Businesses

Business/Non-profit FAQs

What’s the relationship between CEA and NSTAR?

CEA is a City of Cambridge program to help save energy in Cambridge buildings.  NSTAR offers its customers energy conservation measures, funded by a small surcharge added to its bills.   CEA wants to make sure Cambridge businesses and institutions know about and take advantage of NSTAR’s programs.  We work with NSTAR and the contractors who carry out the audits and efficiency measures to get the word out and track the programs’ results.

Who is Prism Consulting and what is their relationship to CEA?

Prism Consulting is an energy service provider that conducts energy audits for businesses and non-profits in Cambridge through a contract with NSTAR.  Prism specializes in the evaluation, design, installation, and maintenance of energy-efficient lighting systems.

Does CEA provide financing to help with the cost of energy efficiency installations?

CEA has arranged for a simplified loan and equipment leasing process with identified banks. Loans can be structured so that the amount saved on electricity, heating, or water bills will cover the loan payments. Once any loans are repaid, you pocket the utility bill savings. Since energy costs are likely to continue to rise, the benefits from taking action are likely to rise as well.

What kinds of rebates and incentives am I entitled to?

CEA does not offer direct grants at this time, but your energy efficiency improvements may qualify for a  range of rebates or tax deductions from NSTAR or from the state and federal governments.  We can help you figure out which ones you are eligible for.

What other programs are available to businesses and non-profits in Cambridge?

The City of Cambridge offers assistance to qualifying participants through the Facade Improvement Program and the Better Retail Practices Program. These programs provide funds for interior and exterior building improvements.

In addition, the Sustainable Business Leadership Program collaborates with CEA in its business sustainability program.

Can I take a loan out from my bank or do I have to use CEA’s financing process?

You can use your own bank or participate through a loan program with business financing providers identified by the Cambridge Energy Alliance. CEA can help you determine your best option. You can find out more about financing options here.

I am thinking about installing renewable energy. What should I do?

Consider pursuing energy efficiency first. Although super-efficient pumps or lighting are not as glamorous as solar panels, they are far more cost-effective.  Then, if you pursue a renewable energy option, your renewable system won’t need to be as large.  The combination of efficiency and renewables is a great way to save money over time and reduce your carbon emissions.

Massachusetts receives a fair amount of sunlight, even during overcast winter days. While solar electric  (photovoltaic) systems work well here,  you may be better served by solar thermal equipment.  Modern solar thermal equipment can help heat your home or provide hot water. Cambridge is not a site for large-scale wind farms, but new wind technology has made available small wind turbines that might be applicable.

Read more about your renewable energy options.

Additional Questions?

If you have questions, please contact the CEA Energy Adviser.

If you are ready to request an audit, proceed to the audit sign-up page.





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