Energy efficiency resources

4 Common Misconceptions About Energy Makeovers

By Megan Porter

The idea of instituting an energy efficiency project may seem daunting to owners of small to medium-sized businesses. Which products and technologies will provide a strong return on investment? Will the project interrupt operations? How confusing will it be to incorporate On-Bill Financing?

You may have a strong desire to be sustainable and make your business more energy efficient. But when there’s so much else going on, it’s easy to come up with reasons to put it off. You may have used some of these reasons yourself.

  • Isn’t an energy makeover simply using less energy?
  • An energy makeover will be too expensive
  • An energy makeover will take too much time
  • I don’t think it’ll be worth the trouble

But it turns out, these are actually common misconceptions. Let’s tackle them one by one.

Misconception #1: Energy efficiency is the same as reducing energy use. “I’ll just make sure employees turn off the lights when they leave.” Well, every little bit helps. But energy efficiency really means doing more with the energy you use. Imagine if you could add capacity without increasing your costs? For example, using a more efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit that can heat or cool additional space without adding to your energy bill. Or using light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs and fixtures to brighten existing work or common areas — thereby boosting productivity and enhancing your business’s visibility — without incurring additional cost. Energy efficiency doesn’t just mean using less. It means doing MORE with less.

Misconception #2: An energy efficiency upgrade is expensive. A strategy to make your business more energy efficient can be as simple or robust as you like. But one thing it doesn’t have to be is expensive. There are dozens of ways to offset the costs of any equipment upgrades. In fact, they can end up costing nothing at all! By using energy efficiency financing, loans can be paid using the savings that upgrades are expected to deliver, and it’s all accounted for on your energy bill. It’s a great way to amortize the cost of new equipment and do so while keeping data in one place. Rebates are available on a huge array of appliances, HVAC equipment, lighting and more that can mitigate financial outlays. And don’t forget that using more efficient equipment will deliver savings for years to come. All of these money-saving avenues are important to include if you need to get the buy-in of a management group or board of directors.

Misconception #3: Researching options would take too much time. Instituting an energy makeover isn’t something you have to do on your own. PG&E maintains a list of trade professionals already vetted by PG&E who have the expertise you’re looking for. They can put together a custom program designed to meet your specific needs. If you’re merely looking to get a handle on your energy use, many local utility companies offer energy audits at no cost. And there are free energy resources available to business owners— such as ENERGY STAR and the California Lighting Technology Center — that can help you find appropriate equipment, identify financing and determine just how much you can expect to save by using more energy efficient options.

Misconception #4: On-Bill Financing is too complicated. When it comes to funding energy efficiency makeovers, it’s tough to beat On-Bill Financing. Upgrades can pay for themselves and thus result in little or no cost to you; loans are interest-free; and it’s easy to track how much your new equipment is saving. Of course, any loan qualification process can be a challenge. But in this case, it doesn’t have to be. You can choose to work with an eligible contractor to purchase and install qualifying equipment. You can work with your PG&E Customer Relationship Manager yourself to keep tabs on the loan process. Or if you prefer, your contractor can be your point of contact, freeing you up to run your business. Choose whichever approach works best for you to maximize this incredibly cost-efficient program.

As you can see, you have multiple resources at your disposal to increase your firm’s energy efficiency. So don’t let misconceptions stand in the way of realizing your energy efficiency goals.

To learn more ways to reduce costs through energy efficient approaches, visit PG&E’s eBook Library.


  1. U.S. Department of Energy
  3. California Lighting Technology Center
  4. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  5. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  6. U.S. Department of Energy
  7. Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy
  8. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  9. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  10. Pacific Gas and Electric Company

4 Common Misconceptions About Energy Makeovers
  • SMB Blog Author
    Megan Porter
    Senior Program Marketing Manager at PG&E, is a recognized leader in solutions marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. Megan uses her proven and practical expertise to bring energy efficiency education to businesses in every industry. In this vital role, she develops and oversees highly successful initiatives that result in the adoption of more efficient long-term energy management behaviors.

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