Make Small Businesses' Lighting Energy-Efficient





Governments and legislators can promote energy-efficient lighting by making training, expertize and financial assistance available to lighting contractors, designers, manufacturers and distributors. The New York State government's Small Commercial Lighting Program (SCLP) offers such assistance to help cover the costs of designing and installing energy-efficient lighting systems in commercial areas of 25,000 square feet or less. The SCLP is thus increasing the energy-efficiency of especially small businesses, and in 2004, project assistance of $110,000 resulted in more than 7.8 million kilowatts of energy savings while at the same time increasing the market share for efficient products.


The idea: 


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is a public benefit corporation, supporting projects that develop and promote energy-efficient technologies through its Energy $mart programs. All programs are funded through a charge paid by all electricity customers and NYSERDA administers the fund and programs under an agreement with the Public Service Commission.

The NYSERDA Small Commercial Lighting Program (SCLP) has successfully promoted effective energy-efficient lighting in small businesses. It has provided expertize and financial assistance to participating contractors, designers, manufacturers for the design and installation of energy-efficient lighting systems in commercial areas of 25,000 square feet or less. Technical specialists and experienced lighting design professionals assist in assessing and selecting lighting systems that will help projects to meet the SCLP design criteria. The participants are also offered access to resources developed by other organizations which are advocating high quality, energy-efficient lighting design.

The participants can also apply for three types of financial assistance:

  1. for designing and installing qualifying lighting projects;

  2. for promoting the benefits of effective, energy-efficient lighting to the market and to the end user; and

  3. to encourage training and certification of staff, and the use of an SCLP on-line design tool. Each SCLP participant can receive up to $30,000 in financial assistance over the program period - the size of the assistance depending on the size of the commercial space covered by the project.

There are many barriers to investments in energy-efficiency in the small commercial markets. The SCLP program is focused on barriers in the midstream market infrastructure - the knowledge and skills of the contractors, designers, suppliers and manufacturers that design, specify and sell lighting products to small businesses Changing the behaviour of these midstream participants, which will eventually lead to substantial changes in end-use consumer behaviour.

In 2004 NYSERDA received over 130 applications for the SCLP program, and paid more than $110,000 in project assistance and other incentives. As of December 2004, NYSERDA anticipated net electricity savings of 17 GWh/year, and a 4 MW reduction in the amount of electricity used at peak times.