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86 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • SEPTEMBER 2015 green tip By Amelia Levin, Contributing Editor R ebates for energy-saving commercial foodservice equipment can be an incredible resource. This becomes especially relevant when the cost of this equipment teeters on the high range and opera- tors continue to look for ways to prove ROI. Offered by the EPA's Energy Star program as well as utility companies around the country, rebates can save foodservice operators up to thousands of dollars on equipment. For some operators, a $500 rebate can mean the difference between buying or not buying a specifc piece of foodservice equipment. But it's no secret that frst fnding, and then applying for rebates, can involve some extra time and legwork. Rebate amounts and requirements can vary from state to state and in most cases, depend on the programs that local utility companies have — or haven't — set up. And then it's a question of how to maximize those rebates once found. So we're going to help break it all down. Starting now. Step 1: Research Available Rebates There are two basic types of rebates: ones offered by various utility companies across the country and those offered by government and other organizations like Energy Star and the Consortium for Energy Effciency (CEE), according to Da- vid Zabrowski, general manager of the PG&E Food Service Technology Center in San Ramon, Calif. "The challenge is rebates are not 'one size fts all' because every utility company has different requirements," he says. Rebates, say, for an Energy Star-rated gas fryer might be $500 in one state and $1,000 in another. Utilities base the rebate amount on the value of energy or water saved in one year of operation and/or on the cost of the equipment. But because those energy-saving esti- mates can range based on where utility companies get their information, those rebate amounts will fuctuate. Cost of the equipment represents the other. "A rule of thumb for most utility companies is they don't want the rebate to exceed half the cost of the equipment," says Zabrowski. Utility companies generally use their own formulas to determine the rebate amounts. That means it's up to the buyer to do more research and due diligence — something not everyone wants to spend the time to do. But it doesn't have to be too diffcult. "To fnd out what's available in your area the frst resource I would go to is the Energy Star rebate fnder," Zabrowski says. He quickly notes that list will only cover Energy Star-rated products and foodservice operators can purchase other energy-saving appliances. We'll get to Energy Star in a minute, but in the mean- time, let's explore additional resources for fnding rebates. "Other tools are useful but require a little more digging," he says. For example, DSIRE (http://programs.dsireusa.org/ system/program), which is operated by the N.C. Clean En- ergy Technology Center at N.C. State University and funded by the U.S Department of Energy, offers a database of state incentives for renewable energy and the website allows users to search by state or by incentive. The challenge with this resource, according to Zabrows- ki, is that it lumps all commercial, residential and agricultural equipment together. "And there is a heavy focus on renew- ables, like solar panels and ground water heating," he adds. The challenge is rebates are not "one size fts all" because every utility company has different requirements. Maximizing Rebates When Purchasing Foodservice Equipment