MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: Retrofit business lights for less

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - New federal energy efficiency standards force many businesses to reconsider how they light their workspace.

Replacing fluorescent tube bulbs is an expensive overhaul, but businesses can do it without spending a fortune.

Commonwealth Mailing Systems has been shipping direct mail from an almost 60,000-square-foot location since 1981. Power bills on a building this size can run as high as $4000 a month.

James River Heating and Air's green energy team proposed a cheaper way to upgrade the lighting.

The fixtures date back to the 1960's. The ballasts were replaced, along with the bulbs. New t-5 and t-8 bulbs use much less energy than the old t-12 , which are no longer manufactured. The new bulbs are brighter, so fewer were needed to light the space, plus they last longer.

Sensors were installed to cut off the lights after 10 minutes of inactivity, and that can extend the bulb life to 50,000 hours. 120 watt incandescents were swapped for 15 watt LEDs.

Reducing the amount helped the business qualify for a federal tax deduction.

This company gets three power bills a month. All three showed declines over last year.

One bill decreased by 9%, another was 20% less over the same time last year - and that includes all the building's electricity, not just the lights.

If you have a business that wants to update lighting, you need to act fast. The federal tax deduction is only good for work done through the end of the year.

James River Air website -

Contact Mitch Mitchell, JRAC Commercial Energy Manager -

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