Article
About 28% of a building's electrical energy bill is literally consumed 
in lighting the premises. That's pretty consistent across both 
industrial and commercial buildings. Obviously, if you can lower that 
expense significantly, the impact on your overall operating budget 
reduces.<br><br>I know what you're thinking.<br><br><i>"He's going to start talking about LED lighting upgrades, isn't he?"</i>

3 Benefits to Upgrading with a Lighting Retrofit

Steve Maurer, IME
About 28% of a building's electrical energy bill is literally consumed in lighting the premises. That's pretty consistent across both industrial and commercial buildings. Obviously, if you can lower that expense significantly, the impact on your overall operating budget reduces.

I know what you're thinking.

"He's going to start talking about LED lighting upgrades, isn't he?"

Yes. Yes, he is.

I mean, I am going to talk about LEDs. But not just because at its most basic and fundamental level, LED lighting can save up to 50% over other types of lighting solutions.

Although that's a good point. May have to use that some time.

Or maybe … here.

Better lighting control (and energy savings)
Lately I've been doing a lot of LED retrofits and upgrades. Some of the upgrades aren't directly related to LED lighting. For example, I recently upgraded several light switches to motion sensor/push switch units.

In occupancy mode, the lights turn on when someone enters the space, tripping the sensor. The lights turn off at a predetermined time of inactivity, settable from one to 30 minutes.

(Hmm. In retrospect, I suppose I could have set it for a little longer in the men's rooms. Nah … 10 minutes is long enough. They can always stick their hands out from the top of the stalls and wave at the switch. Heh, heh.)

While the switches I installed work with both LED and fluorescent fixtures, you can get even more granular with energy control when using dimmable LED luminaires.

Lighting maintenance savings
This is a topic near and dear to my heart.

When your offices are lit up with fluorescent ceiling troffers, lamp replacement is an ongoing process. You swing down the lens and replace the bulbs.

A fairly simple process, right?

But that means there are open spaces around the lens. And where there are open spaces … there are bugs.

I hate bugs.

LEDs – Better lighting all the way round
In my opinion, LEDs provide better lighting, any way you look at it. With the current innovative technologies, individuals can adjust their own lighting to their personal preference, even in an office setting.

That can lead to better productivity because the worker has control over their environment, light-wise, anyway.

It seems to me that LEDs provide a cleaner and more even light, very conducive to productivity in various task lighting scenarios. I've also seen fewer shadows, perhaps because of the photometric properties.

Oh, here's something else.

The LED lamps in my house are dimmable and can be adjusted for color temperature, all via an app on my smartphone or device.

When I shut off the office lights (by talking to them, LOL), they dim gracefully to dark. My poor old eyes have time to adjust more quickly to the loss of light.

And my toes thank me for that.

So what can I say. Upgrading or retrofitting your lighting has several benefits:

  • Better lighting control (and energy savings)
  • Reduced maintenance costs and work order activity
  • Cleaner lighting, no matter how you look at it.

Those are just a few of them. There are a lot more.

Now might be the time to determine if a lighting retrofit is in your best interests.
On more occasions than I'd like to remember, I've been bombarded by their little dead bodies when changing bulbs or cleaning fixtures.

Upgrading to a sealed, drop-in LED luminaire eliminates that problem. No cracks … problem solved.
No bug bodies cascading down on you from above.

Plus … the light looks almost like a skylight, a very nice touch.

Now, I don't know if there's any scientific evidence for this. But I've noticed fewer bugs and spiders and gnats surrounding my porch lights after installing LED lamps.

Maybe there's no science. Maybe there is.

But in either case, I like it.

For example, there are switches and sensors designed to blend both ambient natural light and artificial lighting to just the right energy savings mix. Motorized window shades can be integrated into the system to either keep out heat from the sun or allow it to enter, saving even more money with heating- and cooling-related costs.

Very cool. Or warm, I guess, depending on the time of year.

Anyway …

I just thought of something. Did you know that many utility companies have LED retrofit programs that will pay for part of the upgrade?

There are other benefits as well.
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