating in standby mode, with a power adaptor or transformer (often seen as a cube on the cord), or showing a constant digital display. Phantoms include items like:

    • Copiers, printers and fax machines
    • Computers and computer monitors
    • Computer speakers
    • Cell phone chargers

     

    The best ways to keep energy phantoms at bay is by:

    • Unplugging devices when they are not in use.
    • Plugging multiple 'phantoms' into one power strip so that you can quickly and easily cut off power completely to multiple devices with one switch. Just be sure your computer doesn’t need to be left on overnight for software updates. If that’s the case, a “smart strip” might be the way to go. Smart strips will keep power flowing to devices that need it, while fully powering down non-essential items.
    • Purchasing ENERGY STAR® qualified electronics when possible so that even when your devices are consuming a phantom load, they are consuming less energy.

     

    Visit our Top Tips for businesses to learn additional ways to conserve energy.

    A/C units: energy-efficient and solar-powered

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers
    to figure out how you can save by managing your energy use.

     


    Question:
    I need to purchase a new rooftop A/C for a 1,400-square-foot space. Where can I find information on energy-efficient units? Also, are solar-powered units available? -- Michael B., Bonita Springs

    Answer:
    Air conditioning (A/C) is typically the largest part of a company’s energy consumption, so selecting a more energy efficient option is a great choice to help lower your electric bill. Further savings can also be realized through FPL's Business Direct-Expansion (DX) A/C Program, which helps businesses offset the costs of a new, qualified A/C unit. To get started, I suggest that you do the following:

     

    • Find an FPL Participating Independent Contractor: Finding a PIC for FPL's Business Direct-Expansion A/C Program will help you understand what size A/C unit would be optimal for your business.*
    • Participate in FPL’s Business DX A/C Program:  As mentioned above, this program will provide incentives based on the size, the type, and the efficiency of the new unit. Once the work is complete, and has been approved by FPL, the rebate will be paid to the customer or designated vendor. Qualifying units must meet set criteria, including exceeding Florida’s building code by 7 percent. 

    As you go through this process, remember that a high-efficiency unit may cost more initially, but the operating cost savings could more than pay for the cost of upgrading the efficiency over time.  Here are the types of savings you might expect from qualifying DX air conditioners based on the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) (measure of cooling-mode efficiency representing ratio of total cooling capacity to electrical energy input) and hours of operation:

    Typical Annual Savings vs EER and Hours of Operation for DX Air Conditioners

    Hours of Operation

    13.5

    14.0

    14.5

    15.0

    1000

     $20

     $39

     $56

     $73

    1500

     $23

     $45

     $65

     $83

    2500

     $29

     $56

     $81

     $105

    3500

     $35

     $68

     $98

     $126

    4500

     $41

     $79

     $115

     $148

    5500

     $47

     $91

     $132

     $170

    6500

     $53

     $102

     $148

     $191

    7500

     $59

     $114

     $165

     $213

    8500

     $65

     $125

     $182

     $234

    Based on an existing 5-ton unit with an EER of 13, operating 10 months a year at .053 $/kwh and  $10 / kwd rate plus 10% tax.

    The additional investment in an efficient A/C should ideally be offset by energy savings. Unfortunately, while there is at least one major brand of solar-powered commercial A/C units available, the upfront costs of a solar unit cannot be offset by bill savings at this time. The decision to purchase a solar A/C unit would be made for environmental reasons.

    For additional advice from an FPL energy expert on upgrading to a high-efficiency system, or qualifying for our DX A/C Program, you can schedule a free Business Energy Evaluation.

    *PIC search applies if you’re pursuing a unit 5 tons or smaller.

    Energy Usage: LED vs. LCD monitors

    Craig Muccio runs FPL's Conservation Research & Development Program and crunches the numbers
    to figure out how you can save by managing your energy use.

     


    Question:
    At work, we operate about 200 computers, and 90 percent of them have two monitors. If I change all of the monitors from LCD to LED, what will I save in a year? – Hernan D., Miami

    Answer:
    Continual improvements in design and manufacturing have made the computer technology we use in our homes and offices much more energy-efficient.

     

    Consumers are most likely to purchase a liquid crystal display (LCD) or a light emitting diode (LED) computer monitor, both of which demand a fraction of the CRT’s energy usage. When comparing the energy efficiency of LCD models to LED models, the most significant difference is the number of watts needed to power the monitor. An average LCD monitor requires about 28 watts, while an average LED monitor requires about half that amount, or 14 watts.

    Assuming your office monitors are in use about eight hours and in sleep mode for 16 hours a day, five days a week, the LCD monitors require about $9 of electricity annually, and the LED monitors require about $4 annually. By switching, you have the potential to save about $5 per monitor, or about $1,000 a year.

     

    Does FPL support electric vehicles?

    Anne-Louise Seabury is FPL’s Electric Vehicles Program Manager. She attends numerous trade shows and community events as FPL’s ambassador for EVs.

     


    Question:
    Does FPL support electric vehicles?
    Asked by Steve W., Plantation, FL

    Answer:
    At FPL, our support of electric vehicles begins with our fleet, as a demonstration of our commitment to clean energy. However, we are also working to make electric vehicle (EV) adoption easier and more understandable for businesses interested in learning more about their options for more environmentally friendly transportation.

     

    We’re investing in a cleaner future: FPL was an early adopter of EV technology and today operates the largest green fleet of any investor-owned utility in the country, with 1,700 biodiesel-powered vehicles and 471 plug-in or hybrid-electric vehicles – including hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric bucket trucks. At the 2009 Clinton Global Initiative, FPL committed to convert our entire fleet of more than 2,400 company cars and trucks to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) by 2020. By December 2011, we had more than 40 EVs in our fleet, with plans to add more as they become commercially available.

    The benefits of EV: Whether you're looking at converting company cars, a corporate fleet, buses, or even "off-road" vehicles – like forklifts, golf carts or tugs – to EVs, the benefits are clear for your bottom line, the environment and the safety of your employees:

    • Cost savings: You can charge an EV for approximately 80 percent less than what you usually spend at the gas pump. Also, because our standard electric rates are below the national average, FPL customers can charge for even less. These savings have the potential to be substantial for business fleets.
    • Emissions reduction: EVs powered by FPL’s electricity have 70 percent fewer emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles and are 37 percent cleaner than EVs powered by utilities in other parts of the U.S.
    • Improved energy independence: The nation’s light-duty vehicle fleet accounts for roughly 45 percent of total U.S. oil consumption. Transitioning the fleet to EVs would reduce oil imports by more than three million barrels per day in 2030.
    • Environmental responsibility: The environmental benefits of EVs – including emissions and oil reduction – can help companies brand themselves as sustainable and responsible.
    • Health and safety: The Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf are “Top Safety Picks” for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).  And all EVs produced by major auto manufacturers are held to the same safety standards set by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) as conventional vehicles. Additionally, electric vehicles, like forklifts in a factory setting, can contribute to quieter and cleaner work environments.
    • Reliability: EVs are expected to be very reliable – they are simple and inexpensive to maintain, have far fewer moving parts and produce less heat than gas-powered vehicles – and therefore experience much less wear and tear. 

    Supporting our customers: FPL’s EV Program will support customer adoption of EVs by:

    • Addressing customer needs and expectations and serving as a source of information about electric vehicles and safe, affordable charging
    • Ensuring the necessary infrastructure is in place to maintain high levels of service reliability, which is currently among the best in the country and 38 percent better than the national average
    • Supporting the expansion of the EV market in numerous ways, including adding more EVs to our fleet and engaging community leaders, commercial customers and other stakeholders on EV-related initiatives.

     

    Fuel Cost Comparison – Gas vs. Electric Vehicle

    Annual Miles Gas powered passenger car 100% Electric Nissan LEAF  
    16,000 $2,240.00 $462.84
      Annual savings: $1,777.16  
           
           
    Annual Miles Gas powered Transit Connect 100% Electric Transit Connect  
    16,000 $2,434.78  $735.09
      Annual savings: $1,699.69  

     

    Assumptions:

    • Conventional vehicle averages 25 mpg and $3.50 per gallon fuel
    • Nissan Leaf averages 34 kwh per 100 miles and 8.508 cents per kwh
    • Transit Connect Electric averages 54 kwh per 100 miles and 8.508 cents per kwh
    • Transit Connect Gas averages 23 mpg and $3.50 per gallon fuel

     

    How does FPL restore power after a major outage?

    Bruce Martinez, Director of FPL's Network Operations, manages power restoration and emergency preparedness for FPL.

     


    Question:
    I heard that when there are major outages after a hurricanes power is first restored to critical areas where there are hospitals, police and fire stations. How can I find out if I am on one of the first priority grids?
    Asked on May 7, 2012 by Rom M, Fort Myers

    Answer:
    When FPL gets to work restoring power after a major outage, we follow a proven plan of action. Our top priority is to make sure that power plants, transmission lines and substations that provide electric service to large numbers of homes and businesses are operational.

     

    We then restore power to the most critical community functions such as hospitals, police and fire stations, and 911 communication centers. We also focus on restoring power to major thoroughfares that host supermarkets, gas stations and other essential community services. If your business is located within one of these areas, you might find yourself restored and able to play an active role in the community you serve, helping everyone get back to normal after a storm. Our plan is to restore the greatest possible number of homes and businesses in the shortest time.

    For security reasons, we do not give out specific information about grid structures, but I can tell you that FPL does not prioritize restoration based on when a customer reported an outage or the status of your account. We begin with the hardest-hit areas first and continue working until everyone's lights are back on.

    Check out this video for a look at how our process works.

     

    Can you tell me about line clearing in my area?

    Eliecer Viamontes, manager of FPL's Vegetation Management team, works to improve your reliability through our extensive line clearing program.

     


    Question:
    Your Systems Improvements Map implies that trees were cleared from my area, but I’m still seeing trees near the lines. Why is that?
    -- Marc W., Margate

    Answer:
    We’re glad you’re using the Systems Improvements Map, Marc. You raise a good question, because the wires on our utility poles vary in their purpose and location. Having a better understanding of the lines in your area may help clarify FPL’s line clearing efforts:

    Main power lines and neighborhood lines

    As you may know, trees growing near power lines are a common cause of flickers and outages. To help ensure reliable electric service, FPL proactively clears vegetation growing near our main power lines every three years and our local neighborhood lines every six years, on average. In your area, we recently trimmed vegetation growing near the main power lines.

    Power lines and communication wires

    FPL Power LinesIn other situations, lines you see with trees growing near them may not be power lines, but communication wires typically owned by phone and cable companies. These lines are the ones located closest to the ground on utility poles, while FPL power lines are usually positioned higher on the poles. FPL’s line clearing program focuses only on our electric lines.


    Stay safe around all overhead lines

    For your safety, it is important to stay away from all lines on utility poles, regardless of their purpose or location.

    If you see a tree touching, or near, power lines or any wires that you think may be power lines, please contact FPL immediately at 1-800-4OUTAGE (1-800-468-8243) to report it. Never try to trim any vegetation growing near power lines yourself. Hire only specially trained line clearing professionals to do that work. All FPL customers can see improvements in their area by visiting www.fpl.com/maps.

     

    What are the taxes and fees on my electric bill?

    Yannel Ortiz works in our Customer Care Center, making sure that when you call about a billing question we provide you with accurate information and excellent service.

     


    Question:
    I don't know what any of these taxes and fees are on my bill. If you could explain them to me, I would appreciate it …
    -- Peter W., Port Orange

    Answer:

    I'm glad you brought this up. I know a lot of FPL customers wonder about these charges, and we want them to be as clear as possible.

    Your electric bill includes a gross receipts tax and may include up to four other different taxes, paid to the state or local governments: a franchise fee, utility/municipal tax, Florida sales tax, and discretionary sales surtax. These taxes vary by area, with amounts not established by FPL. FPL collects these fees and taxes for distribution to the appropriate entities and does not profit from them.

    • Gross receipts tax: A tax of about 2.56 percent on a customer's electric bill that is paid to the State of Florida.
    • Franchise fee: FPL competes with municipalities and county governments for the right to serve customers. If a local government chooses, it can enter into a contract with FPL that enables the government to charge residents a contractual amount, the franchise fee, in exchange for its agreement not to form an electric utility for the term of the franchise.
    • Utility/municipal tax: Tax levied by a municipality or county on a customer's electricity usage.
    • Florida sales tax: A 7 percent tax levied by the State of Florida on the purchase of electricity.
    • Discretionary sales surtax: A surtax that is charged by many Florida counties.

    Your electric bill also includes the following components, all of which are regulated by Florida's Public Service Commission (PSC):

    • Fuel charge: The cost of fuel required to provide each kilowatt-hour of electricity. FPL makes no profit on fuel costs, which are reviewed and approved by the PSC and adjusted at least once a year.
    • Non-fuel charge: The expense, other than fuel, for making electricity and distributing it; for programs designed to reduce electric demand and consumption; for meeting environmental laws and regulations; and for purchasing electricity from non-FPL owned resources.
    • Customer charge: A fixed monthly amount to cover the cost of providing service to your location. This charge includes the cost of the meter, billing and providing customer service. It is applicable whether or not electricity is used.
    • Storm charge: Used to repay the bonds and taxes issued during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane restoration efforts and partially replenish a fund for future storms.
    You may have heard about our intent to file a change to our base electricity rate. To learn more, visit www.fpl.com/answers.

     

    Are paint additives a good insulator?

    Kathy Schmitt is a member of FPL's Business Program Management team, overseeing the Business Lighting and Building Envelope programs.

     


    Question:
    I have heard of paint additives that reflect heat and/or hold in the cold. Do they work?
    -- Matthew B., Sarasota

    Answer:
    When choosing an insulation, the higher solar reflectance (SR) level, the better. While painted surfaces can reflect some heat from direct sunlight, we believe that paints are simply too thin to provide a meaningful level of insulation. A 2007 national laboratory study estimated that a 25 percent increase in the SR value of exterior wall paint would only reduce cooling and heating costs by 1 to 6 percent. That being said, we believe a reflective roof coating is a more viable solution as it has a higher solar reflectance, resulting in a savings of up to 15 to 20 percent.

     

    However, you bring up a good point. All businesses should think about insulation. With more efficient roofs, ceilings and windows you can reduce your air-conditioning costs and create a more comfortable environment for employees and patrons, all while preserving your business equipment and surroundings.

     

    For example, if you install roof or ceiling insulation, you can expect a 5-10 percent reduction in air-conditioning costs every year. You can also reduce cooling costs by as much as 15 percent when you install a light-colored metal roof, a rubber-like (thermoplastic) reflective membrane or coating on your existing roof.

     

    A 33,000-square foot self-storage facility in Pompano Beach is a great example of how insulation upgrades can yield energy savings. This business increased the roof's R-value from virtually nothing to R-19 for 25,535 square feet of the facility's air-conditioned space and painted a reflective roof coating over the spray polyurethane foam roof system. The result was a drop in energy use of about 6,000 kWh in the first month, or nearly 20 percent of the monthly energy consumption. They also received an FPL incentive of $1,276 (5 cents per square foot) for increasing the roof's R-value and an additional $11,490 (45 cents per square foot) for the reflective roof coating.

     

    Visit www.FPL.com/bizprograms to learn more about insulation and how you can receive an incentive for your upgrades through FPL's Building Envelope program.

     

    Energy Answers for your Business is designed especially for businesses like yours. Submit your question on any energy-related topic.

     

    Can you compare various lighting technologies?

    Kathy Schmitt is a member of FPL's Business Program Management team, overseeing the Business Lighting and Building Envelope programs.

     


    Question:
    I'm planning to change out lighting at my facility. Can you compare various technologies, specifically 42 watt CFLs to 70 watt HP Sodium wall packs?
    -- John B., New Smyrna Beach

    Answer:
    Choosing the best lighting for your facility can often be a challenge. Color quality, cost and life of the lamp are among many of the factors that you should consider when choosing a lighting technology that's right for your business.

     

    In the chart below, we compare a 70-watt high pressure sodium (HPS) wall pack to a 42-watt compact fluorescent lamp (CFL). We've also included a 70-watt ceramic metal halide and 57-watt CFL in our calculations; however we'll be focusing on the first two options for this response.

    A 42-watt CFL will provide less light output but better color quality. The life of the lamp is significantly less, requiring it to be replaced twice as often as a 70-watt HPS. We recommend that you check the foot candle rating requirements (the necessary intensity of light falling on an object) for your fixture location to check if the 42-watt CFL can deliver the necessary lumens.

    The 42-watt CFL would result in an annual savings of approximately $15 for each fixture over the 70-watt HPS, assuming a usage of 12 hours per night at 10 cents/kWh.

    Visit www.fpl.com/bizlighting to learn how FPL incentives can help you pay for your new lighting.

     
    70-watt High Pressure Sodium wall packs
    42-watt CFL
    70-watt Ceramic Metal Halide
    57-watt CFL
    Energy input (watts)
    80
    42
    80
    57
    light output (lumens)
    5,000
    2,700
    4,000-5,000
    3,500
    life (hours)
    24,000
    12,000
    12,000
    12,000
    lumen/watt
    63
    64
    56
    61
    Color rendering index (CRI)
    22
    82
    85-95
    82
    Estimated cost
    $10-$15
    $10-$15
    $20-$30
    $20-$30

     

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