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Managers planning lighting upgrades have a number of issues to consider with regard to project scope. Issues such as downtime, the number of fixtures installed, a facility's square footage, and condition of the existing lighting system all contribute in determining the size of a project.
Does my lighting system need a renovation or retrofit of fixtures and controls?
"So many people use the term retrofit when they mean renovate, and vice versa," says Randy Kimmel with Revolution Lighting Technologies. "There are many vendor manufacturers that can renovate, but very few can retrofit. The definition I see between the two is renovate is a fixture-per-fixture replacement. A retrofit can be changing the light engine in the fixture but keeping the aesthetic value of the fixture itself.
"A lighting and controls manufacturer should have the capability to offer both. This will determine energy and sustainability initiatives. You can have a quicker payback with a lighting or control system by retrofitting rather than just renovating fixture for fixture."
What are my options when considering a retrofit project?
"If someone's going to do an LED retrofit, there are a couple of options," says Greg Bennorth of Universal Lighting Technologies. "There are LED retrofit kits available so someone does not have to go in and dispose of fixtures that are already in place. If the fixture is already in good condition, they can do that. But if they're not happy with their fixtures, they can always go in and get new LED fixtures.
"We're seeing both options being done today. A facility will get a great deal on lamps, and they'll have a mishmash of colors on the ceiling, so they need to look for consistent appearance."
Should I use my existing lighting system as a baseline comparison against an upgraded system?
"Are the light levels acceptable or too high or too low? Because that can drive what light levels they want to go to and target," Bennorth says. "If they're too high, you can go down and save more energy. If they're too low, you won't save as much energy doing an upgrade, but they will improve their lighting. A lot of times, someone will get caught up on the energy savings without realizing that some energy savings, depending on what systems they go to, are related to a drop in light level, which may or may not be acceptable. They need a baseline on operating costs and to figure out what is their lighting costs for energy and ongoing maintenance costs."
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