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It Literally Pays to Convert Your Sign Lighting to LED's

Tanner Otis
June 13, 2016 at 1:03 PM


Why updating your sign's lighting to LED's is a no brainer!

In comparison to traditional incandescent light bulbs, LED's use 75% less energy and last 25 times longer.

Let me give you a few seconds to digest that stat...

Okay, ready to move on? Good, great, grand!

Now let me ask you this, are you still using those ancient incandescent bulbs to light your sign? If your answer is yes then we have a problem. Not only are you probably paying someone to come out and replace them every 6 months because they last about as long as a candle, but your energy costs are through the roof in comparison to an LED lit sign.

Let's make this official and bust out a lovely table to drive this point home a little further.

Energy & cost comparisons between traditional incandescent bulbs & LED's

Traditional Incandescents


Energy $ Saved (%) - 75-80%
Annual Energy Cost* $4.80 $1.00
Bulb Life 1,000 hours 25,000 hours

*Based on 2hrs/day of usage at a rate of 11 cents per kWh

So yes, at first glance these dollar amounts may seem pretty low but keep in mind this is just showing 1 bulb that is only on for 2 hours per day. Your sign likely has many bulbs and is on a lot longer then just 2 hours a day.

In addition to saving costs on your utility bill, LED's also have a much smaller impact on the environment than traditional incandescent bulbs. And due to this fact, government entities like Tacoma Public Utilities reward businesses for making the move to LED's with their Bright Rebates Program

The Bright Rebates Program is here to help you save with lighting.

We all try and do our part to make this world a little greener, but sometimes energy efficient products can come with greater upfront costs making them more difficult to afford. Of course there is the long term ROI that we see with these energy efficient products but if the budget is tight then it unfortunately seems to be the first product spec sacrificed to get to a lower price.


This is where Tacoma's Bright Rebates Program comes in. They drastically speed up that ROI that we're all eager to get. Here is a quick breakdown of what the rebate program pays:

  • 17 cents per kWh saved in the first year, up to 70% of the total project cost.
  • Most projects see savings of 20-50%.
  • For smaller projects, a fixed rebate amount is established. This applies only when a projects total rebate is $7,500 or less.

According to the Bright Rebates Program website, here is a breakdown of what type of projects fall under the rebates program as well as the eligibility requirements.

Rebate Project Details:

  • Incandescent to CFL or LED fixtures and lamp replacements
  • T12 to T8 or T5, Hi performance T8, or LED fixtures or retrofits
  • Magnetic HID to electronic ballasted HID, fluorescent or LED
  • Incandescent to LED exit signs
  • Occupancy sensors/controls

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Need to be a commercial client of Tacoma Power.
  • CFL bulbs must be Energy Star approved.
  • LED fixtures and lamps must be approved.
  • All projects must go through the application process and be approved before funding.

Now you're probably saying, "Okay, that sounds great, but what's the catch?".

Definitely a fair question, but in all honesty the catch is really just being aware of the program, qualifying for the rebates & going through the application process. However, in working with someone like us who has experience with the program, we absorb the brunt of that paperwork burden on your behalf. 

Still not convinced?

Here's a look into our Burger King LED retrofit project.

Back in May, we worked on retrofitting a Tacoma Burger King's pylon sign with LED's through Tacoma's Bright Rebates Program. What we found is not only do you get a rebate on the costs associated with upgrading your lighting but you also get a chance to service and clean out the sign to make it look like new again*!

*Disclaimer: the filth in the images you're about to see might be disturbing...

We'll start off with a few before pictures. Here is a shot looking at the inside of the pylon sign before we got our hands dirty.


In case you're still trying to figure out what all of that is...Yes, those are in fact plants growing within the sign. I know we said to go green with your lighting but this isn't quite what we meant by that. 

Now here is a before and after side by side shot of the lower section of the sign.


As you'll notice, we got in there and were able to remove all of that nastiness that had built up over time.

Lastly, here is a look at the end result, both inside and out. Doesn't it look brand new!?


With a sign this high up you want it shining bright as can be and with some new LED's and good cleaning, this sign is now shining brighter than ever!

How do I get involved in this rebates program?

Oh! I'm so glad you asked. 

If you think you might qualify and are in need of retrofitting your sign lighting, all you need to do is reach out to us and we will get the ball rolling for you with the application process. 

Just visit our service page here to submit your request. One of our team members will reach out right away to get the process started!

Remember, you're not just getting a rebate but you're saving on future utility costs, helping the environment and bringing your sign back to life!

Let There Be Light! Click Here to Get Started On Your Rebates ›

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