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Santee Cooper rebates shine light on savings
Published Thursday, October 06, 2011 1:50 PM
They're given little thought because they're on all the time, but lights can be a blight on a business energy bill.

Through its Reduce the Use efficiency and conservation campaign, Santee Cooper is offering rebates for customers who want to upgrade to more efficient lighting solutions for their business.

By working with one of Santee Cooper's trade allies, customers can qualify for the following rebates:

 25 cents per watt saved or avoided for lighting upgrades

 $30 to $50 for lighting controls.

"It's a pretty all-encompassing program," said Richard Carmichael, energy specialist with Carolina Cool in Surfside Beach. "Depending on the building, some of the rebates are pretty substantial. They pay a good portion of it."

For example, the Horry County School District received a $93,400 rebate for lighting improvements such as installing occupancy sensors district-wide.

Another option for customers is to upgrade from T12 fluorescent lamps to the more efficient T8 lamp.

Since their introduction to the market in 1930, the T12 fluorescent lamp and its magnetic ballast have been the standard form of indoor lighting for businesses large and small because of their ability to provide steady and bright light over a large area. You've probably seen them in various office buildings, schools and health care facilities.

Over the years, the T8 lamp and its electronic ballast have emerged as a more efficient alternative to T12s because they last longer and provide slightly more light at a reduced wattage.

"In every upgrade that I've done, the T8s have reduced the customer's lighting usage by up to 48 percent," Carmichael says.

"It's free money, but it also improves the return on investment," said Jeff Beukema, service account manager for Johnson Controls, a North Charleston trade ally.

Carmichael and Beukema agree now is a particularly good time for businesses that are considering the T8 upgrade to take advantage of these lighting rebates.

"The government will be phasing out the T12s next year, so they're going to have to change out those lights eventually," Carmichael says. "It's in their best interest to do it now, while Santee Cooper is offering this rebate."

Santee Cooper launched its Reduce the Use campaign in 2009 with the goal to eventually yield an annual savings of 209 million kilowatt hours. To find a trade ally near you, or to learn more about Reduce the Use programs for residential and commercial customers, visit www.reducetheuse.com .

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