Incentives cut costs of energy efficient lighting design

Building new? Save big with New Construction incentives

If you're building a new office, warehouse, or multi-unit building, it's time to take a close look at the value of including energy efficient lighting throughout your new space. As three B.C. companies have found, energy efficient lighting design not only saves on operating costs down the line – it can also qualify for Power Smart incentives substantially reduce the upfront investment.

Focus on lighting

"There's a perception that state-of-the-art efficiency technology is only affordable for mega-projects like the Vancouver Convention Centre," says Luis Damy, Manager of BC Hydro's New Construction Program. "But smaller projects with tighter budgets and quicker turnarounds can benefit too – especially if they focus on lighting."

Damy says lighting makes up as much as 50% of the ongoing electricity cost in offices, warehouses and parkades. "At the same time, the cost of going energy efficient on your lighting is relatively low compared to other conservation technologies," he says.

Lighting incentives up 70%

Incentives available under the New Construction Program (NCP) include $1,000 for creating an energy-efficient lighting design that exceeds the B.C. building code by 10% or more, plus a sizable incentive to help cover the costs of buying and installing the new lighting.

The size of the lighting incentive depends on the total electrical savings of the specific design. Says Damy, "We increased our lighting incentives by 70% a year ago – they're now unprecedented and unbeatable. Substantial incentives make a big difference in builders' payback times, and contribute to immediate operational savings."

Three stories

Damy cites Bontebok Holdings Ltd. as one of many examples where the New Construction Program has worked to a developer's advantage.

Over the past three years, Bontebok has received NCP incentives for four warehouse projects, based on electricity savings of 1.63 million kilowatt hours in 680,000 square feet of space.

Bontebok's Ron Emerson is now a firm believer in working with his lighting designer, Cantec Electric, to create energy-efficient lighting designs. Says Emerson, "It results in savings on operating costs, while the rebates from BC Hydro make the initial increase in capital costs palatable."

Similarly, Azzurri Enterprises Inc. received NCP incentives for five warehouse projects, based on electricity savings of 1.634 million kilowatt hours in 760,000 square feet of space.

It makes sense to build energy-efficient lighting and other efficiency measures into a new building at the design stage rather than retrofitting later on.

Not only are operating costs immediately lower, but buildings are often more marketable. And benefits can go further than just the direct energy saved. That's the experience of Thrifty Foods.

"Energy efficient lighting design early in the design process pays dividends in many ways," says Jerry Wyshnowsky, Director of Energy and Environment for Thrifty Foods. "Because of lower energy consumption, efficient lighting produces less heat, which means that we are not running refrigeration systems to remove the heat produced by lighting our products.

"The products look better and stay fresh longer. As a result there is less waste all around, which helps keep prices low – plus the store looks great, which is a further benefit to our customers' shopping experience."

Incentives: easy to apply for

BC Hydro has worked to make the application experience smooth for building developers and designers interested in the New Construction Program.

For the Energy Efficient Lighting Design component, the lighting designer receives a Lighting Calculator spreadsheet that makes it simple to determine exactly what lighting will achieve the best energy savings – and the highest incentives – while still delivering the right quality and quantity of light to a space.

"Good lighting is lighting that is designed to suit the function of a space, be it an office, a warehouse, or a parkade," says Damy. "Good energy efficient lighting design makes for more productive employees and more comfortable tenants – and saves you money at the same time."

Source: BC Hydro News