Environment - Climate Change

January 30, 2023 Published by Manitoba Chapter - By Denise Turanli

Save Money And Energy With Lighting Upgrades

From the CCI Manitoba Winter 2023 Condominium News and Views Magazine

Looking to cut down energy waste in your condominium building? Outdated lighting can lead to unnecessary energy use. By upgrading the lighting, you can save both energy and money. 

Efficiency Manitoba is a Crown corporation dedicated to energy efficiency. They offer programs and incentives to help Manitobans save energy, money, and the environment. One of these programs is the Business Lighting Program, which offers incentives to condo building owners that make energy-efficient lighting upgrades to their buildings.

Through the Business Lighting Program, incentives are provided for lighting controls, LED lamps, fixtures, and backlit signs in the common areas of a condo building. Eligible spaces include the exterior, hallways, storage rooms, laundry rooms, and other shared spaces. The incentive amount varies based on the product installed.

Lisa Pearson of Karma Property Management manages the condo buildings at 40 and 60 Shore Street near Bison Drive and Pembina Highway in Winnipeg. The buildings, built in 2009, received new exterior lights in 2022. The total project cost was close to $11,000, and they qualified for an incentive of $3,100 through the Business Lighting Program! 

Lisa said the process was straightforward, adding that the residents love the new lights. “The process was easy to maneuver once I reviewed everything, as it is step- by-step,” Lisa said. “Any questions I had were answered quickly by the staff at Efficiency Manitoba.”

How much can you save?

For new exterior fixtures, like those on Shore Street, you can receive an incentive of up to $700 per kilowatt (kW) based on the Manitoba Energy Code for Buildings. If you’re replacing existing exterior fixtures, the program offers incentives up to $475 per fixture. Other program incentive amounts include up to $150 per for existing lamps, up to $375 for existing interior fixtures, and up to $100 for occupancy sensors, to name a few. You can see the full list of incentives by downloading the incentive guide on Efficiency Manitoba’s website (efficiencyMB.ca/lighting).

Efficiency Manitoba is currently offering incentive bonuses through the Business Lighting Program. They recognize that the pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to complete energy-efficient lighting upgrades, so they’re helping to stimulate the economic recovery of businesses in the province by offering bonuses for customers and suppliers.

For Business Lighting Program applications completed before March 31, 2023, Efficiency Manitoba will add 25% to the total project incentive as a bonus once the project is complete. They’ll also give a $100 bonus to registered suppliers for every Business Lighting Program application they complete on behalf of a customer before March 31, 2023.

Benefits of lighting upgrades

Besides the immediate savings you’ll receive through the Business Lighting Program incentives, lighting upgrades save you in the long run, too.

LED lights use up to 80% less energy than traditional technologies. LEDs have a longer life, requiring less maintenance time and cost. And since you don’t need to replace LEDs as often, fewer lights end up in landfills.

Lighting controls are also eligible for incentives through Efficiency Manitoba’s Business Lighting Program. Controls include on/off switching, occupancy/vacancy sensors, daylight sensors, and scheduling and time-tracking devices.

Having lights on all the time contributes to energy waste; using a lighting control allows you to light up a room only when required. You can program lights to turn on only at certain times, use sensors so that the lights turn off when a room is empty, and add dimmers to control lighting levels.

In addition to saving money and energy, using lighting controls can improve safety at buildings. For example, installing a light with a sensor that turns on when someone enters the condo at night can reduce the chance of people tripping in the dark and deter vandalism and theft.

Before you install lighting controls, double check that they’re compatible with the systems you use.

Does your building qualify?

To be eligible for the Business Lighting Program, the building owner must be a Manitoba Hydro commercial customer billed at the electrical general service rate, and the building must have been occupied for at least two consecutive years. This requirement doesn’t apply to new exterior outdoor lighting.

The new lighting must be permanent and used for at least three years after the Business Lighting Program incentive is received. The lighting materials must be ENERGY STAR® certified, DLC listed, or approved by Efficiency Manitoba. The installation of all products must meet the Manitoba Electrical Code requirements.

When choosing a supplier to work with on your project, make sure they’re registered with Efficiency Manitoba, which is a requirement to participate in the Business Lighting Program. It’s recommended to get at least three estimates before making your final selection. You can find the full list of registered suppliers on Efficiency Manitoba’s website (efficiencyMB.ca/find-a-supplier). If the supplier you’d like to use isn’t registered with Efficiency Manitoba, they can register online.

Start the process today

After determining your lighting requirements, create an account or log in to your existing account on myEM, Efficiency Manitoba’s online application system. Either the building owner or the supplier can submit the application.

Efficiency Manitoba will review the application and send your approval by email. You’ll have one year to purchase and install your new lighting. After you finish your project, you can submit the completion documents through myEM, and the incentive will be on its way shortly.

Mara Doctoroff, a property manager with CW Stevenson, was impressed with how fast the process was. Mara worked with an electrician to upgrade lighting options at three of the condominium properties they manage. All three buildings qualified for incentives through Efficiency Manitoba.

The 15-storey condo building at 200 Tuxedo Avenue, which was built in 1974, upgraded its interior lights in 2022 and received an incentive of $5,600 through the Business Lighting Program.

“The whole process was extremely easy and did not require a lot of time and effort,” Mara said.

The contractor and Mara filled out the required information through the online application system. After Efficiency Manitoba approved the application, the contractor started on the lighting upgrades. Efficiency Manitoba sent out the incentive when the work was complete.

Lighting upgrades help save energy and money for condo building owners and suite owners. These savings, and the commitment to environmentally friendly practices, can be attractive to current and future suite owners.

Efficiency Manitoba is ready to help you participate in the Business Lighting Program from start to finish. To learn more and to take the first step toward big savings, visit efficiencyMB.ca/lighting.

Denise Turanli

Efficiency Manitoba


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