Dan Lafferty is the owner of Relight Solutions, a company that specializes in installing energy efficient lighting in commercial and multi-residential properties. The company is based out of Vancouver, but has recently expanded to Alberta with hopes of going further. It currently employs five people in the province, with backgrounds ranging from industrial electricians to electrical engineers.
Relight is currently working on a project at Tempo School, a private school in Edmonton. The school has older lights and wanted them to last longer, not only to reduce energy costs but also to reduce the maintenance costs of having to regularly replace the old lights. Relight designed a project for Tempo School that includes installing new LEDs with daylight controls that turn off the lights when there is sufficient sunlight entering through the school’s skylights.
The school will receive a rebate of $11,500 through the Energy Efficiency Alberta’s Business, Non-Profit, and Institutional Energy Savings Program and expects the annual energy savings from the project to be $13,500 per year. With an additional $8,000 of lighting maintenance cost savings per year, Tempo School expects to earn back its upfront investment in just three years.
Lafferty sees energy efficiency as an integral part of the new energy economy. According to him, Canada is a resource rich country and he wants us to use our resources more efficiently. He says that up to 40% of commercial building energy use can come from lighting. And if we reduce that by 50% through energy efficiency, it reduces overall energy consumption by 20%. This reduction means that we will have 20% less emissions to address in the future through other mitigation methods.
Lafferty comes from a business background and it was his experience working for a tech company that developed energy-monitoring software that got him interested in energy efficiency. He decided to start a company focused specifically on energy efficient lighting because lighting improvements have a very quick payback – typically two to three years in the projects Lafferty has been involved in – and he sees a lot of room for growth in the industry due to the massive building stock with inefficient lighting. Plus, electricity costs are rising while the cost of the efficient light bulbs and other energy efficient technologies is decreasing. Energy efficient lighting is the “lowest hanging fruit to make drastic changes to our consumption as a society,” says Lafferty.
One reason Lafferty expanded his business into Alberta was because of the Alberta government’s energy efficiency rebates. He thinks that by providing a lucrative financial incentive, the market will adopt technology more quickly. In his opinion, a lot of our environmental problems aren’t from a lack of technology, but a lack of adoption of technology. Providing financial incentives allows for quicker adoption of that technology.