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MEA Helps State Office Building with Energy Efficiency Upgrade

A holiday gift arrived early for Maryland taxpayers on December 23, 2021. That date saw the Maryland Energy Administration join the Maryland Department of General Services to welcome staff and incoming visitors to enjoy a new lighting efficiency upgrade at the Tawes Building in Annapolis. But what began as a story about energy efficiency also reveals a valuable cash flow opportunity available to any Maryland commercial building owner who chooses to follow the State’s leadership example.

First, the basics. Built in 1973, the 273,300 sq. ft. Tawes State Office Building in Annapolis hosts the Maryland Department of the Environment and District Court. A study by the University of Maryland for the State’s Department of General Services (DGS) projected an 80% savings in the amount of electricity required for interior lighting, simply by converting fixtures from fluorescent to LED technology.

The Tawes Building was one of two included in a comprehensive lighting retrofit. The annual utility bill savings alone for these buildings penciled out to over $89,000. Add to that the impact of reduced maintenance from using longer-lasting LED lamps, and that annual savings figure grows to just over $100,000. And although you can’t put a dollar figure on it, the building occupants benefitted from the reduced glare that emitted by LED lights.

The State also drew over $573,000 in utility rebates from Baltimore Gas & Electric that were used to write-down the $1 million cost of installing the new light fixtures. The balance was financed by a zero-percent Jane E. Lawton Conservation Loan issued by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). The value of this particular MEA-DGS partnership only begins with the Tawes Building. The BGE rebate funds can be plowed back into more State building lighting upgrades – thus further reducing taxpayers’ expense burden for years to come.   

Commercial building owners in Maryland take note! The Tawes Building captured an 80 percent savings in lighting costs while improving lighting quality at the same time. Results will vary for other commercial buildings, but in general, the savings potential increases directly with the age of the fixtures being replaced and the daily run-time of those fixtures.