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Green Lighting Can Save the Federal Government Cash ... and Cut Our Taxes


By Seth Leitman

While the green lighting wave comes across the U.S., let's not forget that the main motive for our federal government to install these energy-efficient bulbs is to save cash, cut costs and -- bottom line -- help us to cut taxes.

A company I know, MSi Lighting (now partnering with 3M), has already installed LED lights at the Liberty Bell, Air and Space Museums, and even cruise ships (which save more per watt than on land due to fuel costs). This is equal to a lot of cash.

Yes, tax dollars are our cash, so I want to save our tax policy wonks a lot of time on Sunday talk shows: Install green lighting aka clean technology.

So let us dig a bit into some numbers here and realize we need to be asking our elected officials to 'Show us the money!'  Tax money, that is.

Since we do not have figures yet from the federal government on energy savings due to green lighting, let's look at a study a lighting company did for some businesses.  Then we can start to equate that to budgets and inevitably our taxes. Fair?  Ok. Here we go.

1. Just one building equals big savings

A Las Vegas furniture company saved over $182,000 in energy costs per year on one 50,000-square-foot-building.  Now imagine a 50,000-square-foot-building that's a warehouse for storage of government documents or even a U.S. Post Office.  That's $182,000 per federal building.

2. That savings really adds up

MSi Lighting has officially announced that its customers will save $2 billion during the life of their energy-efficient bulbs. However, when you include fuel costs too, it can go up to $10 billion. As stated: "This economic savings will provide a reduction of costs that expand across the corporate bottom line of a home, business, fleet of ships or government operating expenses."  Now realize MSi Lighting LED bulbs are at Federal Air and Space Museums, the Liberty Bell and other government locations. These bulbs are also installed at private-sector buildings ... Image if the federal government purchased efficient bulbs at the same rate.

Everyone should realize that we have plenty of U.S. government buildings across the country. Every major city has federal or local government buildings. If they all started switching out lamps at the same rate as the private sector, we would save a lot.

3. Savings could be even greater at sea

One customer of MSi Lighting, Carnival Cruises, spent $2.19 billion on fuel annually. According to industry standards, 27 percent of the fuel budget is for lighting. That is about $591.3 million dollars in cash savings per year across the entire fleet after switching to more efficient alternatives.

Imagine if lighting on ships and submarines can be cut to over $3 billion a year over 30 years -- that's getting into trillions folks. Part in parcel, let's think of the U.S. Naval fleet.  There are plenty of ships in the sea.  If we started switching them to LED, we could realize an amazing amount of savings.  It is also safe to recognize that the federal government has more ships than Carnival Cruises.

4. Efficient bulbs cut energy use in more ways than one

Levitz Furniture saved $80,000 in cooling costs per year when their story was reported. That building was only about 50,000 square feet.  Again, as mentioned in No. 1 here, there are plenty of 50,000-plus square feet of U.S. government property out there just waiting to be converted.  That's at least another $80,000 per year in cooling cost reductions in addition to the electrical energy savings listed above.


Now imagine all the government buildings went LED: How much can we save a year in energy and other related costs then? Trillions. So bye bye, deficits folks. Buh bye.

Seth Leitman, a renowned Best Selling Author, Editor and expert on Green-Eco Friendly lifestyles, is an industry leader, referred to as “The Green Living Guy.” In addition to authoring and/or editing a series of nine books with McGraw-Hill Professional entitled the “Green Guru Guide,” he hosts a radio talk show on Blog Talk Radio and a featured expert on WPIX 11 in New York City.

3p Contributor

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