Incentives Illuminate Benefits of Energy-Efficient LED Retrofit

2014-01-19T09:00:00Z 2014-01-20T09:19:12Z Incentives Illuminate Benefits of Energy-Efficient LED Retrofit nwitimes.com
January 19, 2014 9:00 am

Proving that sustainable business practices are not only the right thing to do for the environment but also good for business, DeYoung Interiors created a more positive shopping experience for customers last summer by completely replacing the lighting that was originally installed when they relocated to St. John and built a spacious new showroom in 2005.

Since the quality and consistency of lighting is extremely important when people are making selections in a furniture store – wood tones and fabric colors need to be shown in the best possible light – energy efficient LEDs are the right choice over traditional light bulbs for a number of reasons.

LEDs offer superior color point consistency and crisp, brighter light with well-defined directional beams making them especially ideal in any retail setting. Because LEDs emit pure white light, customers can easily differentiate variations in color as well as the finer points of the furnishings in DeYoung’s showroom.

They are also extremely energy efficient when compared to other lighting options. To date, John DeYoung and his partners have been saving $850-$900 a month since converting the entire store to LED lighting last summer.

Beyond that, LEDs reduce the temperature in the showroom, which is especially beneficial when air conditioning is in use, and, because they last so long, LEDs have significantly reduced the need for lighting maintenance as well.

“It’s a very competitive marketplace, and savings like this help us keep our costs down, which is always important to customers,” he said. “NIPSCO is genuinely concerned about helping us save money on our utility bills. That’s not something you would think a utility company would be doing, but they are putting the needs of businesses first with their energy-saving incentives, and people like Dean Garrett leading the way.”

When it comes to saving energy, NIPSCO’s Commercial & Industrial Custom Electric Incentive Program is designed to offer financial incentives to qualifying large commercial, industrial, nonprofit, government and institutional customers that complete cost-effective energy projects.

Under the program, NIPSCO customers planning to upgrade or invest in a new energy efficiency project will receive an incentive check based on the amount of kilowatt hours (kWh) estimated to be saved by the installation of the new equipment or systems.

Designed by the customer, these projects may consist of retrofitting or replacing existing electric systems, including lighting, HVAC, compressed air, refrigeration, food service, motors, data center and IT systems, or other projects resulting in incremental electrical energy savings. Facility construction or major renovation may also qualify for incentives.

In addition, qualifying projects may also be eligible for Energizing Indiana’s Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Rebate Program designed to help facility managers or business owners achieve long-term, cost-effective energy savings. Upgrades to lighting, variable frequency drives (VFDs), HVAC and efficient ENERGY STAR® commercial kitchen appliances are included.

So, with the help of these two Commercial and Industrial Programs to lower the initial out-of-pocket costs and improve return on investment, DeYoung started his project last June after acquiring the necessary retrofit kits plus 850 LED bulbs.

“I did quite a bit of research, and was intimidated at first,” he explained. “Then, I started actually working with all the kits and found it to be quite simple. In the beginning, I did have a licensed electrician come out to see if I was wiring them correctly (by installing the kits himself, DeYoung estimates he was able to save $12,000 to $14,000 in labor costs). Then, I just worked on about a dozen or so a day until the project was complete. In July, we were already seeing the savings. It was amazing.”

Thanks to the long life of LED bulbs (the projected lifespan of an LED bulb is 50,000 hours), along with saving nearly $1,000 every month in energy costs, DeYoung no longer needs to spend an average of $10,000 a year replacing bulbs for the next five years for a cumulative savings of $50,000.

“This is a great example of a local business that has embraced energy efficiency and is truly setting the bar for others,” NIPSCO account manager Dean Garrett said. “We're glad to have partnered with John and his team to help make these investments. This new lighting technology will have a long-term impact on the facility's energy savings.”

Now, DeYoung and Garrett are putting their heads together on more ways to save energy.

“Myself and my partners are really pleased with the results,” DeYoung said. “I strongly recommend this program. It’s opened our eyes to where else we could save. We’re in the process of installing light sensors that will automatically turn on and off as customers go in and out of our bathrooms. Now we can see how little things like that add up.”

A one-stop decorating shop that traces its roots through four generations, DeYoung Interiors features a wide variety of home furnishings from nearly 50 manufacturers with unique pieces that fit every home and lifestyle, plus flooring (carpet, hardwood, laminates and vinyl) and window treatments. The interior design team is led by licensed interior decorators who work side-by-side with the loyal customer base and often update the room vignettes on the showroom floor to keep things fresh for them. Since making their move to northwest Indiana, DeYoung Interiors has flourished while 18 other major retailers in the industry have gone out of business for a variety of reasons. Cost-saving measures such as the energy efficient light bulb replacement program in conjunction with NIPSCO are in integral part of the longevity.

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