Lighting is a major energy expense for any business, accounting for 30 to 60 percent of annual electric costs. Fortunately, in terms of reducing energy consumption and costs, lighting is also considered “low hanging fruit” — relatively easy to do and the energy cost savings can be significant.
When looking to switch to more energy-efficient lighting, ComEd is a smart place to start. ComEd’s Smart Ideas for Your Business® program offers cash incentives, technical services and whole-building solutions to help businesses use energy more efficiently.
We talked with Sharon Madigan, Senior Program Manager, about the program:
Q: How can ComEd help a business reduce its lighting costs?
A: First, request a Smart Ideas Opportunity Assessment. A ComEd energy engineer visits your site and identifies energy-efficiency opportunities, including lighting. You then get a report detailing unbiased, energy-saving recommendations, including estimated energy savings, cost savings, project costs, potential money-back incentives, and projected payback. We follow up to discuss your options and answer questions, and you decide which projects to implement.
Q: What are common lighting upgrades?
A: More advanced lighting technologies become available every year, providing better illumination at reduced operating cost and less impact on the environment — indoors and out. Best of all, upgrading lighting can be done with minimal, if any, interruption to your operations.
ComEd provides incentives for installing more energy-efficient lighting for common upgrades such as:
• Replacing old T12 fluorescents with high efficiency T8s
• Changing out incandescent and halogen lamps for CFLs or LEDs
• Retrofitting fluorescent lighting with linear LEDs
• Installing occupancy sensors, so lights go on/off as people come and go in often-unoccupied areas
Q: Doesn’t that get expensive?
A: There is an upfront cost, but lighting upgrades have a short payback period, compared to other energy projects. For example, ComEd worked with a distribution center that implemented every recommendation in their Smart Ideas Opportunity Assessment. Total project cost was $492,086. Monthly energy savings are in the 27-31 percent range, and they received a $184,900 back in ComEd incentives. The estimated payback for all projects averaged out to 1.4 years, with the incentives. (See the full case study here).
Q: Besides saving money, what are the advantages?
A: Upgrading to new lighting technologies can mean upgrading to better light — brighter, more consistent illumination that can improve employee productivity. When companies upgrade to more energy-efficient lighting, they often start looking at other ways to “Go Green.” Starting with lighting can be a gateway to further supporting goals for a sustainable business or green building certification.
ComEd has programs and equipment to support projects beyond just lighting, including several specific to commercial and industrial Businesses/Industrial and manufacturing facilities.