How to obtain financing to
improve your facility’s lighting
The allure of a lighting upgrade is simple; you can significantly reduce energy spend for some- thing that is vital to your facility. However, as with any major energy upgrade, improvements
can be expensive, and receiving a positive
ROI soon enough to justify them might
not be feasible.
Fortunately, a variety of incentive programs can make
upgrading lighting a little more palatable to the budget-minded
facility manager. How can you find incentive programs to fund
your lighting project?
Incentives from Utilities
Incentives can make the change to high-efficiency lighting
a no-brainer because they ease the burden of upfront costs
involved in an upgrade. For example, Silver Beauty, a warehousing management company that builds and leases facilities
in Chicago, was able to cut upfront costs for new lighting in
a warehouse by 50% with a custom incentive from its utility,
ComEd, which allowed the upgrade to move forward. Because
Silver Beauty was able to leverage changes with the incentive, it could more realistically attain the 92% reduction in the
facility’s annual lighting budget from $78,000 to under $6,000.
THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF STATE LEGISLATURES identifies
32 states (above in dark blue) that have programs to support lighting upgrades in non-residential buildings. Many of these programs
incentivize energy efficiency in a broader sense, while some directly
focus on lighting.
This success illustrates the most effective resource if you are
looking to upgrade lighting on a budget: your utility partner.
“Facility managers should reach out to their electric utility
early in the process,” explains Brian Lips, Project Manager of
the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency
(DSIRE). “Many utilities have rebates for lighting, which may
influence their purchasing decisions. Some utilities even pro-
vide design and commissioning assistance.”
The typical utility incentive involves rebates using ratepay-
er funds, according to Lips. Fixtures, troffers, controls, bulbs
and other energy-efficient lighting technologies have specific
rebate values, but you will need to be precise with your plan-
ning in order to capitalize optimally.
Contacting your utility directly, searching for incentives
with ENERGY STAR’s Rebate Finder ( www.energystar.gov/
rebate-finder), looking within the Department of Energy’s
Tax Credits, Rebates & Savings page (
www.energy.gov/sav-ings/search) and visiting the DSIRE database are some of the
easiest methods for finding the right programs.