At some point, every organization that operates a facility needs a lighting upgrade. Whether you’re noticing outdated or dysfunctional lighting, or horrified by your electric bills, you may feel as if you’re in the dark when it comes to the best options.
The good news is that hassle-free is a matter of applying common sense and a little bit of upfront work.
Begin with Needs
If you’re considering new lighting you’ve already identified at least one pressing need but take this opportunity for a deep dive into how your lighting systems meet and your current needs and how they fall short. Assess them in light of utility (how these lights are used in their space) and energy use.
One thing that belongs on your list is replacing each incandescent and fluorescent light with an LED equivalent. This includes halogen, sodium, mercury vapor lights, etc. LED’s provide far more light per kilowatt hour than traditional sources, last far longer, and are more durable than fragile filament bulbs and tubes. They are also more durable than compact fluorescent bulbs.
Consider Opportunities for Your Space
To some extent, this is a continuation of the previous step, but is important on its own because it involves a somewhat different mindset.
What about your lighting design can be changed to create a better environment for workers and customers? Some common answers:
- Incorporating more natural daylight or more daylight spectrum lighting to help workers with their circadian rhythm and remain more productive.
- Adding spot or task lighting to reduce glare in over-lit work environments
- Using indirect lighting to reduce glare and enhance the look of the space
- Eliminating glossy surfaces to reduce glare and increasing the number of light-colored surfaces in order to increase opportunities for indirect lighting.
- Using fixtures that provide needed lighting without an “industrial” appearance
- Using lighting color that is best for the space and the tasks done in it.
- Redesigning your outdoor lighting footprint for better security and a better look.
- Putting controls in place that save energy and make operation of your system easier
This may be the stage where it makes sense to involve a lighting contractor, who can help you find opportunities and generate ideas. That brings us to…
Choose the Right Partner
The right lighting contractor does more than provide qualified electricians, they partner with you to create a design that works well for decades and saves you money. Here are some qualities to look for:
- Project Experience—A company with diverse and extensive project experience will have time-tested processes that save you time and money. They’ll know the common hitches you might encounter and how to avoid them. Choose a company with such experience, and a number of solid project references from facilities in your industry.
- Rebate and Incentive Experience—Grants, incentives and rebates for energy-saving lighting can save you a large amount of money on your project, but the programs and paperwork can be something of a jungle. Choose a contractor who knows how to navigate in this world and get every dollar that’s coming to you.
- A Local Company—In our increasingly connected world, working with a firm from outside the region makes a certain kind of sense. However, facility improvement is an ongoing process. It makes even more sense to have a partner who can visit your site easily, answer concerns as they come up, and give you the best advice after seeing “the lay of the land” in person.
Lastly, evaluate your partner for a lighting contract the same way you would any other contractor:
- Get multiple quotes.
- Check references carefully.
- Inquire if they use subcontractors, and if so, about their oversight process.
- Check the warranties on their work and beware of loopholes.
With a little advance work and thought, you can create a lighting project that sails smoothly to completion.
Need a local partner for your project? We’d like you to consider Thayer Energy Solutions. We have decades of experience with LED’s, design, controls, and installation, know how to navigate the jungle of incentives, and are right here in your region. Get in touch and let’s see what we can do together!