In our previous blogs on LED (light emitting diode) retrofits, we heralded LEDs as today’s standard for lighting efficiency, and we identified the benefits of lighting retrofit projects for a variety of retail and commercial buildings. We also offered strategies for planning a lighting retrofit project, and then implementing it—and, we suggested strategies for fitting the right kinds of lighting to particular interior and exterior commercial spaces. In this last installment, we want to touch briefly on rebates—identifying what they are, understanding when they are available, and plotting strategies to obtain available rebate savings whenever possible.

The cost of LED lamps has dropped significantly over the last several years. Still, they are more expensive to purchase than traditional lamps. Yet that first cost can be recouped – many times over, we believe – thanks to their long lifespan and efficient use of energy.

Read more about energy and cost savings realized through LED retrofit projects.

Fortunately, many utility rebates are still available which offer rebates for many forms of lighting retrofits, including fixtures, lamps & ballasts, and lighting controls systems.  Such rebates can offer significant savings to landlords and businesses, especially if you plan on purchasing many LEDs for your facility.

That said, there are over 3,000 utility companies across the nation, each with their own rebate process. Moreover, most utility companies only provide lighting rebates for certain products. Overall, many facility managers find the process of capturing rebates to be, on the surface, complex, time consuming and just plain daunting. CLS has managed 5,000+ utility rebates for our customers and knows how to adroitly maximize rebates to help achieve optimal ROIs for your lighting retrofit projects.

Understanding Rebates—the Basics

Currently, there are two main types of rebates: prescriptive and custom. Prescriptive rebates offer a specific dollar amount for each fixture or lamp. Custom rebates are based on the total energy savings of a specific project—for example, the amount of a custom rebate could be based on the amount of kilowatt-hour savings realized by switching from incandescent lighting to LED.

How to Locate Rebates

  1. Search There are several energy rebate databases available to businesses online; yet the Energy Star website rules supreme in terms of the depth and breadth of information available. Once on the site, locate the Energy Star Rebate Finder and simply plug in your zip code to locate all available rebates in your area. The results specify the utility, the specific type of discount available, and the range of that discount. It even provides a direct link to the utility company offering the rebate.
  2. Check Your Local Utility’s Web Site. For additional rebate information, local utility websites also have updated information that you can use to identify and leverage available rebates.
  3. Consult with a commercial lighting specialist. CLS Facility Services has decades of experience integrating the latest lighting technology into customer facilities of all shapes and sizes. We also understand the rebate game inside and out—we’re able to do the complex legwork up front to identify available rebates, and then capture them for our retail, office and industrial customers.

One note about rebates that we hope you’ll keep in mind. For years, rebates from utility providers offered arguably the most compelling reason to implement a lighting retrofit project. Yet rebates come and go—and given the many benefits of LED retrofits we highlighted earlier, they no longer drive the primary economic benefits of most retrofit projects. While lighting rebates can help you save money in a lighting retrofit project, they should be considered a supplementary savings—not the primary savings.

Remember: Lighting retrofit opportunities are a superb opportunity for businesses to reap thousands of dollars in energy and maintenance savings, while benefitting from the importance of more well-lit facilities. It is always important to remember that when it comes to lighting retrofits, nothing is more expensive than “the cost of waiting”, so it is important to take advantage of energy-efficient technologies, utility rebates, and the many benefits that lighting retrofits can offer.

We hope you have found this series on LEDs and LED retrofits strategies helpful. If you are looking for a Lighting and Electrical management company for 2017, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.