Leslie Etterbeek, property manager for LR Management in Southfield, Michigan, wanted to find a cost-effective way to improve the common areas for one of the multiple properties she oversees. Etterbeek was mainly concerned with the light fixtures — she wanted to save money on the lights and have them look uniform as well.

“The lights we had looked junky and unorganized,” she says.

She brought her idea for lighting upgrades to Paul Verona of Arrow Electric Company, who had worked on LR Management properties before. Verona guided Etterbeek through an energy audit on her French Quarter Apartments property, suggesting an upgrade from fluorescent lights to more energy-efficient LED bulbs. He explained to Etterbeek that the LED lights cost less and are safer compared to the fluorescent lights, which use more energy and have mercury in them.

“I always say to my customers, ‘Why don’t you get a quote? Nobody’s going to charge you for a quote,’” Verona says.

Etterbeek decided to go with Verona’s suggestions, and financed her lighting upgrades through Michigan Saves’ Multifamily Energy Financing program.

Promoting Michigan Saves to clients like Etterbeek is something Verona does regularly.

“There’s no downside to work like this,” Verona says. “I like happy customers, and I know I’m going to have them when it comes to energy efficiency.”

Since Etterbeek had managed the French Quarter Apartments property for years and knew the expenses inside and out, she could easily track the savings from the new lights. The money Etterbeek saves every month is more than her financing payments — meaning the work is already paying for itself.

“I’m helping my owners understand that I’m going to make them more money,” Etterbeek says. “Financing through Michigan Saves was a beautiful way of doing the work without affecting the bottom line of the project.”

The energy-efficient lightbulbs in the common areas offered other benefits, too. Those shabby-looking lights that once bothered Etterbeek are no longer a problem at the apartment complex.

“Long-lasting, low-maintenance lightbulbs are ideal, but you also want something aesthetically pleasing,” Etterbeek says. “These upgrades give me the best of both worlds, plus monthly savings.”

Plus, the tenants see the work and know they’re being taken care of.

“They see things being done around the apartment complex and know we’re working to make their home a better place to live,” Etterbeek said. “They like to see that we’re improving the property.”