In today’s energy efficient lighting environment, if your facility utilizes any fluorescent or incandescent lighting, without going one step further, know that your building is a good candidate for an energy efficient lighting upgrade to LED. This rule of thumb holds true even if your facility has the newer, more energy efficient fluorescents. Bottom line – any facility with any fluorescents or any incandescents is a good candidate for an upgrade to LED.

Previously, just trying to determine whether or not the economics of a lighting upgrade would justify the project cost became its own barrier, even before the project made its way to a spreadsheet. Additionally, until very recently, there was no Con Ed funding for incentives covering the replacement of fluorescent lighting in multifamily buildings. Because of the significant amount of fluorescent lighting in most multifamily buildings, no funding for fluorescents became just one more retrofit barrier.  So it is no surprise that many lighting retrofit projects just never made it out of the starting gate.

But that was all back when. The Now is that if your facility has not been upgraded to LED, Now is the time to take advantage of newly available LED products along with newly available Con Ed incentive funding. Here are the steps to move your retrofit forward and cash in on the economic as well as the environmental benefits that come with every LED retrofit.

First determine whether your proposed LED retrofit will pass the economic test. The answer to this question is Now very straight forward. Does your facility have any fluorescents or incandescents?  If the answer is YES, then the economics of a LED retrofit will work for you. Why?  With today’s LED technology, LED lighting products consume only a fraction of the energy consumed by any type of fluorescent or incandescent lighting product. So regardless of the specifications of your particular lighting project, as long as your project calls for the replacement of fluorescent and incandescent lighting with LED products, it will always result in substantial energy savings, and those savings will always economically justify your retrofit – guaranteed.

To further enhance the economics of a retrofit, Con Ed customers need to make sure that their retrofit plan will include an application for Con Ed incentives, which will help fund the replacement cost of fluorescents and incandescents with LED products. These incentives are available from both the Con Ed /AEA Multifamily and the Con Ed Commercial & Industrial incentive programs.  By including incentive funding, the economics of your retrofit will improve by further reducing the length of time of your payback. While payback periods will vary from project to project, here are some rule of thumb examples:

  • If your retrofit specifications include the replacement of both incandescents and fluorescents, the combination of the energy savings and funding will generate a payback in about one year’s time.
  • For projects that involve only the replacement of fluorescents, the payback will be longer, but usually less than two years. In terms of your investment calculations, either a one or two year payback represents a very substantial return on any project investment.

Your next step is to initiate the process by sourcing a qualified provider. Your provider will need to wear a number of different hats. First, they must have the knowledge and experience to identify and source the best LED lighting products for your retrofit. Then your provider should prepare a model of your project – cost of the product including installation, the amount of energy saving that will result from your new LED installation and the amount of incentive funding that you will receive. Finally, your provider should also have the needed accreditations to both submit your funding application for approval as well as navigate the funding process. For multifamily projects, your provider will need to be an authorized AEA (Association for Energy Affordability Inc.) Participating Contractor and for C & I programs, a Con Ed Marketing Partner.  Adam Kopp of Kopp Electric, an authorized AEA Participating Contractor for Multifamily LED projects, advises that in his experience, the process for multifamily housing projects moves along very quickly. “Once the funding application is submitted for approval, expect a Con Ed / AEA pre-inspection in about 4 to 5 weeks. Then you receive authorization to proceed with your LED installation. Following completion of the installation, Con Ed / AEA auditors will return for a final inspection, after which the funding payment will be authorized and sent out.” Also there is a valuable add-on to the Con Ed /AEA Multifamily program – free LED lamps for residents of buildings in the program.  For more information on sourcing a “provider” for this program contact