The Lighting Hierarchy: The where and what guide to lighting retrofits

One question we get from our customers all the time is: What and where do I retrofit first?

Lighting costs are made up of a combination of energy costs, maintenance/repair costs, and other costs, so when you plan a retrofit you must also take these factors into consideration. Generally, the goal of a retrofit is to reduce lighting costs as fast as possible and there are three simple rules to go by when planning your retrofit.

1. Eliminate bulbs that are costing you the most money

Light bulbs can be ranked based on energy efficiency and life span. At the top of the hierarchy is LEDs, which consumes the least amount of energy and has the longest life span. Near the bottom are incandescent and halogen which use substantially more energy and fail far more often.

It’s generally a good idea to start your retrofit with the least efficient lighting. They are often easy to retrofit and bring immediate savings, meaning a shorter return on investment. Retrofitting incandescent and halogen lights not only reduce energy consumption (often up to 85%) but also drastically reduce ongoing maintenance costs since LEDs tend to last 50 times longer than standard incandescent lights. The logic is simple: start your retrofit with older and inefficient lighting.

2. Focus on areas that have lights on 24/7

Although the type of light bulbs is a major factor in energy consumption, usage rates are just as significant. It’s more beneficial in the long term to retrofit semi-efficient light bulbs that are on 24/7 than inefficient light bulbs that are only on 8 hours a day, which is why common areas such as lobbies, stairwells, parking garages, and signages should be first in line for a retrofit.

Common areas must maintain light at all times, so they consume more energy and are more prone for bulb burnouts and fails. Establishing these areas as a priority, you can quickly cut down energy consumption and collect the savings.

3. Work on areas that are troublesome to maintain

Do you have areas that require special equipment to maintain and service? Well, those areas should also be a priority for retrofits. Through retrofitting to LEDs, you can drastically reduce the amount of service and maintenance required because of LEDs’ long life span. It will not only save you money every year on repair costs but also the headache of looking for experts that have the right equipment and expertise to maintain those hard to reach lights.

Our client,  Toys “R” Us Vancouver has a 72ft outdoor sign that can be seen from miles away and has been a landmark for metro Vancouver for generations. The sign has been a staple of the Toys “R” Us brand, but was costing them thousands of dollars in maintenance each year.

Every time they had a burnout, they needed to find a repair company that owned an 80ft lift. Needless to say, it was both tedious and very expensive.  It also puts the saying “how many people does it take to change a lightbulb” into perspective. After retrofitting their sign with LEDs, their maintenance costs are way down and haven’t needed a repair since. Long story short, retrofitting can really save you headaches and money on those hard to reach areas.

These 3 rules are simple to follow, but sometimes you need a little expertise to help maximize your savings. Contact Relight for more information or to book a free assessment.

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