LED Lighting – New Possibilities & Incentives

Facing crowd Alt Angle Amidst the soaring high ceilings and cabin-comfort feel of McMichael Canadian Art Collection, last week Nedco and OSRAM introduced some excellent news for all those who are interested in the growing trend toward cost-saving, energy efficient LED lighting. There are more product options, ready to fit more fixtures, and provide more savings! New offerings are not only on par with but surpassing CFL, halogen, and incandescent technologies in two important ways: savings, and quality of light. For galleries, museums, and theatres across Ontario, this means that LED lighting not only makes your facility greener and more sustainable, but it also helps your bottom line and provides a superior visitor experience.

Is LED Suitable for Arts Spaces? YES! The Advantages:

  • Fits existing fixtures – even many historic fixtures
  • Excellent visitor experience – increased luminance reveals more colour and depth in paintings
  • Preserves art – causes no UV or heat damage, reduces need for art to “rest” in dark storage spaces
  • Straightforward installation and good light angle, low spill (reflectors not needed)

A Compelling Business Case for Your Funders and Supporters:

  • The average energy savings from LED come in at 75-84%
  • LED technology produces less heat
  • Saves money on air-conditioning
  • Lasts 10 to 20 times longer than incandescent bulbs
  • Free of hazardous materials (no mercury, unlike CFLs)

With incentives, many organizations realize full payback in under one year. Best of all, savings continue to accumulate long after the glorious payback mark! 

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McMichael Art Collection with LED lighting.

Success Stories from Arts and Heritage Spaces

In 2010, McMicahel Canadian Art Collection became the first large galleries in North America to switch over to LED lighting. PowerStream and OSRAM SYLVANIA were partners on this incredible transition. They reported significant savings on electricity (more than 60%!) and gallery staff added: “Not only is there sustainable benefit to the environment and operating costs, but to the artwork as well, since LED lighting does not emit harmful UV radiation and heat that adds to the deterioration of paintings.” On the tour, we saw how the light angle and colour flatter paintings. They’re “like jewels” on the wall, one onlooker commented. Lighting aficionados and gallery staff on the tour were impressed by the low spillage and the range of earthy, red hues that appeared noticeably richer under LED lighting.

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McMichael Art Collection with LED lighting.

On the world stage, OSRAM’s LED success stories include the renowned Sistine Chapel in Rome, home to Michelangelo’s delicate frescoes, drawing open-mouthed stares from millions — roughly 5.5 million people visit this sacred site annually. Closer to home, the Chapel at Royal St. George in Toronto has also benefitted from OSRAM’s LED lighting, which fit existing historical fixtures. They also improved visibility of the stunning stained glass and double hammerbeam roof – the only one of its kind remaining in Canada. LIGHTING PRO TIP: LPW or lumens per watt is the measure that matters! This is the “miles per gallon” for lighting, your best indicator of efficiency. The LPW delivered by LED technology has been on the rise over the last few years, now surpassing other technologies.

Where You Can Find Incentives

  1. PowerStream offers Conservation and Demand Management services and can help you access incentives from the Ontario Power Authority.
  2. The Better Buildings Partnership Loan Program for Toronto-based organizations. They use a handy Intent to Apply form that’s a quick and simple way to find out whether funding can be made available.
  3. Nedco‘s teams can assess your current setup and make recommendations including incentive options and estimated payback date.
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LED close-up by Mike Deal, CC Licensed – CC BY-ND 2.0.

Not sure where to begin? Click to access ArtsBuild’s free tools, developed by facilities professionals, for use in Ontario’s nonprofit arts organizations:

  • PLAN IT | BUILD IT — your step-by-step guide to capital projects
  • Resource Library — for all things facilities related. Find case studies from organizations like yours, figure out feasibility studies, and more!

Learn How to Save $$ on Your Monthly Utility Bills

piggy bank

Reduce your monthly energy bills with practical strategies explained in the half-day Dollars to $ense Workshop on May 7, 2014 – REGISTER TODAY.

All organizations interested in energy conservation are invited to attend.

This workshop has been supported by Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited.

Developed by Natural Resources Canada, Dollars to $ense will teach you:

  • What to do now to save money on your monthly energy bills!
  • Best practices for energy conservation
  • Tips you can implement right away
  • Low-cost and no-cost solutions
  • Real-world examples from facilities like yours

Who should attend?

  • Organizations that want to decrease their operating costs by making their energy management more efficient and effective
  • Those that are interested in making energy conservation changes to their facility but don’t know where to start
  • Anyone who can live-stream! You can join the presentation online from the comfort of your home or office.

Available live and through live-streaming!

WHEN: 9:00  am – 1:00 pm, May 7, 2014  with a lunch break and time for Q&A

WHERE: 4th floor Innovation Lab at the Centre for Social Innovation, 215 Spadina Avenue, Toronto OR join the live-stream online — convenient access for those that can’t make it in person.

COST: $25 per participant, in person or online.


Delivered in partnership with Natural Resources Canada and supported by Toronto Hydro. Sponsors Energy Workshop

The star design is a trade-mark of Toronto Hydro Corporation. Used under licence. ‘Toronto Hydro’ means Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited.

Going Fast – Facilities Workshops, Loans and Grants



Some of us are writing grants, some of us are receiving them, some of us are looking at new strategies for managing the same old budget, something stable but not keeping up with inflation and rising energy costs. Well, we have resources for you!

Below-Market Rent Opportunities in Toronto

Yes, below-market rental spaces are available for arts organizations! On Tuesday March 18th, learn how to find more affordable spaces through BMR offerings from City of Toronto. This info session includes a tour of an available space in Toronto Public Health. Full details – [LINK]

Low Interest Loans for Greening

Many energy retrofits and renewable energy projects are eligible for low-interest loans through. And the best part is, the process is straightforward. Before doing any major paperwork, complete a short and sweet “Intent to Apply” PDF to see if your project is eligible. This step saves you time in your funding search! Details here – [LINK]

Culture Build Investment Program – Deadline April 14

The Culture Build Investment Program provides matching funds to assist the City’s not-for-profit cultural sector with financing for state of good repair capital projects. The program also provides funding for feasibility studies for projects that meet the criteria. In 2014, Toronto City Council has earmarked $330,000 for the program. To date, the Culture Build Investment Program has helped bring 71 cultural facilities closer to a state of good repair. Your organization could be next! Applicatoin details – [LINK]

image by FutUndBeidl, CC by 2.0

Do you know why your ice cream is soft?

More importantly, how can solving this #firstworldproblem help your arts organization embark on an energy conservation plan?

As you might have noticed in our communications over the last couple of weeks, ArtsBuild hosted an Energy Conservation Training session last Friday, in conjunction with our ArtsBuild Energy Conservation Program. The training was to provide information about how small (and large) changes can make a difference in your organization’s energy consumption.

As someone who doesn’t know very much about my own energy habits, it was informative and interesting to learn that there are more factors to energy conservation than just installing energy efficient systems, such as LED lighting.

Stephen Dixon and Garth White, Energy Coaches with Natural Resources Canada, lead the day-long session and took the training class of 22 arts organizations through practical applications of energy conservation. Before getting started, everyone was able to share what had brought them to the training that day. Naturally, it was an interest in learning more about energy incentives – provincial and local, different approaches to energy conservation and general information about diving into energy conservation.

In addition to the presentation they prepared, Stephen and Garth lead the class through three different demonstrations that brought the learning to a practical level – demonstrating the range of colour in light bulbs, how clean air filters improve the efficiency of fan systems and the right valves can help make your HVAC systems more efficient.


One example that stood out to me was their demonstration with the light bulbs. When considering a complete overhaul of your lighting systems, Stephen and Garth talked about what factors you should include when calculating how long it will take to see the savings. How long the lights are running, how much heat the bulbs are (or are not) giving off and the type of light you need for your space are all factors in your overall energy saving outcome. It was great to see light bulbs also going off in the participants’ heads on how they could bring this learning back to their organizations.


So where does ice cream fit in? In another example, Garth shared that he had noticed his ice cream wasn’t as hard as it should be. Upon further inspection, he discovered his dusty refrigerator coils were to blame. The unit was running longer and causing ice to build up in his freezer instead of transferring the cold to his ice cream. Garth used this example to demonstrate how keeping your systems clean is the easiest way to make sure you aren’t paying more than you should be on your energy bill – and ensuring your sweet treat is just how you expect it to be!

These examples, plus the knowledge of Stephen and Garth provided a very informative day for all. For many, this training was their first step to forming an energy conservation plan. Next step? Learn more about your facility with ArtsBuild’s Energy Conservation Program!

A special thanks goes out to all our participants, Stephen and Garth and our session sponsors Natural Resources Canada and Toronto Hydro.


Sustainability Matters for the Arts: Article

We posted this article back in the spring (when it was originally written) but with winter looming, it might be a good time to start talking about your energy plans again.

As the article states, the time to act on your ‘green dream’ is now. While the article focuses on examples from the UK, the Ontario Power Authority has introduced incentive programs that will help subsidize some of the costs required to make your facilities more energy efficient. These savings can be put to use to enhance your organization’s mandate, in the form of programming, or other building needs.

You can read the full article HERE. This article provides an example of how environmental consciousness is evolving in the UK; hopefully it helps spark your organizations to talk about how you can begin the evolution of your own energy conservation plans.

Not sure where or how to begin these energy conversations? We’re here to help!