Lighting Retrofits: Consider Maintenance During Installation
Lighting retrofits also can underperform because planners did not look far enough ahead. They often fail to consider proper system maintenance, such as relamping, that can extend the project's performance life.
"It's counterintuitive to replace a lamp that is burning, but when about 80 percent — some say 70 percent — of the lamps have burned out, the others are close behind," Lien says. "That's the time to change them all at once. This can be done assembly-line style and completed in a fraction of the time, compared to spot relamping." In other cases, planners forget that facility activities constantly evolve, meaning upgraded lighting systems have to be as flexible as they are functional.
"Many organizations choose a system that does not give them any flexibility for the future," Dollar says. "Office environments may be rearranged, and warehouse racks may be relocated. Installing a system that doesn't provide some flexibility can result in a lighting system that is unusable or counterproductive."
Also, too many organizations fail to monitor savings generated by a retrofit.
"I don't see it being planned for a lot," Davis says. "(Organizations are) not assigning it to a building engineer or facility manager. It just tends to be off their radar." The solution, he says, is conducting an annual review of the new lighting-management system.
Finally, Satterwhite says managers must understand "the warranty programs that come with your typical retrofit and the means by which to take advantage of them. Make sure you have all warranties in writing and that the lighting-management company has the processes in place and the resources to enforce them."
The Future of Retrofits
For managers still on the fence regarding the need to undertake a lighting retrofit, several trends are worth noting. Consider the likely impact of rising electricity rates and demand charges.
"We'll have rising electricity costs for the foreseeable future, and this will drive the need for retrofits, both as a necessary budgetary consideration and as a reliable and profitable investment," Lien says. Finally, managers need to be aware of the impact of solid-state lighting, which uses light-emitting diode (LED) technology.
"Solid-state lighting will certainly become more popular in the future, offering the benefits of reduced energy, and their long life will have a positive impact on maintenance costs," English says. "Facility managers need to be prudent about this new technology and do their homework about applying it correctly."
Spotlight: enLIGHTen America
The lighting manufacturers of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), representing more than 45 of the largest lighting companies in the United States, have teamed to launch a broad-based, awareness-building marketing campaign aimed at saving energy and cutting energy costs in existing buildings in the United States. Called enLIGHTen America, the campaign targets building owners, operators, executives, contractors and anyone else interested in upgrading lighting products in unrenovated buildings.
"We are providing valuable information and tools to all types of customers," says Jeanette Strainic, marketing manager for GE Lighting. "In turn, they are conducting energy audits and then relighting with NEMA members' products. "Everyone wins."
The enLIGHTen America Web site offers energy-saving solutions through case studies, tax incentives, recycling fluorescent lamps, and energy-efficient lighting products, such as high-intensity-discharge and compact fluorescent lamps, luminaires, lighting controls, NEMA Premium ballasts, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and exit signs.
For more information, visit www.nemasavesenergy.org.