By Shelley Gillespie
When the lights come on for his customers, it also lights up Don Arrigo’s life.
After Arrigo, president of Energy Efficiency Pros in the Airpark, tells them they can upgrade their commercial lighting to LED, do it essentially for free and then continue to save money, their reaction generally is, “It’s too good to be true,” he says.
And then he shows them the numbers.
“It never costs them any money,” Arrigo says.
Arrigo opened Energy Efficiency Pros, 16650 N. 91st St., Suite 107 in the Airpark, in 2012 and, unlike many new businesses, it was profitable the first year, Arrigo says.
Using tax and rebate incentives, and knowing that LED lighting has reduced energy usage dramatically over the years, he can show clients that swapping out incandescent lights yields savings.
“Typically, an Arizona business spends 60 percent of its energy bill on HVAC, 40 percent on lighting,” he says. “We save them 90 percent on that 40 percent.”
Arrigo makes use of SRP and APS rebate programs, which provide savings when companies upgrade to LED.
Although it would seem counter productive for energy companies to give back money, Arrigo explains that with reduced energy demand on power plants, fewer power plants need to be built.
A new power plant takes roughly five to seven years to cover construction costs. So power companies can afford to offer rebates to customers who help them save energy. And LED lighting cuts massive amounts of energy usage over incandescent and fluorescent lighting.
“Right now, we average an 85 to 90 percent reduction in the cost of lighting for our clients,” he says. “Companies can’t afford not to do it.”
Arrigo has taken his business from revenues of approximately $500,000 in 2015 to $3.9 million last year. He has roughly 200 clients across the Valley and among bright-lights users in Las Vegas.
“In 2017, we want to do $10 million,” Arrigo says. “That’s probably a stretch goal, but I believe it is attainable. Our new shared-savings program, where the client pays nothing but splits the energy savings with us, is going to be a huge success.”
Arrigo, a former Marine, who was working in the telecommunications industry, came to Arizona from Chicago 20 years ago. The telecom/phone systems that he sold were tied to energy controls. Segueing into monitoring HVAC and lighting systems was an easy transition.
During a discussion in early 2012 with a representative of SRP’s rebate-management program, as the rep discussed “more-efficient lighting” that competed with incandescent, Arrigo saw potential. By converting to more energy-efficient LED lighting, which had little market presence at that time, it was possible to cover as much as 75 percent of the job cost with a rebate.
After more research and study, Arrigo said he “jumped in with both feet in the lighting business.” He was ahead of the curve, and now it is paying off for him.
“It’s a phenomenal business to be in, because I can help businesses cut operational costs, and we help the environment. It’s fun,” Arrigo says.
Among EEP’s clients that have been retrofitted with LED lights are Levi Straus Corp., The Village Health Clubs, First Solar, Pinnacle Grill, Sauce Restaurants and many resorts, hotels and motels.
More information about Energy Efficiency Pros: eepros.com, 480-585-9161.