LIVING SUSTAINABLY: LED Technology Offers Bright Ideas for Saving Money
By Barry Rutherford, Holland Board of Public Works
Like many small business owners, Joe Langejans, owner of Maplewood Auto at 242 East 26th St. in Holland, has to make every dollar count to stay in business. So, when he was approached by a salesman talking about new LED lights and how much money he could save, Langejans said “show me in writing” and asked for a quote.
A light-emitting diode, or LED, is a type of lighting that uses a semi-conductor to turn electricity into light.
According to the Department of Energy, LEDs can be six to seven times more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer. In addition to being more efficient than any other bulb, LEDs contain no mercury, and have a much smaller environmental impact than traditional bulbs.
The contractor assessed and quoted Langejans’ facility and presented him with a couple of surprising things.
First was a sizeable rebate for the project from Holland Board of Public Works, which, according to Langejans was “absolutely” critical in determining his decision to move forward with the project. In addition, the contractor made it easy by handling the rebate paperwork. Last year alone, Holland BPW helped more than 150 businesses earn rebates for a wide variety of energy efficiency improvements.
The second surprise was that the contractor estimated Maplewood Auto would recover the cost of the project in just nine months with the rebate and the energy savings from the LED lights.
“The contractor gave me an impressive return on investment estimate due to the rebate, and explained the long-term, energy-saving nature of installing LED lights, which is why I moved forward with the project,” Langejans said.
Langejans is very happy with the performance of the LED lights; they resulted in a 36 percent reduction in Maplewood Auto’s electric bill, making for a quick payback. Langejans said he would recommend other small businesses in the Holland community adopt smart energy practices and look into financial assistance if needed.
Not sure where to start? Start by contacting an electrician or lighting supplier to help determine what LEDs are right for your business and visit hollandbpw.com for available rebates. Financing options are also available at Michigansaves.org.
Barry Rutherford is a certified energy efficiency engineer at Holland Board of Public Works. He advises commercial and industrial customers on ways to improve the energy efficiency of their facilities and production processes.
PHOTO CUTLINES –
Maplewood1.jpg A well-lit work area at Maplewood Auto Repair costs much less to light with LED technology.
maplewood.jpg New LED technology provided a 36 percent reduction in the electric bills for Joe Langejans at Maplewood Auto Repair.
ABOUT THIS SERIES
Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to www.hope.edu/sustainability-institute for more information.