How to get funding
We've all done it, but the process can be daunting. The best advice is to get top management's buy-in from the beginning. Understand your financial hurdles before getting started. Are safety or regulatory requirements also factors? Could utility rebates and tax credits accelerate your financial payback? By defining requirements up front and selecting the most appropriate and energy-saving solution, you can meet your organization's goals.
Federal and state governments are aggressively looking for ways to reduce energy consumption. Many agencies offer financial incentives for efficient lighting systems. Tax incentives such as the Energy Policy Act of 2005 allow deductions for lighting upgrades up to $.60/square foot, subject to a cap, for projects completed through 2013. Many utilities offer product- or performance-specific incentives. Some states sponsor grant programs for efficiency upgrades. Ask your local utility and your lighting partner for updates.
Many decision-makers focus on initial costs of a lighting system without considering long-term implications. But it's important to know the life cycle — or total system — costs up front. Total life-cycle costs include initial installation (material and labor), operational (energy), and maintenance costs. With the typical life of an industrial lighting system around 15 to 20 years, operational and maintenance costs will far outweigh the initial cash outlay. Addressing these costs will give you the biggest bang for your buck, and allow you to focus precious resources on your workforce and operational productivity.
A quality lighting system that meets your organization's financial hurdles must be properly weighed and balanced before a final design is accepted. However, when you complete an effective and reliable lighting upgrade, your facility will reap the benefits of energy conservation and productivity for years to come. — Williamson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the indoor products manager for Holophane, an Acuity Brands company.