Time For Savings

Now is the perfect time for construction executives to take advantage of the energy-saving solutions provided by lighting retrofit installations.  Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) mandated lighting manufacturers to phase out production of most T12 lamps by July 2012 to help increase the energy efficiency of linear fluorescent lighting.

However, according to the DOE’s 2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization report released in January 2012, of the 2.4 billion linear fluorescent lamps that are installed across the country, nearly 1 billion of these are still T12s.  As of July, these old lamps will no longer have available replacements. Accordingly, facilities should upgrade lighting sooner than later, before maintaining an outdated system becomes even more difficult and delays work flow.

Furthermore, almost a quarter (24.8 percent) of a commercial building’s primary energy use consists of lighting, and antiquated systems produce more heat and increase HVAC costs. They also make it difficult for companies to meet increasing energy demands. According to a new report from Pike Research, energy efficiency retrofits represent a rapidly growing market that will benefit the environment, building owners, tenants and communities alike, and this global market will expand from $80.3 billion in 2011 to $151.8 billion by 2020.

There are many untapped savings that businesses could realize through lighting retrofits.  Taking into account the oldest and most out-of-date systems, conversions from T12 to T8 lamps in the commercial sector alone are expected to save businesses nearly $5 billion in annual electricity costs. Now, many utility companies across the United States are providing substantial rebates to facilities that install energy-efficient lighting retrofits.

Initially, a complete lighting redesign may seem like the best solution to replace T12 lighting installments – primarily parabolic or lensed troffers with T12 or older T8 lamps.  End-users achieve the aesthetic and efficiency benefits of a newly constructed system with modern accouterments, while contractors benefit by winning a larger job. However, replacing old lighting fixtures with new ones can be expensive and disruptive.

With so many factors, lighting retrofits are the best possible solution to reduce costs, save energy and maintain current workflow. Lighting retrofit innovations create a win-win situation for all parties.

The Solution: Lighting Retrofit

Lighting retrofit kits effortlessly adapt to the current needs of construction teams, contractors and facility managers, providing a fresh solution to the problem of old, inefficient lighting.  Retrofit kits – available in efficient fluorescent and LED options – enable construction teams to install component parts into the housings of old fixtures.

Installation of retrofit kits decreases labor costs due to fast and simple installation. Kits are installed from below the ceiling plane within approximately 20 minutes. There is no need to rewire the old fixture, allowing contractors more flexibility to achieve maximum profitability.

This quick and easy installation process allows the contractor to implement a building upgrade rather than replace an entire fixture housing and wiring, which could hinder the daily business operations. Lastly, installation provides the option for the contractors to work overnight. This can further reduce interruptions to productivity and support faster project completion.

Retrofit Technology Advances with LED

Now a viable option for general ambient lighting, LED lighting retrofit fixture assemblies are considered the future of retrofit technology. LED retrofit kits are simpler and faster to install, provide greater energy savings, reduce maintenance to virtually nothing, and can provide the appearance and performance of a brand-new lighting fixture.

LED retrofit kits also allow for a one-for-one replacement, with efficiencies now approaching 100 delivered lumens per watt for tremendous energy savings. Further energy efficiency can be achieved with the integration of LED retrofit kits and controls, which also prolongs the productivity of the system. The cost of materials is less expensive and reduces payback time.

Retrofit products also can take advantage of existing inboard/outboard wiring from the old fluorescent system to incorporate bi-level dimming capabilities with no additional wiring required. These controls connect to the existing wiring and require minimal labor, making them ideal because they are installed from below the ceiling. LED retrofit kits provide a more advanced solution for the end user and offer opportunities to expand the scope of a project with profitable, easy-to-install controls.

Selecting a Retrofit Kit

In order to receive the most benefits with a lighting retrofit kit, keep several factors in mind:

  1. Efficient installation. Select a retrofit kit that can be installed from below the ceiling plane. Without having to disturb existing ceiling tiles or having to enter the plenum space, retrofit kits can ensure higher contractor profits and minimal disruption to a facility.
  2. Seamless integration. The retrofit solution should be as universal as possible.  Most facilities have existing fixtures that were installed over time and may be different models from different manufacturers. The selected retrofit lighting kit should work within the framework of existing fixtures. This makes current and future jobs easier for the contractor and the facility.
  3. UL classification. Avoid issues with inspectors or insurance adjusters with a UL-classified solution. Ensure that the retrofit product selected is compatible with air-handling applications and is UL-classified for that use.
  4. Packaging. Retrofit materials should be packaged in a way that minimizes mess and keeps the installer in mind. All components necessary for installation should be in one place, on as few pallets as possible, to help save time, labor costs and support supply chain efficiencies. This way, mess is eliminated and contractors achieve the maximum amount of profit. Make sure pallets used will fit through doorways and on standard elevators to save time.

Lighting retrofit kits provide facility managers and contractors with increased energy and maintenance savings, advanced light quality and an aesthetically pleasing fixture, without the expense of a full renovation.

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