Energy is our thing, so it’s your electric co-op’s job to keep you updated on the latest developments. That’s why we’re sharing the following information on changes affecting businesses, and details about commercial rebates.

T12 Lightbulb Phase-out
On July 14, 2012, manufacturers stopped producing traditional T12 lightbulbs and magnetic ballasts in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. These laws established new energy reduction targets for the U.S.

If you currently use T12 bulbs-those old-style fluorescent tubes that are 4- or 8-feet long and 1.5 inches in diameter-and one burns out, you may find that replacement bulbs are not available. Instead, you’ll need to replace the fixture with a modern, high-performance T8 or T5 fluorescent fixture or retrofit kit. These lights last twice as long as T12 bulbs, and have lower maintenance costs. Deal Alert: Your electric co-op offers incentives for you to upgrade your business or farm lighting. But, you need to act now as these T12 lighting rebates are set to expire at the end of this year.

Saving Energy on Farms
With the drought affecting Michigan’s farmers this growing season, it’s important to reduce costs where possible, and using less energy is a good financial stabilizer. If you upgrade to any of the items below, you can also earn cash-back rewards.

  • Install high bay fluorescent fixtures to replace old 250-watt or 400-watt HID (high intensity discharge) fixtures. Rebate: $20-$50 per fixture.
  • Use LED lightbulbs. Rebate: $8 per lamp.
  • Install low-energy livestock waterers. Rebate: $50 per unit.
  • Use variable frequency drives (VFDs) on pump or fan motors. Rebate: $60 per horsepower, up to 40 percent of the project cost.
  • Opt for qualifying circulation or exhaust fans in your barn. Rebate: $2 per blade-inch.
  • Choose an efficient milkhouse electric water heater. Rebate: $250 per unit.

Custom Projects
If standard lighting or farm equipment projects don’t meet your needs, you might consider applying for a custom rebate. If you already have an idea what you’d like to do, you can get started now and complete an application. However, if you are unsure of what your best option is, we can connect you with the right resources to make a sound decision.

Past approved projects have included manufacturing process improvements, non-standard lighting upgrades, irrigation pressure reduction, automated energy management systems, and desktop computer network controls. Rebates are paid at a rate of 5 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) saved, up to 40 percent of your total project cost.

Opportunity Knocks
Bottom Line: Instead of stockpiling old lightbulbs or hanging onto outdated technology, embrace new opportunities to lower your energy use. For more ways to save, including rebates for your home, check out all of HomeWorks Tri-County’s Energy Optimization programs ( or 877-296-4319).