Energy Program Optimization
How to upgrade to LED lighting while reducing upfront expenditures.
Upgrading to high-efficiency LED lighting, while important, sometimes get pushed further down the “to do list” because of the high upfront cost commonly associated with the project. Companies often refer to prospective cost-saving programs, available from a variety of entities, as a way to deliver a quick return on investment. These programs are discussed vaguely with no time spent elaborating on what kind of programs are available, who offers them, and (most importantly) where to find the right information.
Now is the time to invest in a lighting retrofit project, and you don’t need to foot the bill on your own. Our latest line of EarthTronics LED EarthBulb products boast an increased lifespan and greater efficiency. We’ve done the research for you and hope that in doing so, it will be easier to streamline your next lighting upgrade – and take advantage of the many energy saving incentive programs available today.
The What – Energy Savings Program Terminology
There are a variety of programs out there, all geared towards saving money in the name of energy efficiency, just in different ways.
Prescriptive Incentives – These incentives are provided for lighting projects that are as simple as changing existing lighting out with a “prescribed” category of fixture from the energy providers list. While the brand of fixture used can be from any lighting manufacturer, they do have to meet criteria guidelines to qualify for the incentives.
Custom Incentives – These incentives are paid based on calculated project energy savings. A reservation application is required for all custom incentives. These programs provide incentives to customers for measures installed in qualified projects that are either less common or more complex than Prescriptive Incentives.
Financing, Loans and Leasing – Many ESCO “Energy Saving Contractors” offer full turnkey programs. These companies have the ability to finance your project and coordinate any rebates or funding available.
The Who – Who Offers Energy Saving Financial Programs?
Utility Companies: Utility companies often partner with States Public Service Commissions to provide customers with funding. States have realized that funding demand load management for energy optimization is a better path than building more capacity.
For example, in partnership with Michigan Saves, both DTE Energy and Consumers Energy offer rebate programs and prescriptive incentives for energy efficiency improvements like lighting, HVAC, insulation, food service, etc. These incentives are available for one-to-one change outs, replacements or upgrades. Custom incentives are also available with both utility companies and are based on the amount of estimated annual energy savings.
The Federal Government: In years past, as recent as last year, you may be able to qualify for federal tax deductions based on investments in facility energy improvements. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (specifically section 179D called the “Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Deduction”) outlines the requirements for a maximum tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot of affected space. President Obama extended the EPAct 179D for two additional year past its original expiration, and while there is no sign that it will be extended again, you are still able to apply for tax deductions based on work accomplished before December 31st, 2016.
The How: How to Find the Right Information and Take Action
Here are some of the quickest ways to find out what kind of programs are a match for your next building energy upgrade.
Go to the energy star rebate finder and type in your zip code to see what programs are available in your region. You can also search all zip codes to arrive at a category list and filter by product and type. For example, there are 109 energy star rebates available nationwide for LED Light Bulbs, some up to $15.00 per bulb! There are 83 rebate records found for LED fixtures on the site as well.
Energy.gov has State-specific information regarding tax credits, rebates, and savings. You can filter by state and energy category to find out what programs are available in your sector. Here are some options for LED lighting in commercial spaces throughout the country.
Dsireusa.org is a database of State incentives for renewables and energy efficiency. To find policies and incentives near you simply input your zip code and a database will pop up listing the name, category, region, policy/incentive type, when it was created, and when the information was last updated. This is a treasure trove of easily accessible information.
It’s important to work with your contractor, lighting designer, or energy consultant as you begin an energy upgrade as they can most likely help you determine what programs will optimize costs savings in the long run. Paying for an LED lighting upgrade completely out-of-pocket is unnecessary – especially where when are so many options out there. Take a moment to peruse the sites above and you may be surprised with what you find!