In our previous blog post on commercial lighting retrofits, we identified benefits of lighting retrofit projects for a variety of retail and commercial buildings. Just to recap, these benefits include:

  • Energy savings
  • Maintenance cost savings
  • Improved aesthetics
  • Better security and employee safety
  • Environmental sensitivity / ability to help your organization improve its sustainability
  • Tenant satisfaction, including potentially improved health and efficiency

In this post, we’d like to offer some strategies for planning a lighting retrofit process, and then implementing it successfully. Note that these recommendations are general and intended to provide strategic guidance. Each lighting retrofit project is unique, with its own specific challenges, so each one requires its own unique plan.

Step #1:
Identify those facilities in your real estate portfolio where lighting retrofit projects are the most needed. To help you accomplish this, we recommend a commercial lighting audit – a comprehensive survey of all facility lighting, interior and exterior. By surveying your lighting inventory in detail – and we mean thoroughly (more on that soon) – you’ll not only arrive at an accurate quote for the retrofit project, but you’ll net an instructive analysis of your entire lighting portfolio.

What’s the value in that? Well, an analysis conducted by a qualified and experienced facility management firm will provide you and your team with vital information about energy consumption for all current lighting. You can then use that information and data to compare current consumption against the energy consumption of proposed upgrades.

A lighting analysis evaluates true energy and maintenance savings; using analysis data, facility management professionals like ours at CLS Facility Services can identify key usage and cost variables – for example, which manufacturer rebates offer the greatest savings, and which utility rates are highest in certain areas.

As part of a commercial lighting audit, you should analyze all of your facilities’ lighting – interior, exterior, elevators – even exit signs. When it comes to lighting and the energy that lighting consumes, the little things add up.

Also, a lighting analysis will provide enough data to help you decide which facilities need complete retrofits – and in just about every case, we recommend these over partial retrofits. We’ve seen it before: Many companies move forward with interior retrofits, then implement exterior retrofits at a later date. To us, that doesn’t make sense. At CLS, we believe it’s better to retrofit an entire building or facility – inside and out – for fewer locations than perform only interior or exterior retrofits at more locations.

With a commercial lighting audit, companies aren’t just paying for a quote – they’re paying for a full analysis of their lighting needs, including a detailed analysis of energy consumption, potential cost savings, and sustainable/green opportunities.

During the past five years alone, CLS has performed more than 6,000 lighting analyses. The results of these detailed analyses have allowed our clients determine prospective estimated energy savings available at each location, the potential maintenance savings, and the potential rebate(s) available.

Step #2:

When moving forward with a commercial lighting audit, make sure all the bases are covered. This means:

  • Ensuring that recycling costs are included when removing old fixtures, lamps, and ballasts.
  • Ensuring that lift costs are included.
  • Ensuring that you’re leveraging all available rebates.
  • Ensuring that you’re accounting for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tax deductions (note: these are not accounted for in a typical lighting analysis.

Step #3:

Check warranties, and leverage them where and when you can. Upon completion of a lighting retrofit project, make sure that you’re taking advantages of the great warranties that come with so many of today’s lamps and ballasts. Often, companies implement a great lighting retrofit project, then replace lamps at their own cost while they are still under warranty. Note that lamp, ballast, and fixture warranties can last anywhere from three to 10 years.

For more support on your next commercial lighting update, download our free eBook. Get exclusive insight into exterior lighting retrofits, interior lighting retrofits, and on maximizing your return on investment with better control on energy usage and costs.

We hope you found these lighting audit tips and strategies helpful. If you are looking for a lighting and electrical management company for 2016, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.