By simple definition, a Lighting Solution is a "Lighting Upgrade" that improves the quality of light by replacing an old system or design.
Among all energy-saving measures for a building, an energy-efficient lighting upgrade is the easiest and most profitable investment. According to the Energy Cost Savings Council, on average, a lighting upgrade in commercial and institutional facilities has a payback period of 2-3 years and yields 45% return on investment.
There are three ways to upgrade the lighting system.
1. Replace the older lamp & ballast with a new energy efficient lamp & ballast. Add some basic occupancy or dimming controls to minimize light wastage.
This type of lighting upgrade is much simpler and far less expensive.The cost of the project can be further subsidized by incorporating utility rebates on qualified products. The amount of energy saved can be substantial depending on the level of efficiency of the lamp and ballast chosen for the upgrade. In many cases, the return on such upgrades can be less than one year.
2. Replace the older light fixtures with more efficient ones.
This type of upgrade can be a simple one-to-one fixture replacement, with basic controls integrated within or outside the fixture.
It is not enough to have just an efficient lamp and ballast in a fixture. Poorly designed fixtures trap a good amount of light within the fixture. As a result, the fixture gets overheated and puts a load on the air conditioning system. Some fixtures have lens covers that absorb up to 30% of the light, thus making the fixture inefficient.
These days, fixtures are designed to maximize the light output. The housing is made with specific elements that help reduce heat and increase the efficiency of the lamp and the fixture. Utility incentives are available for qualified fixtures that help reduce the cost of the project.
3. Change the lighting layout with a more efficient design and a smarter control system.
Beyond the lighting fixture is the efficiency of the lighting layout or lighting design, which includes the smart lighting control system. This type of upgrade can be more complex and expensive. However the range of benefits completely justify the expense.
With advancement in lighting technology, the concept of lighting design is evolving to new standards. Smart lighting designs are focused on optimizing energy efficiency, increasing aesthetic appeal, and enhancing user experience. Architects have always known that only a careful manipulation of light brings out the best in architecture. Especially today, lighting has become the better half of modern architecture.
In the wake of green movement sweeping the globe, a lighting upgrade is not even a choice anymore. In the US, by law, old technologies like incandescent & mercury vapor bulbs, T12 lamps, magnetic ballasts, etc. are no longer manufactured. Consumers now have to adapt to whatever new technology is available in the market.
On the other hand, electric rates are rising. Energy mandates for new constructions and remodeling are getting more and more stringent. To be compliant with the mandates, an efficient lighting upgrade is the first easy step.