How can you reduce the cost (or better yet, eliminate the cost) of adding LED lighting to your office, stadium, or venue? 

Try funding it with another green initiative. 

That is exactly what the Smithsonian Institution did to fund their LED lighting project. The nineteen museums and research centers, including the National Zoo, decided to fund their lighting upgrade project in the most environmentally-responsible way possible: By turning their old marketing materials into eco-friendly, branded tote bags.  

Eric Hollinger, co-chair of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History's Greening Task Force, worked with Relan to transform their old banners and fence screens into 1,000 one-of-a-kind tote bags.

The Smithsonian Institution's staff members could purchase the bags as gifts or for their own use, and the proceeds from the project went toward the purchase of new LED bulbs for the institution. Not only did the project help fund their initiative, but it also gave their current waste stream a new life and engaged their employees in the process. 

The Smithsonian's Energy Management Branch calculated that the lights purchased from the sale should save the Institution $66 per bag in energy costs of the next 5 years. 

The Smithsonian Institution is a repeat client of ours and we must say, their banners are some of the most unique to work with. With detailed photos and vibrant colors, their banners always make for beautiful products. 

According to Hollinger, when the products arrived, the staff started claiming totes before the boxes were fully unpacked! They are well on their way to selling out of totes and successfully raising the funds required for their LED lighting project. 

Your turn: 

What sustainability projects are you currently working on and how are you funding them? 

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