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A Bright Idea

09/08/2017 by PJ  McLoughlin

SEAI's Smart Lighting Grant for Small Businesses

A step by step guide for lighting installers

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We have come a long way since we once relied on candle light as our main source of artificial light. In the 140 years since the first light bulb was commercialised, artificial light has had a huge impact on how we live and on how we do business. It's now impossible to imagine running a business without lightbulbs. In fact, most of us just accept lighting as an unavoidable business cost but what if there was a way to reduce our lighting costs by up to 90%? SEAI's new smart lighting grant for small businesses might be the answer!


Lighting grants available for small businesses

Small businesses while critical to the Irish economy, represent a significant portion of national energy demand. From the small business perspective, lighting costs also represent unnecessarily high costs to small businesses. We have recently launched a scheme to help small businesses save on lighting energy costs by switching to energy efficient lighting. The scheme is open to small businesses and installers looking to work with small businesses to avail of this grant which covers up to 40% of the costs of upgrading your lighting to LED.


Why LED is the frontier in lighting

Firstly, not all lightbulbs are created equal. We have outgrown incandescent bulbs and CFLs are no longer the most efficient lighting option. Technology has brought us LEDs that are more energy efficient and can last for 25 to 30 years. LEDs convert close to 100% of the energy used into light. One of the great things about LEDs is that they are extremely adaptable and can be blended together to produce millions of colour options. You can opt for bright white lights for task lighting or softer yellow tones to create warmth.

Another technology increasingly used in businesses to reduce energy use and costs are sensors. Installing sensors means an end to lights being accidently left on in bathrooms or staff kitchens. Frantically searching for light switches are a thing of the past while walking up and down dark hallways. Lighting controls allow you to set lights to come and off at the times you need them


Step by step guide for lighting installers

We have created a guide to help lighting professionals interested in working with small businesses to avail of this grant. The cost savings and payback period from lighting upgrades are well worth the effort and time commitment.


Step 1 - Recruit small businesses

Reach out to your networks and find small businesses that want to reduce their lighting costs and are willing to invest in a lighting upgrade in order to do so.

The grant is available for small businesses in the Republic of Ireland with less than 50 employees and either an annual turnover and/or balance sheet total not exceeding €10m, in one of the following sectors:

  • Fitness Centres
  • Retailers
  • Small Hotels / Large B&Bs
  • Pharmacies
  • Nursing Homes
  • Jewellers

Other sectors will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


Step 2 - Decide what lighting upgrades are needed

Firstly, you need to work with the small business(es) to figure out what scale of upgrade they want to carry out. Do they want to replace existing lights with more efficient versions or are they considering a complete redesign? If they have the budget for a complete lighting redesign, then it is highly recommended as the return on investment can be higher. It is important to note that businesses must commit to upgrading their whole building. Individual businesses can upgrade multiple buildings - in fact, this is encouraged!


Step 3 - Project planning your lighting upgrade

The next step is to work out in greater detail what upgrades need to be completed. You will need to write a list of all the fittings being replaced and identify what products you are going to replace them with. You also need to list any other upgrades being carried out.


Step 4 - Select your suppliers

SEAI has a register of energy efficient products. This is called the SEAI triple E register. To qualify for the grant, you must select products from the Triple E register. There are some exceptions to this which are detailed here.


Step 5 - Energy savings and credits

Participating Energy Suppliers (PES) have an obligation to deliver energy savings annually to a level that is linked with their energy sales. They are actively seeking projects to be associated with in order to claim the energy savings credits. There are a number of ways such suppliers could be involved in projects under this pilot scheme. These include project management, provision of a financial contribution, provision of materials, installation of works, monitoring lighting, energy auditing or advice. You must identify if any PES is involved and complete the Non-Residential Energy Credits (NREC) application form. Full guidance on this process can be found here. Any PES will be very familiar with the process and may be able to help with completing the application form.


Step 6 - Work out the cost

The next step is to work out costings for the upgrade work.


Step 7- Conduct a lighting evaluation

You now need to fill out the Lighting Evaluation Workbook. You will need to undertake a lighting survey in order to complete this workbook. For the survey, you must have a dedicated smart meter installed (if service meter not already in place). You need to measure energy consumption for at least one week before works begin to get baseline data on energy use.

The workbook will calculate the annual savings from upgrading the lighting and help you work out the costs-benefits and payback period. More detailed information on how to complete the evaluation can be found in the grants section of our website. When opting for a complete lighting redesign, you will need to submit a simple floor/building plan and a design specification with lighting levels.


Step 8 - Detail a delivery plan with timelines

Completed claims are to be sent into us by October 13th 2017. This means any work must be completed by the end of September at the latest. To apply you will need to draft a plan with all the work that needs to be completed and when the work will be carried out.


Step 9 - Complete the application form

The lead applicant should complete the application form, taking care to ensure all information is correct. Applications should be submitted to SEAI by email to


Step 10 - Letter of offer

Once we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement within 5 working days. The Letter of Offer that we issue will form the basis of the contract between you and us. We aim to issue a Letter of Offer within 28 days of receipt of an application. You must formally sign the Letter of Offer within 14 days of us sending it out. Only after you receive this Letter of Offer can you start installing your proposed upgrades.


Step 11 - Getting to work

You're now ready for work to commence on your lighting upgrade

You should have your project completed and the necessary request for payment form submitted together with necessary proof of payment on or before 13th October 2017.


If you want to find out more, please contact us on or call us on 01 8082100.


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