DELRAY BEACH, FLA.—Taft Durst Inc., a Delray Beach, Fla.-based company that does business as Vet LEDs, announced the formal launch of the Veterans Lighting Initiative. The CEO of Vet LEDs, Randy M. Durst, a Vietnam veteran, created the concept after reading a news article about the difficulty veterans were having getting good jobs in today’s economic climate.
“It occurred to me that hiring veterans to install LED lighting was a no-brainer,” Durst says. Over the course of the next two years, hundreds of thousands of military servicemen and women will be returning to a very uncertain future as they transition back into civilian life. The Veterans Lighting Initiative will create thousands of good paying jobs for those veterans and their families.
“I looked at the pace at which our businesses and governments have been retrofitting our infrastructure with new energy-efficient lighting products and wondered why it wasn’t happening faster” Durst says. “In the marketplace, new technology is sometimes slow to be embraced. The state of LED technology has now matured to the point LEDs are more than ready for primetime. Considering the huge savings generated by LEDs, this should be a priority for businesses and government. It’s not rocket science. We are talking about changing a light bulb. We should be doing this. We need to do this. It should be a high priority national initiative.”
When asked about the chances for success, Durst said, “I think it’s a slam dunk! The Initiative will create thousands of jobs for America’s veterans. That means fewer people unemployed and more people paying taxes! It also reduces lighting energy cost by 60 to 90 percent for America’s businesses and government. Those are big numbers. That means businesses will be more profitable. That means government won’t be borrowing as much. It also means a reduction in dependence on foreign oil. That has national security implications. It means opening new factories and manufacturing “Made in America” LED products to meet demand. It means utility companies won’t have to build as many new power plants. I’ve yet to find a single reason anyone would say no.”
Price is Not Always Actual Cost
What about the high cost of LED products? Durst was quick to add that the higher cost of an LED lamp puts off many people. “It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to the thought of spending $15 to $50 for a light bulb,” he says. “One customer in Boston flatly stated that he would never buy a $45 LED light. I showed him the numbers. When you factor in incentives that many utility companies are offering today, the ROI was less than 60 days. Needless to say, he bought the lamps.”
“Yes, it is cheaper in the short term to buy a CFL but it is more expensive to operate than the LED,” Durst says. “Today we can replace a 100W incandescent lamp with a 26W CFL or a 10W LED. If the company is using them more than six hours a day, then it makes sense to use the LED. The savings generated by the lower wattage more than makes up for the higher cost. And don’t even get me started on the mercury in the lamps or the real cost of trying to recycle. Sadly many people don’t take the time to recycle as they should and simply throw them out, into our landfills.”
Vet LEDs offers customers a variety of services, principal among them is the Energy Savings Performance Program, which is very important for many businesses today that don’t have the cash available for the purchase of the LED lamps or fixtures. “Let the lamps pay for themselves,” Durst says. “When a 100W lamp is replaced with a 10W LED lamp, there is 90W of savings. Take 45W of savings to pay for the lamps over time, and the customer immediately realizes 45W of savings. That’s real money in their pockets. No upfront cost, and they create jobs for vets. That’s a win-win!”
Vet LEDs offers to donate $1 for every lamp and $5 for every fixture installed to a veterans organization of the customer’s choice.
“The customers love this,” Durst says. “Many of them already support veterans organizations and this lets them to do even more, all to the benefit of our veterans.”
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