LEDs are all the rage now. LED vendors are beginning to advertise to a wide audience; they are being accepted. There have been great advances in LED lighting technology in recent years. Illumination no longer varies. LEDs can be dimmed or adjusted in other ways. LEDs can be made to resemble the fluorescents they replace and fit into their ballasts with little additional effort, yet reduce electrical wattage significantly.
While LED bulbs are highly energy efficient with a payback often of three years or less, it is important to plan out any LED replacement project to get the best financial and the best operational benefits. Here are some items to consider for the all-important planning.
Do an illumination survey. Before you replace your lights, take this opportunity to determine where changes in lighting are necessary. Are there areas that are relatively dark in comparison to the need? Are there areas overlit? Have an illumination survey performed to determine lighting levels. And don’t forget exterior space, too. Before you replace lights, determine where additional or different ballasts and lamps may be necessary for proper illumination and where you can remove some fixtures or have fewer lamps in a fixture.
When and where to install LEDs. You might think with such great energy cost savings and incentive programs in some states it is best to just replace every existing bulb with LEDs. But that could be expensive upfront as hundreds of LEDs may have a high capital cost. Therefore, you may need to prioritize your replacement program. If you cannot replace all of your lighting at once, then replace, as a first priority, your least efficient types of lighting and/or the lights used for the most hours.
Save even more with lighting controls. Even LEDs use electricity needlessly if they are left on for extended periods with nobody around. Therefore, consider lighting controls, such as occupancy sensors and daylighting, sensors that dim artificial light as sunlight enters a room. Some areas require controls to be updated when a lighting upgrade is implemented. LEDs can be installed that are compatible with these control types. Consider how different areas of your building are used. In offices, occupancy sensors ensure that lights are not left on all night when nobody is around. In storage and utility rooms and warehouses that often go many hours, if not days, without activity, sensors can save, too. Which places in your facility get significant sunlight (sky lights or south-facing windows)?
Light locations. Do you currently have lights in inconvenient places that take a huge effort to replace? If so, prioritize LED bulbs in these locations to save you labor, storage space, and equipment rental expenses. I had a client that rents a cherry picker once every third year to replace burned out bulbs from a very high ceiling. As luck would have it, the day after the job was done one time, a light went out! With LEDs generally lasting over 40,000 hours, the frequency and cost of replacing lights in an inconvenient spot will drop markedly. Remember that fewer light replacements gives your maintenance crews the time to perform other needed tasks. And fewer trips by your personnel up the cherry picker or ladders means lower risk of an accident for you.
Marc Karell is owner of Climate Change & Environmental Services. CCES has the experts to perform an evaluation of your lighting needs – to perform an illumination study and assess the right priorities for a lighting upgrade to give you the maximum financial benefits. We can manage and implement a complete turnkey lighting upgrade for you, including measurement and verification. Besides our technical expertise, we can also help you apply for and get applicable government and utility incentives for an upgrade. Contact us at 914-584-6720 or at karell@CCESworld.com.