Patience — and Savings — Are a Virtue

By Dave Lubach, Associate Editor  

Whether it is a smartphone, athletic shoe or new vehicle, some people are obsessed with buying a trendy product, regardless of cost.

Maintenance and engineering managers in institutional and commercial facilities would love to have that luxury. But because of ever-present budget considerations, that is rarely, if ever, possible. Now more than ever, managers must take great care in committing budgeted funds to the Next Big Thing.

Recently, I spoke with a director of facilities at a 1.6-million-square-foot health care facility about a lighting retrofit that replaced 12,000 lights and ballasts. When he started specifying products for the project in 2007, LED products were just beginning to emerge. They were the buzz of the industry, but they also were costly. After crunching the numbers, he realized that the high initial costs did not provide a suitable return on investment.

"We felt we could achieve the savings we wanted with the T8s and going with the conventional lighting," he says.

Fast-forward to 2013. LEDs are more reliable than their first-generation ancestors, and they have become more cost-effective. The manager who was forced to turn his back on LEDs now has jumped on board. His latest lighting retrofit — new fixtures in a parking ramp — incorporates LEDs, and he estimates saving $51,000 yearly because of the decision.

Sometimes, good things really do come to those who wait.

Dave Lubach offers insights gleaned from conversations with managers who make key maintenance and engineering decisions in institutional and commercial facilities.

Agree? Disagree? Have something to say? We want to hear from you. Visit myfacilitiesnet.com/davelubach, and start a conversation.

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  posted on 8/8/2013   Article Use Policy

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