MOKENA, ILL. — Frank Lacny knows the inner workings of just about every boiler, burner and heating-cooling system out there. For 28 years his company, American Combustion Service Inc. here has worked with plant engineers to keep their buildings running smoothly.

More recently, Lacny’s company has helped save organizations thousands of dollars through rebates and incentives from utility companies like Nicor Gas and Peoples Gas. Not all organizations, however, take advantage of them. 

“A lot of companies,” Lacny said, “simply do not realize that the rebates exist, yet they pay into this program every year — there’s even a line item on their utility bill. Every day, we’re sounding the call about rebates and helping organizations save substantial dollars. We tell people the money is out there until it runs out.”

In addition to talking with customers, Lacny’s company distributes a monthly newsletter that includes tips and industry-related topics as well as a regular column specifically on utility rebate programs.

For example, American Combustion Service Inc. helped Adventist Hinsdale Hospital net $60,000 in incentives through the Nicor Gas Business Custom Incentive Program by upgrading a dual-fuel burner with a new high-efficiency burner. Beyond the incentive, the 277-bed hospital enjoys ongoing fuel savings.

Healthcare, hospitality, apartment or condominium complexes, and manufacturing companies are all prime candidates for rebates as they typically contain large-scale heating and cooling systems operating around the clock. Lacny says that his company also helped the Congress Hotel in Chicago receive more than $80,000 in Peoples Gas Natural Gas Savings Program rebates for three high-efficiency burners installed by American Combustion Service.

According to the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, steam system improvements, such as tune-ups and steam trap repairs or replacements, save 10.6% in fuel costs on average.

High-efficiency burners are equipped with settings that allow flames to be adjusted with low “excess air” requirements, depending on usage demand. In addition to burners, cash rebates are typically applied to furnaces, space heating boilers, space heating steam boilers, condensing unit heaters, infrared heaters, steam traps, boiler reset controls, boiler tune-ups, burner tune-ups and pipe insulation. In addition, both Nicor Gas and Peoples Gas have programs that provide up to $500,000 in incentives for energy efficiency measures.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 30% of the energy in industrial and manufacturing facilities is used inefficiently or unnecessarily. American Combustion Service helps Midwest companies analyze fuel efficiency and then walks them through the rebate process.

“I assemble a team of people to visit customers for the analysis: a burner manufacturer representative, an engineer from the energy efficiency program and myself, and we answer questions on the spot. This helps the energy efficiency rebate programs connect with businesses,” said Lacny.

For more information on the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, visit www.NicorGasRebates.com. For information on the Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas Natural Gas Savings Programs, visit www.peoplesgasdelivery.com or www.northshoregasdelivery.com.

“It’s taken a couple years to start the buzz on this with the economy the way it was. It seems like the economy is getting a little better though. Instead of fixing the old equipment, people are upgrading to high-efficiency machines, which, in the long run, are much more economical and fuel efficient,” said Lacny.

Additional information on American Combustion Service is available at www.acsigroup.com.