Establishing Guidelines when Considering A Commercial Office Building Lighting Retrofit
August 4, 2020
Light emitting diode (LED) fixtures are a great way to cut energy costs while increasing visibility, safety and environmental awareness. However, any decision to retrofit commercial office building lighting should not be made on a whim. Below, the experts with Action Services Group help explain what you need to think about before committing to a full LED retrofit.
Office Building Lighting Considerations
LED lights for office buildings are one of the biggest retrofit trends for businesses across the US. If you are considering retrofitting your office building lighting, the below steps can help ensure you get exactly what you want from the effort.
Establish Your LED Lighting Guidelines
Before you start buying new office building lighting, you need to figure out what your personal guidelines are going to be. To do so, start by asking yourself a series of questions.
First, you need to address your budget. What can you afford? Understanding what your funding ceiling is can help to eliminate options that exceed your budget immediately. While some may think of this as a “limiting factor”, it essentially helps home in on the options that best fit your budget without wasting time on ones that are too expensive.
If it comes right down to not preforming an LED retrofit due to budgeting issues, you might want to consider LaaS. What’s LaaS? Lighting-as-a-Service is a way to manage your facilities lighting. Instead of a substantial upfront cost for lighting, Lighting-as-a-service allows you to pay a monthly OpEx payment that covers your: installation, repairs, monitoring, and ongoing service.
Second, you should consider what your goals are. Are you simply looking to install more energy efficient light fixtures to help cut utility expenses? Are you looking to retrofit the exterior lighting to improve safety, security, or to deter theft? What are the primary goals you want to accomplish with a retrofit?
Third, you need to consider building and energy codes. Are you currently meeting with these regulations? Or are you trying to bring your outdated fixtures up to modern standards? This may affect how much of a retrofit is truly needed, as well as if your maintenance personnel will need some additional training on how to care for your new office building lighting.
Finally, you need to consider whether certain areas are of a higher priority. Based on a review of your budget, you may decide that a full retrofit is not financially possible at this time. However, if you were cited for a building or energy code violation, you may still need to make some updates. Perhaps your parking lot lighting needs immediate attention; maybe your warehouse lighting is creating a dangerous work environment while your office lighting is suitable and can be addressed later.
While the above list is a great place to start when evaluating an LED retrofit for your office building, once these basic questions are asked, you will need to dig deeper into the process. In our eBook, A Critical Guide to Setting Criteria Goals for your LED Project, we look at:
- How to evaluate the three critical end goals for any LED Project
- Assess your energy savings – examples included
- Reports from energy.gov
- Evaluate your lighting performance – examples included
- Often overlooked lighting performance factors
- How to evaluate your maintenance savings – examples included
- Maintenance considerations you can’t forget
- Review of successful LED retrofits
Identify High-Burn Areas
Office buildings have different types of lighting. High-burn areas are those that are not turned on (or off) for hours at a time. These often include areas like parking garages and lots, stairwells, basements and warehouses. Often, these areas are also where safety is a big concern. (LED lighting in commercial office buildings not only decrease energy consumption, they are also known to increase visibility and safety!)
After you identify these high-burn areas, work backwards to identify those spaces that are more occupied. For example, lobbies and cubicle work spaces are often the most populated locations during working hours.
If your budget constrains your retrofit, these high-burn areas may be a priority as safety is essential to employees and materials alike.
If you have identified your parking lot or garage as a potential area for LED retrofit, calculating your financial benefits is going to be key to getting c-suite buy in. In our article: The Financial Benefits of Converting Parking Lot Lighting to LED, we supply several examples of LED parking lot retrofit savings, a how to guide for estimating your savings, as well as Free Downloadable Financial Analysis Tools.
Closely Consider Hard-to-Maintain Lighting
Certain types of lighting are much harder to maintain. Not only do they require special equipment, but they burn out faster or are much more sensitive to shock and vibrations. To compound this, some fixtures hang above work spaces, which may make changing them even harder. If your maintenance personnel work the same hours your employees do, this means workers must stop what they are doing to allow for lamps to be changed.
Not only can burnt our lamps impact safety, they also slow productivity. Because of this, you may want to consider areas where the lighting in hard-to-maintain. LED lighting is known for its extremely long lifespan and high resistance to shock and vibrations. Retrofitting hard-to-maintain areas help reduce impacts to productivity, increase safety, and minimize maintenance costs and efforts in the long run.
One of the main considerations when retrofitting to LED is the extended lifespan of the LED vs other lamps. But it is not enough to just say LEDs last longer, you need to know why and how to calculate their extended lifespan. In Understanding LED Lifespan, you will get a better understanding of this concept and what it will mean for your lighting.
Think About Lighting Controls
Whether you are considering a full retrofit or want to increase your LED efficiency even more, lighting control systems can be a great investment.
Lighting control systems can be as complex or as simple as you want. For example, simply motion sensors can automate bathroom lighting. When motion is detected, the bathroom lights turn on; however, when motion is not detected over a specific span of time, lights automatically turn off. This can save you money by powering down lights that are not in occupied spaces. However, more complex systems, like daylight detection, can adjust LED lights for office buildings to supplement ambient light, reducing energy consumption during the day.
Working with professional lighting experts, like those here at Action Services Group, can ensure you maximize the benefits of an LED lighting retrofit within your office space without exceeding your budget. Identifying which controls are of interest to you can help an expert suggest the right options for you.
Having a basic understanding of lighting control systems will allow you to decide early on if this is something you need to include in your LED retrofit. For a great place to start the learning process, we have a completed Introduction to Lighting Control Systems Series.
Benefits of an Office Building Lighting Retrofit
There are plenty of benefits when it comes to an LED lighting retrofit. Some of the biggest, however, are:
- Reduced Overall Utility Costs: LED lighting uses less energy than all other types of light fixtures. However, this is not the only reason your energy bills will be reduced. Incandescent, high intensity discharge (HID) and halogen type lamps produce a lot of heat. During the warmer months, this means that your HVAC will have to work even harder to keep your office spaces in a workable condition. Switching to LED lighting means this excess and additional heat is no longer an issue.
- Reduced Maintenance Requirements: Lighting is not the only thing maintenance personnel have to attend to. Because of the durability and long lifespan of LED lighting in commercial office buildings, maintenance personnel can focus their efforts elsewhere. (It also means having to purchase replacement lamps less frequently as well!)
- Increased Safety: Slips, trips and falls make up the majority of all workplace injuries and fatalities. Having the right lighting can help to minimize these types of incidents. LED lighting offers the best type of illumination modern technology can buy; from neutral lighting to specific color requirements, LED lighting can be appropriately matched to the environment and needs of the occupants.
- Environmental Selling Point: Being environmentally conscious is a huge selling point in today’s world. For those who lease office spaces to businesses, installing new LED fixtures can help net a new client who focuses on sustainability.
For those real estate organizations looking to retrofit to LED, a great starting point would be our eBook: Guide to LED Conversion for Real Estate Organizations.
Retrofit Your Office Building Lighting with Action Services Group
After carefully considering your guidelines, high-burn areas, hard-to-maintain spaces, and lighting controls – you may feel that LED lighting would be a great option for your business. If you are interested in learning more about LED lights for your office building, contact Action Services Group today, by calling 800-223-0982 or email firstname.lastname@example.org!