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To help recoup the cost of lighting controls, managers have several options. First, many utilities offer fairly substantial rebates to install energy-efficient devices, such as lighting controls. Second, managers can take advantage of the Commercial Building Tax Deduction, part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct).
"In the Commercial Building Tax Deduction, there's a deduction that you can achieve just for upgrading your lighting for new or existing buildings," Jouaneh says. "The main prescriptive requirement is to beat ASHRAE (90.1-2001) watts-per-square-foot requirements by 20-40 percent.
"Additionally, you have to meet the mandatory lighting-control requirements of ASHRAE 2001, and you have to do dimming or bi-level switching in most spaces. For the prescriptive requirements for the tax deduction, you have to do those items for control."
To take full advantage of the Commercial Building Tax Deduction, managers can consult a third party that specializes in breaking down all the potential opportunities for savings.
"Like almost anything with taxes, sometimes it's difficult to really understand the advantages or disadvantages of doing something," Freshman says. "We provide information to our customers that we hope will help them in terms of understanding their different options. But there are specific companies that specialize in working with customers to — from the ground up — design what will get them the most tax credits."
Lighting Controls: Take Advantage of Rebates, Tax Deductions