In recent years, energy-efficient T-8 lighting technologies were prominently used for lighting retrofit projects inside and outside commercial buildings and facilities. Over relatively short periods of time, the energy savings from these T-8 lamps paid for themselves, and that, in turn, helped companies recoup retrofit project costs in relatively short order.

At CLS Facility Services, we have strongly promoted T-8 usage to our clients. Yet just in the last three years alone, lighting technology has evolved exponentially, far surpassing T-8 technology. Specifically, the development of LED technologies have proven to foster even greater energy efficiency, while also reducing maintenance costs due to their longer lifespan.  Furthermore, LED technologies have come down in price, accelerating payback expectancies and helping to make retrofit projects more cost efficient altogether.

Today’s lighting products last anywhere from three to 10 years longer than their T-8 predecessors, while return on investment (ROI) ranges from one to three years. [In fact, some lighting elements within a facility, such as elevators and exit signs, actually realize the greatest ROI from today’s technologies, given that they are illuminated 24/7/365. We’ll expand on that notion in our next blog.]

If you implemented a T-8 retrofit project in the past for one or more of your commercial facilities, then you probably appreciate the cost savings and tangential benefits of a retrofit project. Now, we at CLS believe it’s time to seriously consider retrofitting T-8s and other lighting technologies in your facilities. Doing so will help you realize even greater savings, and a wealth of other valuable benefits.

Benefits of Lighting Retrofits

In the past, lighting retrofit projects offered a primary benefit of up-front cost savings in the form of manufacturer rebates. These rebates alone would often drive the decision to implement a rebate. Now, many of those rebates are no longer available, so rebates shouldn’t solely justify a corporate retrofit decision.

Thankfully, they don’t need to. At CLS, we believe that the greatest benefits of retrofits far outweigh the one-time costs savings of a rebate. These include:

  • Energy savings: With advancements in technologies, today’s lighting retrofits can create energy savings ranging anywhere from 40% to 90%, depending upon the type of project.
  • Maintenance cost savings: T-8, LED, Induction, and other modern technologies are fostering significant maintenance savings due to the extended life or “burn hours” of the new lighting.  Many LED technologies exhibit a rated life ranging from 50,000-100,000 hours, more than three times the life of the old T-12 and HID technologies of the past.
  • Improved aesthetics: Today’s latest-generation lighting technology delivers a better color rendering mix, better uniformity and spread of light, and better lumen maintenance (i.e., light levels will hold at higher levels for longer periods of time).
  • Better security and employee safety when areas, both interior and exterior, are optimally lit with better lighting technology.
  • Environmental sensitivity: Unlike Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, and T-12 lighting, modern LED lighting technologies eliminate mercury from facilities, creating a safer environment and “go green” image for businesses.
  • Tenant satisfaction, health and efficiency: Some building owners and managers have implemented lighting retrofits in order to capitalize on rebates. Others have implemented them for energy savings, security and other reasons. Yet we at CLS help clients implement lighting retrofits every day, and one of the greatest benefits we see is tenants’ reaction once it’s completed. We’ve literally had tenants thank us personally on site for implementing the retrofit – they tell us their building looks so much better both inside and out, and it’s just a more pleasant and safe environment in which to work. Tenants want to be in spaces that are well-lit, pleasant and healthy. Studies now underway are attempting to measure potential correlations between lighting and physical and emotional well-being. We believe those correlations are real, and will show up in the data to underscore the significant benefit of lighting retrofits on employee health and productivity.

In our next post, we’ll outline strategies and basic steps necessary to plan and implement lighting retrofits. Until then, if you are looking for a lighting and electrical management company for 2015 or 2016, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.