Lighting & Electrical
LED Retrofits, Part II: Planning and Implementing a Retrofit Project
Posted by CLS Admin on August 25, 2016
In our last blog on LEDs (light emitting diodes), we heralded LEDs as today’s standard for lighting efficiency, and we identified the benefits of lighting retrofit projects for a variety of retail and commercial buildings. These benefits include:
- Energy savings
- Maintenance cost savings
- Improved aesthetics
- Better security and employee safety
- Environmental sensitivity
- Tenant satisfaction, health and efficiency
We hope you agree that the benefits are significant, and could do your facilities a world of good. If you’re interested in taking the next step, we’d like to offer strategies for planning a lighting retrofit process, and then implementing it. Our recommendations are general in nature and intended to provide strategic guidance. Each lighting retrofit project is unique, with its own challenges, so each one requires a unique plan.
Let’s Get Started
As a first step, you should identify all facilities in your real estate portfolio where lighting retrofit projects are the most needed. To do this, we recommend a commercial lighting audit – a comprehensive survey of all your facility lighting, interior and exterior.
What’s the value in that? An audit conducted by a qualified and experienced facility management firm will provide you and your team with critical information about energy consumption for all of your current lighting. You can then use that information to compare current consumption against the energy consumption of proposed upgrades. This is also a very good way to develop an “asset list” of the different types and quantities of lighting fixtures throughout your given facilities, in order to qualify the true value of a prospective lighting retrofit.
A commercial lighting audit evaluates true energy and maintenance savings. Using audit data, facility management professionals like ours at CLS Facility Services can identify key usage and cost variables—for example, which utility rebates offer the greatest savings, and which utility rates are highest in certain geographical areas of the country. Note that 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 really add up.
Commercial lighting audits provide so much more than just accurate quotes. Yes, by surveying and analyzing your lighting inventory in detail, you’ll arrive at an accurate quote for the retrofit project. But you’ll also net a detailed analysis of your entire lighting portfolio, including energy consumption, potential cost savings, and sustainable/green opportunities.
Partial Versus Complete Retrofits: Which is Best?
A lighting audit will provide the data you and your facility management partner need to help you decide which facilities need complete retrofits – and in just about every case, we recommend complete retrofits over partial retrofits. We’ve seen it before: Many companies move forward with interior retrofits, then implement exterior retrofits at a later date. 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.
During the past six years alone, CLS has performed more than 6,000 lighting audits. The results of these have allowed our clients to determine prospective estimated energy savings available at each location, the potential maintenance savings, and the potential rebate(s) available.
When moving forward with a commercial lighting retrofit, 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)
Check warranties—then leverage them where and when you can to maximize cost savings of your lighting retrofit project. Lamp, ballast, and fixture warranties can last anywhere from three to 10 years, and so many of today’s lamps and ballasts come with great warranties. Often, companies implement a lighting retrofit project, then replace lamps at their own cost while they are still under warranty. When CLS runs a turnkey lighting retrofit project, we ensure that warranty information is documented for each individual project, so that warranties are maximized.
We hope you are finding this series on LEDs and LED retrofits strategies helpful. If you are looking for a Lighting and Electrical management company for 2017, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.