As mentioned across the FMC Services website, LED lighting technology is rapidly changing the lighting industry and its costs for property managers & business owners. While fluorescent lighting (for interiors) & HID lighting (for exteriors) are still the most common lighting sources in institutional and commercial buildings, many facilities upgrade to LED lighting more and more as part of retrofit projects to save money big time. Some business owners have even carried out these updates as part of a total facility LED upgrade.
Decision makers must choose to upgrade existing lighting only after careful evaluation. Whether operating a health care facility in Denver, a commercial office building in Aurora, or education institution in Boulder, managers in Colorado have many factors to consider regarding their LED retrofit options.
Why upgrade your Denver business or property to LED Lighting?
Updating commercial lighting is essential to maintaining a modern facility in both appearance and performance. When determining if the change from fluorescent to LED lighting is right for a facility, the efficiency & longevity of the use and appearance of the lighting is essential.
A key factor in upgrading to LED lighting is energy efficiency. Lighting is the largest user of electricity in most facilities, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Lighting accounts for about 17 percent of electricity consumed in commercial buildings in 2012, which is consistent across buildings of various sizes.
Energy Efficiency & Cost Savings
Managers often consider upgrading to energy-efficient HVAC systems, but they are not always aware of the potential savings that could be attributed to replacing existing fluorescent tube lights with more modern LED options.
Consider a 4-foot fluorescent lamp that uses 34 W when in use with the ballast. A ballast regulates the current and makes sure fluorescent lamps have sufficient voltage to start. If this lamp were to run continuously all day for a week, the annual consumption would be 297.8 kilowatt hour (kWh). The equivalent LED tube uses 16 watts.
If operated in the same manner, it would consume only 140.1 kWh in a year of continual use. Using an energy cost of $0.12 per kWh, this is a savings of about $19 per year for one lamp, or $57 per year for a three-lamp fixture. Replacing 100 of these fixtures would equate to an annual savings of $5,700.
When considering the differences between LED and fluorescent lamp fixture life expectancies, managers need to understand one key to make a fair comparison between the two light sources. Fluorescent lamps possess a visible indication of failure that often presents itself through flickering — otherwise known as strobing — or by just completely shutting off. Unlike fluorescent light sources, the light output from an LED source continually lessens over the life of the fixture rather than burning out.
Planning Your LED Upgrades
Understanding the desired light level and the intended use of a space are important first steps in considering whether to pursue one-for-one replacement lamps or if investing in a full light fixture replacement is the way to go. Researching compatibility with dimming controls and ballast types, along with testing proposed combinations, can help prevent potential post-install issues. Managers should consider the assistance of a lighting designer or engineer to evaluate the project and give guidance when purchasing.
How to get started with LED Lighting Upgrades for your facility?
Reach out to our Denver-based team of Account Managers who can help you make the right decisions about your commercial lighting upgrades throughout each step of the retrofit process.