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New incentives offer Ottawa businesses up to $2,500 in free refrigeration upgrades

Rideau Street Tim Hortons among first to make use of Business Refrigeration Incentive

Editha Agustin
Editha Agustin

Refrigeration equipment is an essential part of many businesses. Unfortunately, it can also be one of their largest operating expenses.

Making simple energy-efficient upgrades makes sense, and a new program offered by Hydro Ottawa is helping local businesses with upgrades that can reduce refrigeration energy use by 45 to 60%.

The Save on Energy Business Refrigeration Incentive (BRI) program provides qualifying businesses with up to $2,500 in free energy-saving upgrades on commercial-grade refrigeration equipment, including turnkey installation by a licensed contractor.

“We are excited to offer this program to our customers. Many business owners have little time to worry about energy efficiency. That’s where we come in,” says Shawn Carr, Manager of Conservation Demand Management at Hydro Ottawa.

The program is intended to help small and medium-sized businesses – such as restaurants, convenience stores, small grocers and more – reduce their environmental impact while saving energy. Businesses can qualify for a number of upgrades to their refrigeration equipment.

The BRI program was designed with the busy owner in mind. Hydro Ottawa takes care of everything, including a free energy assessment by a qualified professional to determine what upgrades would be most effective, and so far, feedback has been extremely positive.

Tim Hortons

The first Ottawa business to take advantage of the BRI program is the Rideau Street Tim Hortons.

The restaurant upgraded fan motors to more efficient units in its coolers and freezers, installed LED bulbs in the walk-in units, installed strip curtains and cleaned condenser coils.

The upgrades and cleaning are expected to save the business 11,877 kWh each year. To put this figure into context, that’s enough electricity to power an entire house for over a year.

“The transition to this program was easy with no disruption to the business,” says Kasia Smialkowski, General Manager of the Rideau Street store. “Everything that needed to be done was performed in a short time frame.”

Refrigeration upgrades and maintenance increases the performance of equipment, giving business owners more bang for their buck with their existing equipment.

“The most common comment from customers is that it’s too good to be true. The fact is, there really is no catch. For qualifying businesses, it’s a great opportunity to increase the efficiency of existing equipment at no cost. We anticipate this will be a very popular program in the Ottawa area,” says Carr.

Any business with commercial-grade refrigeration equipment, and an average annual peak demand of less than 250 kW, is eligible to participate.

Wondering if you qualify? Call 613-241-9009 for more info or visit