Tips for Preparing Your Job Site for LED Upgrades

Tips for Preparing Your Job Site for LED Upgrades

This lobby in Cleveland, Ohio is about to receive complete LED upgrades from RealLighting.  While all you may see is a bunch of light bulbs that can be switched out, a lot more consideration goes into preparing your site for an LED upgrade.  

  1. What are your priorities?  As RealLighting has helped hundreds of multi-family, commercial buildings, retail shopping centers, restaurants, and more with LED retrofitting options, we are aware of the many reasons an LED project is initiated.  So consider yours:
    1. Are you taking advantage of rebates from local electric companies?  If so, Energy Star/DLC products are your top priority.
    2. Are you looking to improve light output/brightness in your spaces?  If so, limits of Energy Star products (and their higher costs) may be secondary - you're looking for products with more options in wattage and color temperature.
    3. Are you most concerned about electric bills?  If so, you can take advantage of any lower wattage LED bulb that suits the needs of your fixture and light output requirements.
  2. Will LED bulbs fit into your existing fixtures?  Many people don't realize that LED bulbs are generally larger than their incandescent or fluorescent equivalents.  Therefore without proper measurement of your existing bulb and the fixture, you may find yourself with a whole lot of bulbs to return!  Read up about properly measuring your bulb to make sure you're starting your LED retrofit project with the correct product.
  3. Do you need LED bulbs or LED integrated fixtures?  Deciding if LED bulbs or LED integrated fixtures are best for your project depends on its on priorities:
    1. LED integrated fixtures are more expensive than bulbs.  How budget sensitive are you?
    2. Will you be able to get the directional light and footcandles you're expecting from a corn cob?
    3. How difficult is your fixture location to access?  Easy-to-access fixtures can be better suited for LED bulbs.
    4. Do you have a concern about expensive LED light bulbs being stolen?  If so, LED integrated fixtures are for you!
    5. Do you have enough staff and processes in place or your engineering team to replace light bulbs?  Although your typical LED bulb can last over 50,000 hours, there are considerations which shorten the lifetime of bulbs.  You may want to go integrated.
  4. Who is doing the work? The fastest way to maximize your ROI is having internal resources complete the retrofits.  Standard medium base, candelabra base, etc. bulbs generally are a 1:1 exchange where you unscrew the old bulb and screw in the new.  However, with fluorescent, metal halide, HPS, PL bulbs, etc. that run off a ballast, you need to know if the LED bulb being used is ballast compatible or requires ballast by-pass.  If your maintenance team doesn't have the skills to bypass a ballast for an LED direct wire, you need to incorporate the expense of a trained electrician to complete your retrofit.
  5. How will you segment the retrofit?  Depending on the spaces receiving a retrofit, you'll want to make sure single areas are completed at one time.  Combinations of LED and incandescent/fluorescent bulbs in the same area can be difficult on the eyes of your guests and even cause migraines.  This is especially true when you're increasing color temperature.  Be aware of the time needed for each space and allocate resources accordingly.

The most important consideration in preparing your space for an LED upgrade is your electric contract.  If you have less than two years left in your existing contract, RealLighting can help you lock in electric rates at your current energy usage, therefore securing lower rates than if you upgrade to LED first and then negotiate rates.  For more information on Energy Audits available from RealLighting, please contact us today.

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