The race toward energy efficiency is heating up in the building industry. While there are many well-known upgrades that are commonly employed like sealing cracks that can increase utility savings by an average of 10 to 20 percent, timed scheduling of lighting that can save an average of 24 percent in energy savings, and heat pumps that provide very efficient space heating and cooling, those are just the first steps of achieving maximum energy efficiency.

Among facility managers, including many overseeing light commercial buildings who are prioritizing increased energy efficiency improvements, about 90 percent say that energy efficiency is extremely or very important to their role within their company. Among those surveyed, about 70 percent have installed energy efficient lighting and nearly 60 percent have upgraded to smart thermostats. Nearly 40 percent are planning to include EV charging and renewable energy sources, and about 40 percent are planning to take part in energy efficiency programs from utilities.

Local utilities like National Grid offer financial incentives, rebates, and technical assistance to clients. Their team of experts work within your budget to help optimize energy efficiency, reduce energy consumption, and overhead costs.

“I would say 80 percent of our energy efficiency savings on the electric side is from lighting, but I think that's going to change over time,” says Nathaniel Hancock, Lead Program Manager, Upstate New York ProNet Program. “I think we're going to see the focus shifting in the future to weatherization and heat pump systems, HVAC upgrades, compressed air systems. Things that would encourage electrification.”

And while cost may seem like the biggest barrier to energy upgrades, a study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that the biggest barrier is actually a lack of coordination among key stakeholders. Partnering with a local utility company that’s tapped into the ever-evolving advancements in energy technology solutions, and the growing needs of building owners who demand net-zero and sustainable solutions, can help overcome this obstacle.

Contractor programs from utilities like National Grid’s ProNet and Project Expediter programs, professional networks of contractors who want to deliver affordable and dependable energy solutions to their clients. In addition to receiving access to rebates and financial incentives for commercial and EV charging stations, there is also access to free technical training, professional networking, and the ability to provide feedback directly to the utility.

“One of the keys to being successful with our energy efficiency programs is to work really closely with those who are out there day in and day out, working with customers on construction projects, upgrading their facilities, and building new facilities,” says Hancock.

By tapping into free and low-cost solutions like those offered from energy partners like National Grid, professional contractors can achieve a competitive advantage without the burden of extra overhead costs for additional training or expensive technical energy consultants.

Learn more about becoming a National Grid professional contractor partner in our New York ProNet program or our Massachusetts Project Expediter Program at