10 Tips for Energy Efficient Lighting Upgrades

Upgrading your lighting is great investment that pays dividends for many years but may not produce the results you want if not done correctly. Below are some tips on how to upgrade your lighting and insure you get the results you desire.

  1. Making energy cost reduction your primary goal.  You should consider the quality of the light and its potential impact on safety or productivity. Retail operations should take into account how lighting illuminates products. Hospitals, schools, laboratories, and other facilities, have specific lighting concerns that should be addressed.
  2. Keep your staff in mind.  How will your maintenance people handle replacement? Also, how will the light quality and color affect your accounting staff, students, patients, and customers?
  3. Lighting upgrades should have multiple objectives. Every part of your operation will have its own needs when it comes to lighting. For example, one department may want to minimize first costs, while another may be concerned about utility costs and maintenance.
  4. There is no substitute for expertise. Include a reputable contractor into the process early as this can help you make better decisions about appropriate products.
  5. Establish a base line. Having good data about your current lighting system, as well as reliable estimates about potential savings and performance improvements, is vital to making good investment decisions. A reliable contractor can perform a lighting audit measuring the financial worth of a retrofit.
  6. Consider changes and new requirements. Don’t assume your present lighting system is adequate, changes in your business may require changes in the system. A valuable resource for recommendations regarding lighting in different facilities is the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America.
  7. Don’t assume you have it right – test. Test existing and potential light sources with light meters, watt meters, and photocells. If you assume that a lighting design will provide the results and energy savings, you may be disappointed.
  8. Get good information from your contractor. You should get a plan from the contractor that outlines the process from start to finish. This will help reduce the potential for miscommunication.
  9. Ask about warranties. Make sure the product warranties cover material, design, and installation. In the case of a product failure, the warranty should cover all of the costs associated with replacing it.
  10. Use realistic savings assumptions. Every proposal is based on assumptions when estimating potential savings. Make sure the assumptions are realistic; don’t overstate potential electrical rate increases or hours of operation to improve the payback analysis. Being conservative, versus aggressive, when it comes to savings helps avoid disappointment later.

Planning for any energy efficiency upgrade or light retrofit is important. Lighting accounts for a substantial portion of the energy use in commercial and industrial facilities and a payback analysis is important in deciding to make an upgrade.


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