Lighting Projects Often Provide Fast Path to Savings
Managers seeking energy savings have a host of systems and components to consider, including electrical and HVAC. Their priorities often depend on available funds and the scope of the overall work being contemplated.
“Lighting is not usually the first thing they look for as far as a standalone project,” Schonour says. “If lighting systems are still working, they tend to stay in effect. But when they’re planning some sort of renovation or upgrade that’s going to be touching more than one system, and a manager is aware of how much their lighting load is contributing to their energy use and their energy bills, then it often becomes low-hanging fruit for them.”
The most appealing facilities for lighting upgrades tend to be those with the most outdated systems and components.
“It’s the legacy facilities that are ripe for upgrades — those that are using old-school fluorescent technology, like magnetic ballasts, fixtures that are not using the omnidirectional nature of the type,” Schonour says. “Those are easy pickings for these kinds of upgrades.”
Though appealing in many ways, it is not necessarily a given that a lighting upgrade is the best course of action.
“It’s not always definite that a system should upgrade,” she says. “There are lots of very efficient fluorescent systems out there that are in very efficient fixtures. In terms of lumens per watt produced by a light source, that combination is still very competitive. It’s all about the right combination of those things.
“When we show an LED system that’s replacing a system that doesn’t use fluorescents in a very efficient way, that’s when we really see the no-brainer. When you add a control system that is well-designed and can answer the questions that traditionally would have been answered by people walking around and checking for lamps that are out or those kind of indicators, that’s when we see a lot of efficiency on the facilities side.”