Bright Idea

Will banning incandescent light bulbs be a boon, rather than a burden, for Nova Scotia businesses?

Nova Scotia businesses need not fear the province’s recent ban on the import and sale on traditional 75 and 100 watt incandescent light bulbs.

At least, that’s the narrative being spun by Efficiency Nova Scotia, a notfor- profit organization tasked with helping Nova Scotia residents and businesses use energy better. It says the move will save businesses money in the end. “There are huge savings for businesses when they do this changeover,” says Donald Dodge, an Efficiency Nova Scotia spokesperson.

Minimum energy performance standards for light bulbs came into force in Canada on January 1, which led to the ban. But stores can sell their remaining stock of incandescent light bulbs and Dodge says Nova Scotians won’t be fined for using them in their homes and businesses. Incandescent bulbs are being phased out because they waste too much energy generating light and don’t last as long as their more efficient (but costlier) competitors: halogen, compact fluorescents and LED bulbs. However, Dodge says as manufacturers produce more of the latter and demand for them grows because incandescent bulbs are out, prices will go down.

Not that businesses use a lot of small lighting anyway, according to Dodge. He says they tend to need four and eight-foot fluorescent tube lighting for their operations and most Nova Scotia businesses have already switched over to more energy efficient tube lighting. “Look at the cost of running some of these warehouses,” Dodge says. “You can cut your lighting bill in half by switching.”

For businesses which haven’t done so already, Efficiency Nova Scotia’s Business Energy Solutions program allows businesses which use less than 350,000 kilowatt hours of electricity a year to apply to upgrade their operations with energy efficient products, including lighting. Efficiency Nova Scotia says it will cover up to 60 per cent of the cost. It will also order the materials, install them and dispose of the old materials free of charge.

That’s a deal provincial businesses likely can’t afford to refuse.

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