- Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI)
- Consortium of Energy Efficiency
- ENERGY STAR
- DesignLights™ Consortium
- Service Provider Directory
The Maryland Energy Administration offers 2 grants for businesses to improve their energy efficiency.
- The EmPower MD CHP Grant Program can help Maryland businesses implement CHP technologies in commercial, industrial, institutional and critical infrastructure facilities (including health care, wastewater treatment and essential state and local government facilities)
- The Mathias Agriculture Grant Program can help agricultural businesses implement energy efficiency projects or combined energy efficiency and renewable energy projects
The National Energy Improvement Fund offers convenient online processing for financing a business’s energy improvements.
- The HBC Energy Capital has an online portal to help customers and contractors customize lease and loan financing options, and eliminate first-cost barriers to energy improvements like lighting, HVAC, and renewable energy. Project size can range from less than $10,000 to multi-millions
Business Solutions FAQs
General Program Details
SMECO Business Solutions Program
Care of ICF
7125 Thomas Edison Drive, Suite 100
Columbia, MD 21406
Phone: (866) 235-6044
Fax: (410) 630-3554
Email SMECO Business Solutions
Incentives are funded through Maryland Public Service Commission approved energy efficiency charges applied to customers’ electric bills (EmPOWER Maryland charge).
The current programs are approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission through December 31, 2023.
The programs were designed using a best practices approach from utilities across the country. However, programs are reviewed periodically and it is possible for programmatic processes or elements, including incentives, to change from year to year.
ICF is an energy consulting company that was selected by SMECO to implement the co-op’s portfolio of energy efficiency programs. ICF has extensive experience managing similar programs throughout the country. ICF has a local office in Columbia, Maryland.
All customer-specific information provided to SMECO will be held in confidence.
Fuel-switching measures and renewable projects, such as solar water heaters or photovoltaic installations, do not qualify under this program.
Eligibility & Participation
In general, all non-residential customers who receive electric service through SMECO, regardless of their electric supplier, are eligible. Additional details on eligibility can be found in the Terms and Conditions section of the Business Solutions applications.
Applications and instructions can be found on the Business Solutions page on our website.
Electric energy-efficient equipment that is not included on the prescriptive application forms may be considered as a Custom measure. In general, this equipment must exceed the prescriptive requirements and not be required by Maryland energy code nor considered standard industry practice. The proposed project or equipment must have verifiable electric energy savings and pass the program cost effectiveness criteria.
Local Service Providers can help you identify which measures are right for your facility. Service Providers listed on the SMECO website have received program training and are familiar with the rules and requirements of the program.
You are not required to use a specific contractor to install energy-efficient equipment at your facility. Customers are free to select their own contractors or use in-house staff. If you choose to use in-house staff to install program measures, please leave the contractor information blank on your application form.
Engineering studies are not required for prescriptive measures; however, Custom measures do require the calculation of estimated project costs and energy usage prior to submitting the Custom application for pre-approval.
Energy audits are the responsibility of the customer. SMECO’s Business Solutions team can offer a review of products to ensure program requirements are met. Some Service Providers may offer free energy audits as part of their proposal.
Forms & Applications
If the scope of work changes or the equipment specifications change, you must notify the Business Solutions team immediately. They will review your application to determine whether the revised project is eligible for an incentive and the amount of the incentive. If the revised potential incentive is greater than the original amount, the Business Solutions team will determine if there are funds available to increase your incentive amount. There is no guarantee that funds will be available for payment above the previously approved amount.
You are not obligated to go through with the work. Once the funds associated with your project are approved, you have six months to complete retrofit installations and one year to complete new construction installations. If you start a project and decide to complete only a portion of the work, you will only be paid for the completed portion. If you know that you are not going to complete a project or are only completing a portion of it, please contact the Business Solutions team so that we can redistribute funding appropriately.
No. If equipment that is covered by prescriptive rebates does not meet the eligibility criteria as defined in the prescriptive applications, it cannot be considered for a Custom application.
The Business Solutions Prescriptive LED and Custom offering allow business customers to submit applications for exterior lighting projects.
You do not have to select a contractor before submitting an application as long as the equipment for the project meets the eligibility requirements. But, because of the six-month window for retrofit project completion and the one-year window for new construction completion, it is strongly recommended that customers have a contractor selected before an application is submitted. SMECO will not accept multiple applications from more than one contractor for the same customer project.
The Business Solutions team must verify that you have an active SMECO account and are eligible to receive incentives.
Both the customer and contractor will receive a pre-approval letter once the application has been reviewed and approved. Applicants who submit incomplete applications will be notified and asked to provide additional detail so the review process can be completed. Once the project has been completed, and the associated paperwork is submitted, the Business Solutions team will review all necessary material. Once payment has been approved, the customer and contractor will receive a letter indicating payment approval and amount. The party receiving the payment will typically receive the payment within four weeks after payment approval. Customers may contact the Business Solutions team at any time with additional questions about the process or status of an application.
SMECO customers or their Service Provider/contractor can submit applications.
No. Used or refurbished material is not eligible for incentives nor does SMECO allow equipment that is removed to be re-installed within the SMECO service territory.
Yes. Please indicate the payment method on the application form after the project is complete when the final paperwork is submitted.
Beginning April 1, 2018, all incentive payments for Business Solutions program participants will be made electronically or via bill credit.
The pre-approval letter guarantees payment of the incentives at the full amount as long as all conditions of the pre-approval letter have been met. Any change in equipment specifications, quantities installed, or other factors affecting energy savings and project costs may result in changes to the incentive amount. Any changes from the original pre-approval letter conditions must receive SMECO approval before being implemented to guarantee incentive payment.
No. Program pre-approval is required for all projects prior to the purchase or installation of equipment in order to be eligible for incentives(noted in the Terms & Conditions on the application form).
If a project involves equipment specified in a prescriptive application, that project is not eligible to be submitted as a Custom project. If a project involves both prescriptive and custom measures as an entire system, the customer may be able to combine integrated measures into a single custom application.
Custom incentives are based on the cost of installing the high-efficiency measures and the resulting energy and demand savings. In all cases, the high-efficiency measure must be cost-effective. For retrofit measures where the efficiency of existing equipment or systems is being improved, the incentive is up to 50% of the installed cost of the high-efficiency measure. For new construction or the purchase of new or replacement equipment, the incentive is up to 75% of the cost of the high-efficiency equipment over the standard efficiency equipment. In all cases, if the incentive results in a customer simple payback of fewer than 1.5 years, the incentive will be reduced to an amount that will result in a 1.5-year payback.
Project baselines are based on currently applicable energy codes and/or conservative estimates of industry standards.
Once a project is complete and payment is made, SMECO and the Public Service Commission require that a subset of projects be visited. This is to verify that sales transactions and equipment installations remain in accordance with the plans that were approved and upon which incentives were paid. SMECO may contact you to visit your site to perform this verification. All measures must be installed and working at the time of inspection.
Yes, incentives for common LED lighting measures are available through the Business Solutions Retrofit Lighting Application. Other LED measures not included on the Application Form may be considered as Custom options.
Yes, whether submitted as a Prescriptive or Custom project, all LED replacement lamps and LED luminaires must be listed on the DesignLights™ Consortium or ENERGY STAR® Qualified Products list.
Building Tune-Up Services
The Business Solutions Program typically involves a capital investment in energy-efficient equipment. Building Tune-up, which can be found on our Existing Buildings page, focuses on optimizing the operation and maintenance of existing equipment.
Since different opportunities exist for improving building performance based on building size and typical systems, SMECO offers 3 options—Enhanced Unitary HVAC Maintenance, Small Building Tune-up Services, and Large Building Tune-up Services—to meet varying customer needs. These can all be found on our Existing Buildings page.
SMECO’s Enhanced Unitary HVAC Maintenance Services can tune up your facility’s Unitary HVAC system while ensuring its energy-consuming components function at peak efficiency.
For a list of measures and incentives, please go to our Existing Buildings page.
Small Building Tune-up Services are available for industrial process systems and commercial facilities less than or equal to 75,000 square feet. The process typically involves contractors assessing equipment/system conditions from a prescribed checklist of items. Small Building Tune-up Services focus on:
- Calibrating building systems and controls
- Replacing equipment filters
- Cleaning evaporator and condenser coils
- Sealing air and water leaks
- Re-balancing air handling systems
- Detecting compressed air leaks
- Educating facility personnel
Visit our Existing Buildings page for more information.
SMECO will provide incentives for up to 75% of the cost of the assessment and study with a maximum incentive of $3,000. SMECO estimates the cost of an appropriate study for Small Building Tune-up Services to be between $500 and $4,000, depending upon the complexity of the facility.
SMECO also will pay part of the costs for demonstration measures (i.e., measures that can save a significant amount of energy but will not pay for themselves in less than 1.5 years) with a cap on SMECO’s total project commitment of $25,000.
To assist customers in performing Small Building Tune-up Services, SMECO provides the Business Solutions Program Service Providers Directory. If a customer wishes to use a Service Provider that has not been pre-approved, the Service Provider must first apply to participate in the Small Building Tune-up Services offering. SMECO does not warrant or guarantee any work or equipment installed by a Service Provider.
Large Building Tune-up Services are available for facilities larger than 75,000 square feet and are more comprehensive than Small Building Tune-up Services. Large Building Tune-up Services are intended for customers with unusually high energy use, persistent failures of equipment and controls, tenant complaints, or indoor air quality problems. The process involves a detailed study conducted by a pre-qualified Service Provider who develops and carries out (or directs others to carry out) customized system and operational changes to reduce energy consumption. Large Building Tune-up Services typically include:
- HVAC calibrations
- Diagnostic and function tests of major systems and equipment
- Air and water systems balancing
- Calibration of energy management and control systems and lighting systems controls
- O&M tune-ups
- Education of facility personnel
SMECO will provide incentives up to 75% of the cost of the Large Building Tune-up study and implementation costs, up to a maximum incentive of $50,000. However, the incentive is contingent upon the customer making a commitment to invest a minimum of $50,000 in cost-effective measures (i.e., measures that will pay for themselves in 1.5 years or less).
Yes. The facility must have a functioning direct digital control (DDC) system; accessible and up-to-date building documentation and records; no major maintenance problems requiring costly repairs or replacements; and no planned major system renovations or retrofits. The facility also must commit facility staff to be actively involved in the entire Large Building Tune-up process.
To assist customers in performing Large Building Tune-up Services, SMECO has a list of approved building tune-up contractors on our Existing Buildings page. If a customer wishes to use a Service Provider that has not been pre-approved, the Service Provider must first apply to participate in the Large Building Tune-up Services offering. SMECO does not warrant or guarantee any work or equipment installed by a Service Provider.
Many customers have energy-efficient equipment but their buildings are still not operating efficiently. By participating in the Building Tune-up program, customers will maximize the operating efficiency of their buildings and reduce their energy consumption.
Service Providers who have submitted an application, participated in program training, and undergone reference checks are listed on the program website. SMECO does not recommend, qualify, or otherwise approve these contractors for participation. SMECO does not warrant or guarantee any work or equipment installed by a Service Provider.
If you are a Service Provider and would like to participate in one of the training seminars, email SMECO Business Solutions.
Information for Service Providers can be found at the Trade Ally page, including details on how to get involved in the Service Provider program and get your business listed in the Service Provider directory. Once you join, you become part of the Service Provider mailing list through which you will receive regular updates on the Business Solutions program. SMECO also offers periodic seminars on how best to use the program to help your customers.
The customer has the option to assign payment to the contractor or another third party. SMECO requires the customer’s signature approving payment in either case.
Businesses across Southern Maryland are making energy upgrades with SMECO’s Business Solutions and Small Business Solutions Programs and getting rebates to help cover the costs.
- Calvert County Public Schools recently completed 23 energy efficiency projects, most to upgrade lighting and install lighting controls. By participating in the SMECO Business Solutions program, the schools received $88,152 in incentives for these projects, and expect to receive even more from additional projects.
- Miller Cabinetmakers took advantage of the incentives available through the SMECO Business Solutions program to complete the lighting upgrades—a decision that put $6,150 back in their pockets.
- St. Mary’s Nursing Center received incentives totaling $52,688 for installing energy-efficient lighting; occupancy sensors; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); and commercial food service equipment that will result in more than 241,960 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in annual energy savings.
- University of Maryland Laboratory looked to SMECO’s Business Solutions program for help upgrading the lab’s exhaust system and making it more energy-efficient. The effort resulted in a 27% reduction in energy consumption, and available incentives saved the university $115,762 off the project cost.
Small Business Solutions
- Mechanicsville Building and Supply upgraded their facility’s lighting through its Small Business Solutions program. The decision paid off in a brighter, more inviting space and more than $6,000 in rebates.
For additional assistance, contact us today!
E-mail SMECO Business Solutions
By phone: (866) 235-6044 (toll-free)
EmPOWER Maryland programs are funded by a charge on your energy bill. EmPOWER programs can help you reduce your energy consumption and save you money. Learn more about EmPOWER and how you can participate.