When it comes to your local utility rebate programs, it pays (big time!) to know how to take advantage of all available application types available to you. For example, Ontario’s Save-On-Energy program offers two choices for businesses to apply for lighting retrofits; referred to as Prescriptive, or Custom tracks. And knowing how to take advantage of both choices can be worth 2 or 3 the rebate contribution you’ll receive.
What’s the difference between the Prescriptive, and Custom tracks?
Prescriptive applications are the easiest, and fastest, option. Using this track, you receive a fixed dollar amount for replacing each of your existing fixture types with a new (qualified) energy efficient (LED) fixture. Nice and simple.
The Custom track, also referred to as the engineered track, is a more complex route where your rebate is based on the overall savings between your existing lighting, and the energy efficient solution installed. This track requires a deeper understanding of energy consumption of each fixture, as well as your energy costs, and operating schedule.
Okay, so why does this matter?
Depending on your existing fixture types, one track can significantly increase your rebate over the other track. For example, let’s look at one of the most common light fixtures in the industry; a 2’x4’ office fixture typically found in drop-ceilings, with four (T12) fluorescent lamps.
With this fixture the standard replacement (retrofit) options are to either replace the entire fixture with a new LED fixture (flat panel or indirect troffer), or simply replace the four fluorescent tubes with new LED tubes, at a much lower cost.
So, let’s assume we go with the less expensive route of swapping out the (4) fluorescent lamps with new LED lamps, together with a new electronic ballast/driver.
Using the Prescriptive track your rebate is based on $4.00 for each lamp replaced, for a total rebate of $16.00 per fixture. Again, nice and simple.
However, here’s what I do when it comes to this same fixture, using the Custom track.
By understanding the fixtures current energy consumption, I create the base case. Next, I create the energy savings solution by using LED lamps, as the retrofit case. The difference between the before/after energy savings results in a rebate $43.00 – for a difference of $27.00 per fixture.
Although $27.00 difference may not sound like a great deal of money, let’s assume there are 200 fixtures. Now you’re comparing $3,200 (Prescriptive) to $8,600 (Custom) resulting in an additional 170% rebate!
In other words, by knowing how to take advantage of the more complex Custom track, you’re keeping $5,400 in your company’s coffers – and looking like an energy pro!
Although there are many applications where the Custom track beats Prescriptive, there can be just as many applications where the Prescriptive track beats Custom. An example of this can be found with high bay (warehouse/factory) light fixtures where the Prescriptive rebate is $110.00, versus the Custom track at less than 50% of this amount.
With each of the tracks having its own sweet spot, if you truly want to maximize your rebate it is imperative to understand how to use both tracks. And although many services providers may shy away from using the Custom track due to the added complexities, the financial rewards can make a significant difference on your payback and ROI.
To see a working example of the rebate referenced in this article, check out the attached Excel file where you can enter whatever quantity of fixtures you like, and instantly see the resulting rebates. It couldn’t be easier!
Founder, NexGen Energy Group
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