December 9, 2022
By Anastazia Csegeny
Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are the most energy efficient lighting currently available on the market. With benefits like reduced operation costs, better employee productivity, and safer fixtures, more and more businesses are making the crucial switch to LED lighting and related clean energy practices. However, it can be challenging for businesses to keep themselves informed about new LED innovations, as well as understand how they might adjust and better optimize their existing systems. Thankfully, there are a few simple and cost-effective ways to keep you and your business up to speed on LED lighting developments, as well as learn how new and improved technology can continue to benefit your daily operations.
Research government programs, grants, and rebates
The widespread use of LED lighting has led to the creation of many energy-efficiency programs throughout Ontario. The provincial government and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) have developed programs and incentives to help make the switch to LED technology more feasible for both small businesses and larger corporations. But these initiatives do change frequently, and new ones are often introduced to better meet business’ needs. As such, your business might consider devoting time each month to research new programs and grants that you may be eligible to apply for, as well as examine whether your current supports are still meeting your goals. At the moment, the following programs, rebates, and incentives are in place to help businesses across the province manage energy costs:
For industrial and commercial businesses:
- Comprehensive Electricity Plan: to reduce electricity prices for large and mid-sized industrial and commercial businesses
- Industrial Conservation Initiative: allows manufacturers and greenhouses with average monthly peak electricity demand over 500 kilowatts to reduce their electricity costs by reducing consumption during the top five peak hours of the year
- Northern Energy Advantage Program (NEAP): provides a rebate of 2 cents per kilowatt-hour for eligible mining, forestry, and steel operations in Northern Ontario
For small business, institutional buildings, and some commercial spaces:
- Retrofit Program: incentives to retrofit your lighting (with controls), equipment (HVAC), automation; specific retrofit measures are regularly updated online
- Lighting for Small Businesses: lighting assessments and up to $2,000 in incentives for all types of businesses with 50 or fewer employees
- Energy Manager Program: assistance for identifying energy efficiency opportunities and developing energy management plans
- Energy Performance Program: incentives for single-site and multi-site customers for growing their energy savings over time
For Indigenous businesses:
- First Nations Community Buildings Retrofit Program: up to $100,000 per community for eligible customized energy efficiency projects in band-owned commercial and institutional buildings
Complete regular lighting audits and energy assessments
Even after an efficient lighting system has been installed in your business’ building, it is still important to have later audits and assessments to ensure everything is working to its full potential. For example, an expert, like Daisy Energy, might have first audited your current lighting system in preparation for LED upgrades. But after a few months of using your new system, your business might call back an expert to make further recommendations and seek out more opportunities for energy savings, such as through motion and occupancy sensors.
It is also possible for your business to conduct its own audits and assessments to maintain the more basic aspects of your lighting system. If you have the resources, personnel, and time to spare, it never hurts to put in the effort to understand your new lighting system and what eventual adjustments and improvements you might need in the future. Facilities managers already do periodic check-ups of heavy machinery and other equipment used on a daily basis, so why not add the lighting system to the list, too? Your business’ personal lighting audit or assessment might include checking even simple and quick things like the following:
- Do employees experience glare on their screens as they are working?
- Is the lighting too dim or too bright for employees to work effectively?
- Does the lighting produce unnecessary heat and make the space uncomfortable?
- How much natural daylight is still being used in the space?
- How many hours per day is the lighting activated in the space?
- Is the colour of the lighting appropriate for the space (warm vs. cool light)?
Prepare questions, comments, and concerns for maintenance checks
Of course, when maintenance is needed for your LED lighting system, your management team should make an effort to stay engaged and interested in the process. With a new system’s first maintenance check coming up, your business might hold a meeting to listen to comments, concerns, and general feedback from staff. Open and honest dialogue is an important part of any cohesive and well-functioning team, and though your lighting system might not seem like a significant topic to discuss with your staff as a group, LED lighting has been proven to boost alertness and cognitive function. A comfortable and safe working environment is fundamentally for everyone’s benefit, from the floor to management, so don’t hesitate to pass on questions and critiques the next time your lighting system is due for a tune up. You might keep your business’ dialogue open through a format like the following:
- Is there anything different we need to START doing with our LED lighting system?
- Is there anything we need to STOP doing with our LED lighting system?
- Is there anything we need to CONTINUE doing with our LED lighting system?
Ask an expert and never stop learning
Even with the above tips for staying informed about your LED lighting system, it never hurts to go straight to an expert and sit down for an enriching conversation about what’s next and where technology might be in a few years time. As your trusted lighting partner, Daisy Energy is dedicated to serving clients long after a new LED lighting system has been installed. Our commitment to sustainable and eco-conscious solutions makes us one of Southwestern Ontario’s top providers, and our inbox is always open for queries, questions, and comments. Contact us via phone or email: we’re always here and ready to help.