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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The most obvious and immediate benefit to retrofitting an outdated lighting system is to reduce lighting costs and related expenses.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.

Bacteria-Killing Light

Bacteria have evolved. Some are even immune to the chemicals that are commonly used for cleaning and disinfecting. They are evolving, spreading, and becoming stronger and more dangerous – but what if there was a way to clean and disinfect without the harmful chemicals? There is – and we have been using it for millions of years – light.

How It Works

A study conducted by the University of Strathclyde in Scotland has shown a narrow spectrum of visible, indigo-colored light killed MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), C. difficile and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus), which are some of the most common harmful bacteria linked to hospital acquired infections (HAIs). Molecules within the bacteria absorb the High-Intensity Narrow Spectrum light which produces a chemical reaction killing the bacteria from the inside-out, and because it is visible light, it is safe for use in the presence of patients and staff, but lethal to pathogens.

Lowering Infections and Saving Money

Using light as a disinfectant tool can assist in reducing the number of HAIs. In the United States, it is estimated that HAIs contribute to at least 1.7 million illnesses, 99,000 deaths in acute care hospitals, and add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of treating a single patient, resulting in $35-45 billion in excess healthcare costs each year.

While the current disinfecting methods in a healthcare environment are effective, they are also sporadic, causing results to be short-lived, as the bacteria re-populate the space rapidly. The ability to continuously treat hard and soft surfaces, as well as the air, will provide a substantial boost to disinfecting efforts.

At Energy Performance Lighting, we’re excited to see how LED lighting and controls can give healthcare providers an effective tool to ensure the safest and best environments for their patients.



LiFi – A New Way to Communicate

We live in a time where wireless internet via radio waves is expected to be in nearly every building and home. The days of having to hard wire in to have access to the information the internet holds is long gone and the days where a common and expected question is “What’s your wireless password?” is here.  But technology is constantly changing, being refined, and bringing in better and faster options. So what’s coming after WiFi? LiFi

Li-Fi is short for light fidelity and in the most basic terms, is wireless connectivity via LED light. In other words it is a light that turns on and off so fast it can transmit data to your computer, phone, tablet, or other enabled devices. It is essentially the same as transmitting data via fiber optic utilizing a laser light source. The major difference is that it is in the light in your ceiling and not a laser. Imagine being able to walk into a building and automatically connect just because you’re using their light!

There are many benefits to LiFi, one being that it is much more data dense. LiFi uses light waves unlike WiFi’s radio waves. Much more data can be transmitted via light waves because the waves are in nanometers versus centimeters for radio waves. With each light being a communication path, LiFi also offers users more freed up bandwidth, allowing the data density LiFi to communicate at higher speeds.

Security is also a HUGE benefit of LiFi. Light can be contained to a building, space, or room while WiFi’s radio waves can leak through walls and be picked up outside a building, house, or apartment. If you’re not under LiFi’s light, you’re not connecting to the network. It can be localized in buildings as well, allowing people who walk into lobbies to have public access while workers at their desk can connect to their company network. Lastly, because LiFi uses light beams which don’t interfere with other electronic devices like radio waves can. This gives added security to places like hospitals and airplanes.  

Here at Energy Performance Lighting, we have the first installment of a LiFi system in the United States from PureLiFi. It’s still in its infancy but it’s here! With the rate of advancements, LiFi is expected to be showing up more commonly in the next 2-3 years. We’re excitedly watching this new technology develop and can’t wait to work with customers interested in installing it.

If you’re interested in learning more about LiFi, check out PureLiFi’s website.

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