Millions of buildings in the U.S. have outdated, low efficiency lighting systems and federal regulations are gradually phasing out older-generation lighting.
Lighting is generally considered "low hanging fruit" for energy efficiency. In a typical building, lighting accounts for about 25% to 40% of electricity consumption. From overhead lights to exit signs to parking spaces, many properties and spaces have decades-old fixtures, lamps, and ballasts that are prime candidates for replacement.
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How it Works
Lighting technology has improved dramatically in recent years. Newer-generation fluorescent and LED lighting systems provide better light while consuming fewer watts. Dimmable ballasts can integrate with lighting control systems to generate additional savings.
The retrofit process starts with a lighting audit. During the audit, a technician performs an on-site inspection to catalog existing equipment, functional uses, and runtime. Based on the results, the auditor provides the business case for replacing or phasing out older, inefficient lighting.
Some common lighting retrofits are:
- Replacing T-12 magnetic with T-8 electronic or Super T-8 low factor electronic ballasts
- Replacing high bay HID with High Bay fluorescent lights
- Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs)
- Install reflectors to better distribute light throughout your space
- De-lamp, or remove any unnecessary lights
How You Save
In most buildings, lighting burns several thousand hours per year. Newer-generation fluorescent and LED lighting systems produce higher output with less energy. Addtionally, modern equipment has a dramatically longer life, which reduces maintenance costs. Operating cost savings are highly predictable, with financial payback within 1 to 3 years. Incentives are typically available to offset a portion of the upfront costs.
- Building interiors and exteriors with older T12 or T8 fluorescents, halogens, incandescents, high pressure sodium, metal halide, or other lower-efficiency lighting
- Fixtures that have a long runtime (hours per year), do not have lighting controls, or are over-lit
- Owners and tenants that plan to own/occupy the property for at least 3 years
Lighting retrofit projects must be scheduled so as to not interrupt existing operations. Depending on the scope, the process can take several days, or weeks.