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Industry Spotlight: Lighting Solutions for Healthcare Facilities

By applying energy efficiency upgrades throughout their facilities, business and organizations can slash their top operational costs. These upgrades can vary from LED lighting and lighting controls to water heating equipment and refrigeration motors and HVAC equipment. Certain organizations, such as healthcare facilities, can uniquely benefit from energy-efficiency upgrades, not only from a profits perspective, but also from a patient and visitor comfort perspective, and being recognized as eco-friendly.

Healthcare buildings rely on high-performance lighting and other equipment to operate resulting massive energy consumption. Based on data from the Department of Energy (DOE), on average, hospitals use 2.5x the amount of energy as other commercial buildings—lighting consuming nearly 40 percent of annual energy usage. Because these facilities operate 24/7, their energy bill reflects their excessive energy consumption. Healthcare organizations spend over $6.5 billion on energy every year, and that amount only continues to grow with an increasing demand to meet patients’ needs.

Money lost as a result of large utility costs is often made up from budget cuts to other areas, which could mean cuts to quality of life, cuts to safety, or even cuts to staffing. Organizations can avoid such cuts through the implementation of energy efficient upgrades. In addition to dollar savings, energy efficiency improves the appearance of the space, occupant safety, patient comfort, and is good for the environment.

Some of energy efficiency’s biggest benefits to healthcare facilities:

Cost Savings and Increased Profitability

Improvements to energy efficiency can reduce the cost of energy by as much as 75%. Although the initial investment is larger, LEDs can also reduce maintenance costs, as bulbs can last up to 25 years (a lifespan twice that of CFLs). Fusing the cost savings of lower energy bills and reduced maintenance, coupled with improved patient satisfaction and improved sales, simple efficiency improvements like upgrading to LEDs have the potential to dramatically magnify a facility’s bottom line.

The potential for savings can vary, but most facilities can see significant gains through energy efficiency with minimal investment. Some examples include:

Geiseinger Health System

Based in Danville, PA, retrofitted 24,000 light fixtures and installed occupancy sensors across their facilities—accounting for 50% in energy savings. The company also received $156,000 in incentives from a local utility. The project yielded energy savings of $460,000 annually, paying for itself in less than four years. Read more.

Gundersen Health Systems

Based out of La Crosse, Wisconsin hired Energy Performance Lighting to replace their outdated lighting. Regarding the interior, we installed LED tubes and lamps, and replaced high-pressure sodium (HPS) exterior pole fixtures with new LED fixtures. The project yielded energy savings of $105,185 annually and reduced greenhouse gas emissions over 2 million lbs. per year. Read more.

Creates a Welcoming Environment

Waiting rooms outfitted with old, gloomy light fixtures feel uninviting and grim to potential patients. LEDs can enhance and brighten the space, making it feel more welcoming, and relieve feelings of anxiousness for patients and visitors. With the ability to customize their correlated color temperature (CCT) and brightness, LED lights provide healthcare organizations with the ability to control illumination, not only in the waiting room, or a patient’s room, but throughout the entire building, delivering the desired appearance without sacrificing the quality of care.

Gratifying Patient Experiences

Combining LED fixtures with an intelligent building system—such as an IoT-enabled infrastructure—can further improve energy-related savings through integrated recognition and operation of all building systems. Moreover, the “smart” building systems allow for customized patient preferences for room lighting and temperature, hallway noise management, and indoor navigation for visitors. In patients experiencing a loss of control as a result of a debilitating disease or illness, these technologic amenities can return feelings of composure.

Enhanced Comfort

As lighting technologies evolve, so does our understanding of how light affects us. Research shows lighting has a significant impact on the well-being of staff, patients, and even visitors. Bright light is shown to reduce drowsiness, cause us to feel energetic and lively, and promote feelings of happiness. Insufficient or dull lighting is associated with eyestrain—which can cause headaches and lead to accidents—is associated with higher levels of stress and fatigue, can trigger seizures, and even lead to a mild form of depression, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD). Through the application of optimal lighting, healthcare facilities can alleviate these ailments, which will improve the well-being of patients, staff, and visitors.

Improved Operational Processes

Circling back to IoT, hospitals can improve operational productivity through the implementation of intelligent building technologies. Healthcare organizations can employ real time location systems (RTLS) to monitor the location of care-related equipment to prevent essential equipment from stockpiling, and reduce the amount of time needed to locate necessary hardware during immediate care situations. Even hospital staff, from doctors, to nurses, to patients and security can be tracked to quicken response times.

Radiant Exteriors

By upgrading exterior lights to LEDs, hospitals and healthcare facilities can shine as brightly on the outside as on the inside. In an industry where time is of the essence, proper exterior illumination can help guide emergency vehicles and patients to the proper entrance. Replacing inadequate parking lot and parking structure lighting with LEDs can make parking areas brighter and safer for facility staff, patients, and visitors alike.

In Conclusion

There are many more ways in which energy-efficient and smart building technologies can help healthcare facilities achieve their overall goals of patient care, cost reduction, and more sustainable operation. Using these technologies, the general standard of care can be improved and a health facility transformed from a cost center into a self-catering instrument.

The first step in implementing energy efficient upgrades in your facility is to complete an assessment. Energy Performance Lighting performs investment-grade lighting evaluations for hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living and other health care facilities. To see how your lighting compares, give our certified lighting efficiency professionals a call at (608) 661-5555 or schedule an assessment online and a representative will reach out within one business day to learn more about your facility needs and discuss potenital options.

5 Reasons To Update Your Facility's Lighting

Updated lighting systems have many benefits for the building owner, the building users, and the electric utility. The main benefits include: reduced electricity demand, energy savings, and lower operating costs. However, there are also less quantifiable benefits, such as: improved lighting quality, productivity boosts, and a lower carbon footprint, which may be even more important.

Five Reasons to Update Your Company's Lighting:

Energy Savings

The most obvious and immediate benefit to retrofitting an outdated lighting system is to reduce lighting costs and related expenses. By upgrading lighting components to more efficient and advanced technologies, LED lighting retrofits can cut down on energy consumption, and lower energy bills, while maintaining light levels and quality. Upgraded lighting tech can also offer employees greater control over the lighting of their workspace, which may provide additional energy savings, and increase employee satisfaction.

Lighting Quality

Lighting retrofits can improve lighting quality by targeting areas with pre-existing problems and using specific design considerations to overcome common lighting issues. Using newer technologies can potentially add increased reliability to your lighting system, causing fewer short-term lighting-quality issues. In addition to added reliability, newer tech often provides better lighting characteristics, such as greater light output, improved color, reduced flicker, less glare, etc.

Reduced Maintenance and Labor

Most energy-efficient lighting retrofits also curtail maintenance costs. Improvements in lighting technology has led to the increased lifetimes of lighting components, which result in fewer failures, and lengthens the time between required maintenance. Moreover, lighting retrofit programs typically involve significant equipment replacements—often, many lighting systems are being replaced after 10 years or more of neglect—and offer an opportunity to begin new maintenance procedures which can also help to reduce maintenance costs in the long term, while providing a sense of renewal in the building’s appearance, and sense of brightness.

Cleaner Air

A considerable amount of electricity is produced in generation plants via the combustion process, adding literal tons of pollutants to the atmosphere, which contribute to global warming, acid rain, and other environmental problems. By consuming less electricity, facilities can help reduce the demand and harmful emissions, such as CO2 and SO2, associated with “off-site” power generation.

Improved Productivity

Modern day workers spend more time on the job than their predecessors; if they’re not working productively, they aren’t benefiting their employer. It can be difficult to document and assign a monetary value to the relationship between an energy-efficient lighting system and worker productivity; however, there is little doubt that workers would be more productive if the glare was removed from computer screens, the electric light provided better color rending, or if flicker were eliminated.

Significance of Lighting Retrofits

Investing in a lighting retrofit system makes good economic sense for any commercial building, as an increasing number of businesses are under constant pressure to increase productivity and reduce costs. By replacing aged lighting components with advanced energy-efficient components, a building’s lighting energy costs can be reduced by as much as 60%, while maintaining, or even enhancing the quality of the visual environment.

In fact, according to the Electric Power Research Institute’s Lighting Retrofit Manual, “most lighting retrofits pay for themselves through energy savings in less than seven years; in some cases, simple payback can occur in under three years.”

Lighting represents approximately 30-35% of electricity consumption in the commercial sector, but highly-efficient lighting retrofits can cost-effectively save anywhere from 30-60% of this energy. When worker productivity and occupant satisfaction are factored into the economic analysis, lighting improvements have shown to produce immediate benefits.

When a Lighting Upgrade Makes Sense

Upgrading the lighting system for your building makes sense any time lighting energy can be saved cost-effectively. One (or more) of the following conditions typically results in LED lighting retrofits:

Excessive Illuminance

A majority of spaces in the building are overlit. Buildings that are over—or under—lit are consistent candidates for LED lighting retrofits. Most buildings constructed before the 1980s are likely to have excessive illuminance.

Inefficient Technology

Over the past two decades, lighting technology and equipment has remarkably improved in terms of efficiency, product life, and lighting quality. However, older inefficient equipment is still commonly used, and its replacement is a primary strategy behind lighting retrofits.

Poor Maintenance

Dust and dirt can accumulate on lamps or fixtures with poor or infrequent maintenance, which can interfere with light delivery and reduce efficiency. Poor maintenance can also result in the use of lamps that are beyond their rated lives. According to the IES, “old lamps use the same power as new ones but produce significantly less light.”

Long Hours of Operation

When a lighting system is operated almost continuously, any small improvement in lighting efficiency can save a considerable amount of energy. The long hours of lighting operation typical of hospitals, police stations, correctional facilities, etc. make most upgraded lighting systems easy to justify.

High Electricity/Demand Charges

It can be easy to justify an investment in efficient lighting when energy rates are high. While the cost of installing an energy efficient lighting system remains constant, the energy cost savings over time are much greater, making lighting retrofits that would otherwise be marginal, much more-likely to be cost-effective.

Suboptimal Lighting Conditions (Deferred Capital Re-Investment)

Although not on the topic of energy savings via lighting, it’s also important to focus on the connection between retrofits, a high-quality visual environment, and the increased well-being and productivity of the occupants. As a building’s lighting systems are renovated, lighting energy use may stay constant or even fall, as the use of efficient lighting technologies increases. Incentives or other benefits of a new lighting system may minimize deferred capital gains.

Smart Lighting—The Next Big Thing?

The most forward-thinking businesses around the planet are already optimizing their operations and cutting costs through lighting upgrade technologies.

You’ve likely already heard of the IoT (Internet of Things) movement—a system of interrelated computer devices, machines, objects, animals, or people that have the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction—but beyond the consumer IoT is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). According to Navigant Research, the global market revenue for IIoT lighting is expected to swell to $4.5 billion in 2026, thanks to the widespread implementation of intelligent lighting products in industrial and commercial facilities around the globe.

With lighting upgrades, and now the ‘Smart Building’ movement, poised for exponential growth in the next few years, when will you consider getting your building’s lighting upgraded?

In Conclusion

Energy Performance Lighting stays educated on lighting, because lighting is all we do. Our technicians stay up-to-date and informed on the latest energy efficient technology and smart lighting products on the market. The family at EPL is always happy to work with you and help you with any questions you may have. If you’re looking for a way to improve your facility environment, reduce your energy consumption, and boost worker productivity, a lighting upgrade may be the solution.

For more information, contact the certified lighting efficiency professionals at Energy Performance Lighting by sending us a message, giving us a call at (608) 661-5555, or schedule a free lighting assessment by clicking here and an EPL team member will reach out to your within one business day.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things, is it the next revolution of the century? From the amount of people already connected and using it, without knowing it, the IoT is a major industry just waiting to explode. The Internet of Things is a simple concept; any object where an interface and processor can be installed and connected to the internet can be classified as part of the Internet of Things network. One possible feature for car keys with the IoT is if you’ve set your keys in an odd spot, the keys could notify you where they are. No more searching for an hour to find them because you didn’t leave them on the key ring or the cat knocked them off the counter. The keys could tell you exactly where they are.

Lighting is affected by the IoT in a variety of ways. In businesses lighting could be adjusted by the time of day, occupancy, flow of traffic, task performed or even to kill bacteria.  Other duties light could do is make facilities managers jobs easier this could be done with sensors and connecting lights to the internet to see how many hours of life remain on a light bulb before it needs to be replaced or what is causing a light to not dim. Lights connected to the IoT could also be a great tool for safety, guiding people to the nearest exits during fires or being connected to a security system where the lights start flickering on and off when an intruder breaks in. The IoT has endless opportunities for new products and uses.

The IoT currently is at the center of innovation, technology and ideas being implemented in Smart Cities. Through the IoT, cities are already tracking pedestrian traffic, real time energy usage, water usage and solid waste collection. From the data collected at the tips of consumers’ and businesses’ fingers, processes can be streamlined and more control can be implemented to improve services. Technology is rapidly evolving too, as Wi-Fi and Li-Fi are being implemented in different ways to connect cities. This is being done through installing routers on busses, old payphones, and lights. 

Beyond the scope of just cities, so many other industries could be affected. Manufacturing, Transport, Supply Chain, Healthcare, Insurance, Logistics, Government, Energy and Automotive industries could connect products and gather data from a distance. In the case for Healthcare, what if there was a plaster cast that could give you diagnostics on a broken bone and pictures without having to get an x-ray? This would cut down the amount of times patients would have to come in to the doctor’s office and doctors could evaluate the injury in real time on the computer, catching problems earlier.

Companies already have started implementing the IoT in their businesses and have had energy savings that are beyond the 50% energy savings you get from installing just LEDs. With more data you can propel past others learning patterns and using the knowledge to saving money and allow employees to perform in a quality environment. 

At EPL, we are lighting experts because lighting is all we do. We can upgrade your lighting systems to the 21st century and connect you to the world. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of health, safety, and energy efficiency, and always deliver on time and on budget. No change orders, ever.

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