Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lights Out: Are You Ready for Energy-Efficient Lighting Changes?

The next phase of DOE’s energy-efficient lighting legislation went into effect last month, leaving some businesses uncertain on how to best proceed in adopting energy-efficient lighting. Is your company ready for changes to lighting laws? Grainger has developed a “Test-Your-Readiness” questionnaire to help businesses assess how well they are prepared to adapt to DOE legislation:
  1. Did you know that DOE granted a deadline extension on certain products? While T12 and halogen PAR lamps were impacted by the July 14, 2012, deadline, DOE granted extension requests of some manufacturers on T8 products, with a new stop-manufacture date of July 14, 2014.
  2. Did you know that there is a cost to waiting to make the switch to efficient lighting? Many lighting categories were impacted by the legislation effective July 14, 2012, and by 2014, most standard medium screw-base incandescent light bulbs will no longer be manufactured and most general service lamps will need to meet minimum energy-efficiency standards. The value of implementing retrofits and lighting programs in the near term is that firms can immediately realize energy savings and take advantage of government incentive programs.
  3. Do you know what lumen equivalent to look for when replacing inefficient lamps? Lumens are the key to finding replacement lamps using the energy-efficient standards. Lumens measure lamp brightness while watts refer to how much energy it uses. For example, a CFL producing 800 to 850 lumens is generally the equivalent of a 60 W incandescent lamp.
  4. Do you know the lifespan of LED vs. CFL vs. halogen and incandescent bulbs? Depending on usage, LEDs can last up to 25 years and some CFLs can last more than 10 years, while many halogen and incandescent bulbs last generally about 1 year.
  5. Did you know that switching out old incandescent exit signs can quickly help save on a facility’s energy costs? LED signs have an average life of 11 years, which saves both energy and maintenance costs. This is one of many ways firms can start making changes on a small scale.
  6. Did you know that facilities can significantly save on long-term costs by replacing inefficient lighting with energy-efficient alternatives? Even though initial replacement costs may be high if a full retrofit is needed, facilities can realize substantial savings on long-term energy costs and reduce labor required to change out lamps.
  7. Have you explored your lighting retrofit options? Some lighting in commercial buildings will require full retrofits to accommodate the new ballasts and energy-efficient lamps. It is important to understand what lighting within a facility will require a retrofit so advanced planning and budgeting can be put in place to ease into the transition.
Answering “no” to any of these questions, Grainger says, presents an opportunity to better understand the upcoming legislation and determine what energy-efficient lighting plan will be the best fit for an organization.

“Grainger has been following the legislation closely in partnership with our lighting suppliers to ensure we’re helping our customers prepare for the changes,” says Grainger’s Meeta Kratz. “Even with the recent deadline extensions, the second phase of the legislation is still a very important milestone for efficient lighting and presents a huge opportunity for businesses to improve their energy management practices.”