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Building Operating Management

Lighting Upgrade Requires Careful Thinking, Pre-Testing





Facility managers need to be thoughtful about lighting. An upgrade requires careful thinking, observation, ans pre-testing. But doing it right can make a space special.

A lot of what has to be considered for good quality lighting in a space is fairly philosophical, but there are some very practical things facility managers can do as well. First, really unpack why a lighting upgrade is desired, and then make sure the actions taken will support that goal.

“If you already have a good fluorescent system, and you want to replace it with LED, I would say, why?” says Clanton. “Is it because the fluorescent system is too glaring or it’s inappropriate or you have way too high of light levels? So you’re looking at an upgrade, but center it around quality instead of just energy.”

In addition, get a sample of the product and put it up at the height and conditions that it would be installed at in your facility and take it for a test drive. Check out how the color looks, and if there’s glare. And of course, hiring a well-qualified consultant — not a sales rep and not a contractor — to walk you through the many options would go a long way.

Quality in lighting is something that can be felt, so experts advise facility managers to keep their eyes open when they’re in new spaces or touring other buildings. “Once in a while they’re going to enter a space that resonates with their particular assumptions, either from an economic, aesthetic, functional, or just a general pleasing response,” says Kozminski. “That’s when they have to pay attention and see what the lighting is doing to reinforce that.”

Simply cleaning up the ceiling by getting rid of discolored tiles and any extraneous clutter in addition to a new lighting system is one of the cheapest ways to make an old office building look newer, says Benya. “It’s a simple enough job and if you do it right the lighting energy savings will probably pay for the job in five years,” he says. “This is the one aesthetic improvement that pays for itself just because you did a good job.”

Beyond the energy savings that everyone knows about and is chasing, there are the other less quantifiable payoffs. “People will walk in and say there’s something special about this space,” says Benya. “They’ll look at the carpet, they’ll look at the walls, and they’ll look at the furniture, never thinking that it’s the lighting. And yet the lighting is a big change maker. If you do it wisely and well, the results will be somewhat intangible and yet the reaction of people will be tangible.”


posted on 12/14/2014

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