Jan 262012
 

Minnesota Xcel Electric customers- now is the time!

Those of you who still have T12 lamps in your offices and warehouse be aware that Xcel Energy is offering bonus rebates on top of their already generous rebates to change these older fluorescent lamps to newer T8 lamps with Electronic ballast. (T12 refers to the diameter of the tube in 1/8″ increments. A T12 is 1-1/2″ in diameter, whereas a T8 is 1 inch in diameter. But the real cost and energy savings come from the efficient electric ballast that drive T8 lamps. )

2009 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regulations require T12 fluorescent lighting be phased out in 2012 and will no longer be available. To help it’s Xcel MN customers with this change, Xcel is offering bonus rebates through 2012 for T12 to T8 retrofits, T12 to T8 optimization projects and T12 to T5 lighting systems.

Now through March 31, 2012, all Xcel Energy is offering 50% bonus rebates to their Minnesota business electricity customers. These T12 conversion projects must be completed and invoiced on or before March 31, 2012. T12 upgrades completed and invoiced between April 1 and December 31, 2012, will be eligible for up to a 30% bonus rebate.

Note: Rebates for T12 upgrades will not be available after December 31, 2012.
After 2012 there will be no more T12 fixtures sold and as of last year there are no more magnetic ballasts sold. T8s and electric ballast are proven technologies, so there is no reason to keep playing your utility company for more electricity than you need.

Rebates range from…

  • $18.00 – $28.00 per fixture standard program
  • $27.00 – $42.00 per fixture with the 50% bonus (ends March 31st)
  • $23.40 – $36.40 per fixture with the 30% bonus (ends December 31st)

Note: All rebate amounts are per retrofitted fixture. Rebates cannot exceed 75% of project cost. Applications must be turned in within 12 months of invoice date or no later than May 1, 2013.

Details can be found on the Xcel website although it takes some hunting to find the rebate forms.

 Posted by at 2:37 pm  Tagged with: ,
Jan 102012
 

In the current issue of Electrical Wholesaling, Jim Lucy, the chief Editor, comments on a side-by-side comparison of Fluorescent and LEDs he saw at Lowes. I’m not surprised. LEDs often have an odd color cast. LEDs are now as efficient as Fluorescents but they are still more money. LEDs do have their uses. Often they are ideal in low wattage situations like decorative lighting. I’m sure they will get better and cheap as time goes on.

But what really galled me is that the LED on display was emitting a ghoulish blue-white light that could only appeal to someone trying to duplicate the lighting in a 1950s-era Soviet interrogation room. By any measure, this display did much more harm than good to the admirable cause of LED lighting, particularly in a setting where homeowners and other potential retail customers are probably getting their first look at LEDs.

May 172011
 

Missouri River Energy Services (Moorhead Public Services) has five helpful hints to cut your energy costs in the summer months. I have a couple comments…

#3. Adjust cooling equipment to occupancy schedules.
In the upper midwest this provides larger energy percentage savings due to the narrow spread between the summer design temperature and the indoor temperature.
Unlike the winter where the spread would be 5% in the summer the spread is closer to 25%.*
In the evening this spread narrows more until your cooling equipment doesn’t run at all.
Note: If you are on a Time-of-Day rate, be sure to program your equipment to come back on early enough to take advantage of the lower energy rates.

#4. Upgrade lighting systems.
“Efficient lighting technologies also give off less heat, which reduces the need for air-conditioning.”
This savings is rarely calculated, but it is real and substantial. For commercial buildings. even in our cool climate, we often find cooling equipment running six months or more during the year. By cutting the internal load of your building, not only does your equipment run less, but you can also resize the equipment when it is time to replace it, creating even more savings in upfront equipment costs and maintenance.

* Calculations
(5 degree setback / (70 degree indoor temperature – (-30 Degrees) winter design temperature)) = 5/100 = 5%
(5 degree setback / (90 degree Summer design temperature – 70 degree indoor temperature)) = 5/20 = 25%

May 042011
 

Bright Energy Solutions (Moorhead Public Service/Missouri River Energy Services) is offering an Excel spreadsheet to help you calculate cost savings and payback potential of lighting retrofits. It can be found under the Lighting New Construction and Lighting Retrofit section of their Energy Calculators For Your Home or Business webpage.

Continue reading »

Apr 222011
 

Bright Energy Solutions (Missouri River Energy Services/Moorhead Public Service) has added custom incentives for qualified indoor LED lighting installed in commercial and industrial facilities. “In order to be considered for a custom incentive, all LED products must be either Energy Star® qualified or approved by the Design Lights (TM) Consortium. Check out the latest Design Lights Qualified Products List and Energy Star Products. If you are considering the use of indoor LED lighting in commercial and industrial facilities please contact your local utility prior to the ordering of materials. Preapproval is required for all items to be considered in the Custom Incentive Program.”

In addition to these custom rebates Bright Energy offers specific incentives for Exit lights, reach in refrigerated case lighting, Energy Star qualified recessed downlights, and Energy Star qualified recessed downlight retrofit kits. These specific incentives are listed the Lighting Retrofit and Lighting New Construction application forms.

Feb 152011
 

According to Brian Hammarsten of Xcel Energy, “Last year (2010) customers took advantage of more than $20 million that we budgeted for rebates and incentives for energy efficiency measures.”

Xcel is  lowering their rebate on Parking Garage Light fixtures from $125 to $85. This is due to price drops in the wholesale cost of these fixtures…

In 2010 we increased customer rebate levels on most of the products covered by our Lighting Efficiency program. These rebates help our customers offset the higher cost of more efficient equipment by funding a reasonable portion of each project, not to exceed 60 percent of project cost.

However, economic conditions changed considerably later in the year and the cost of the equipment – particularly parking garage lighting – was not as high as originally anticipated. And while reduced cost is good news for customers, it also means we must follow suit when setting our rebate structure.

Dec 292010
 

Bright Energy Solutions has updated their rebate program for the 2011 calendar year. “All application forms have been revised and will be available at www.brightenergysolutions.com on January 2, 2011.” This applies to customers of Moorhead Public Service along with customers of Missouri River Energy Services and their utility partners. From their press release…

Summary of 2011 Changes…

New Construction Lighting Program for Businesses

  • T8 fixtures with CEE qualified 28 watt lamps and ballasts have been added with incentives up to $9 for a 4 lamp fixture
  • T8 high bay fixtures, T5 high bay fixtures, and CEE Qualified High Performance T8 Systems have decreased incentives
  • Energy Star LED recessed downlights have been added at $25
  • Energy Star LED recessed downlights have been added at $25

Residential HVAC and Energy Star Appliances

  • Programmable thermostats have been added at $25 each
  • Energy Star refrigerators have been added when an old working refrigerator is removed for recycling during installation of the new refrigerator

Food Service

  • Energy Star commercial dishwashers have been added
  • Kitchen hood and make up air unit controls have been added
  • Energy Star convection oven incentives have decreased
  • Refrigeration (See Specialty Measures Applicaton Form)
  • ECM evaporator fan motors in walk-in coolers and freezers have been added
  • LED lighting in refrigerated cases has been changed to include both new and retrofitted cases

Compressed Air Systems

  • Variable frequency drive air compressors have been added to the Motors/Pumps/VFD Program
  • Air leak detection surveys and compressed air system energy efficiency audits have been added as new programs
Oct 052010
 

I recieved an email from Hanley Wood University. They are offering five online courses related to lighting design. The courses are free thanks to their sponsors. I don’t know how good they are but they are timely…

Daylight Harvesting or Controlling Electric Light in Response to Daylight
Sponsored by: Leviton Lighting Management Systems

  • Define what daylight harvesting is and several benefits associated with this strategy
  • List daylight harvesting design control considerations and related components
  • Determine the best applications to take advantage of daylight harvesting controls

Introduction to Tubular Daylighting Devices
Sponsored by: Solatube

  • Benefits of daylighting in multiple building environments
  • Differentiate between different daylighting strategies and identify advantages and disadvantages of different strategies
  • Tubular daylighting devices are different from other daylighting product categories

LED Lighting Education for Specifiers
Sponsored by: Acuity Brands

  • Technology that makes LEDs so dynamic and powerful
  • Compare and contrast LED technology to alternative, more traditional light sources
  • Appropriate applications for LED lighting
  • Projected future of LEDs in architectural and lighting design

Lighting for Learning: Best Practices for Classroom Lighting
Sponsored by: Peerless

  • Learning environment is improved upon by changing lighting options
  • Describe at least two control settings and how they impact light quantity and quality in a school setting
  • How and why the Collaborative for High Performance Schools seeks to improve interior lighting
  • Describe how lighting can affect the economics of a school budget

What is the Big Deal with LED Lighting? How can LED Lighting Improve Projects I am Working on Today?
Sponsored by: CREE Lighting

  • History, present and future of LED technology
  • Describe at least three benefits of using LED technology, particularly related to energy savings, and see examples of LEDs in several architectural applications
  • Useful tips on how to prevent potential pitfalls in your projects, by learning more about how to properly specify LED fixtures
Jul 202010
 

Finally I have some good news for North Dakota energy customers- we’re getting rebates. It has been at least ten years since we had rebates in the state…

As of June 1, 2010, Xcel Energy’s North Dakota business customers can earn rebates for installing new, qualifying energy-efficient lighting or heating equipment. These rebates are part of the national stimulus funds being distributed in North Dakota; as a result, limited rebate funds are available. Rebates will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted or December 31, 2011, whichever comes first.

North Dakota business customers can earn up to $15,000 in total conservation rebates but can only submit one rebate application per technology (heating efficiency and lighting efficiency).

Some restrictions apply; see additional details, rebate tables and forms at www.xcelenergy.com/rebates or call 1-800-481-4700 and ask about North Dakota rebates.

Heating, Ventilation, and Cooling (HVAC) Equipment Rebates

Hot-water boiler | min 92% efficient | $2,500/million BTUH up to $15,000 per boiler
Hot-water boiler | min 85% efficient | $800/million BTUH up to $15,000 per boiler
Steam boilers | min 81% efficient | $500/million BTUH up to $15,000 per boiler
Furnace | min 95% AFUE | $500/furnace
Furnace | min 90% AFUE | $200/furnace

Lighting Rebates

Rebates for the equipment listed below are available-up to $0.40 per watt saved, up to 75 percent of the equipment cost.

  • T8 fixtures
  • Low-watt T8 lamps
  • Lighting optimization
  • T5 fixtures
  • High-bay fluorescent fixtures
  • Compact fluorescent lamps/ fixtures (pin-based only)
  • Parking garage fluorescent fixtures
 Posted by at 9:18 am
May 102010
 

There is some concert that Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) are not safe. In the early days there were issues with end of life and using the wrong CFL in the wrong application. Recently Underwriters Laboratories (UL) looked  at the CFL. They found, “CFLs do not pose any fire or shock hazard when used in a light fixture, controller, or switch that traditionally has been used for an incandescent source.” –May 2010 AL

The study examined CFL substitution in a variety of fixture types and found that even a CFL with the highest heat output still emits less heat than a 40W incandescent bulb. UL also looked at a lamp’s end-of-life characteristics. This is an area of particular concern for consumers, since earlier generations of CFL products have been rumored to make popping sounds or produce smoke when installed in an incandescent socket. The study also explored what happens when CFLs are used in conjunction with lighting controls such as motion detectors, wireless controls, and dimmers. No safety issues were unearthed here, but the test did indicate that there were issues such as flashing, flickering, poor light output, and reduced lamp life that might impact consumer satisfaction with performance. UL is quick to note that a CFL’s lifespan will be reduced substantially when installed in fixtures where switches are turned off and on frequently.

I’d like to add, that it is bad idea to a regular CFL on a dimmer. It may not explode but it will probably fail instantly. If you have a dimmer on the circuit and you want to use Compact Fluorescent Lamps, either removed the dimmer or use a dimming CFL. TCP has some nice dimming CFLs.

Many people are concerned by the mercury that CFLs contain. But what they fail to realize is the leading source of mercury emissions in the United States is from coal-fired power plants. And where CFLs can be recycled, the mercury from coal is going right into the atmosphere. I invite you to read all “25 Truths About Green” in the Fortune April 2010 Fortune magazine issue.

Considering that CFLs consume up to 75% less electricity than traditional light bulbs, using them decreases the mercury in the atmosphere. According to Energy Star, a 60-watt incandescent bulb adds 5.8 milligrams of mercury into the environment over its lifetime, vs. 1.8 milligrams for a comparable CFL.
Fortune April 2010

Aside: if you want to see dangerous Fluorescents check out the photo by Craig Cutler. Hot wires running to bare lamp sockets on a paper backdrop.