Lighting costs can account for as much as 40 percent of your business's utility bills. If you're looking to reduce energy expenses (and energy consumption), lighting rebates make it efficient to modernize your business lighting. Since rebates tend not to be advertised, learn how to find them, and determine if your company is eligible.
DSIRE, which stands for the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, allows you to search for rebates, initiatives, and grants for energy use. While it's open to individuals as well as businesses, and while DSIRE showcases more than just lighting, it makes a great place to start.
To search, input your zip code to find all opportunities near you. Then sort search results by sector to quickly drill down to commercial and industrial opportunities, see whether your project is eligible, and learn how to apply.
Energy-efficient rebates come in the form of discounts on products (such as lightbulbs), prescriptive rebates that refund certain types of expenses, and custom rebates that offer significant cash savings on major energy improvement projects. With prescriptive and custom rebates, your business usually needs to apply ahead of time, receive pre-approval, pay upfront for the products, then wait to receive a refund. This takes anywhere from several weeks to several months.
For instant lighting rebates, look to your utility company, which may offer rebates on office lighting. These rebates are essentially point-of-sale discounts on the cost of energy-efficient lightbulbs, such as LED bulbs. When you purchase bulbs at a discount, you not only reduce business lighting costs, you lower the costs of retrofitting existing business lighting with energy-efficient lightbulbs.
Utility companies also offer free lighting audits, which can help you understand how your business consumes electricity. A lighting audit will show you which lights consume the most amount of energy and which are efficient. By replacing energy hogs with lights that consume a small amount of power, you will save energy and money. Studies indicate that it takes just two to three months for the lights to pay for themselves through reduced energy costs.
A lighting audit will also show you the best way to layout lighting to maximize visibility in the workplace. Efficient lighting systems design and use of natural light will help your business save money.
In a lighting audit, you'll learn the ROI, or return on investment, of switching to energy-efficient business lighting and the proposed financial cost. When you understand the return on investment of switching to efficient business lighting, you can budget for the project while anticipating the proposed cost savings of every green step.
Not every type of lightbulb will be available at a discount so you won't be able to replace all existing bulbs and fixtures with rebates on energy-efficient office lighting. However, every bulb you change lowers your energy use immediately, so once you switch, you'll soon recoup your expenses and see the savings add up.