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LED Lighting Upgrades: a Guide for Facility Managers
As a facility manager, you’re responsible for all aspects of the physical infrastructure of an organization. Part of this responsibility is to identify areas where you can increase the efficiency and cost-savings of the facilities that you manage. One strategy that you can implement is the upgrade of your existing lighting systems.
When developing a case for spending money on lighting system upgrades, it’s important to consider the benefits to determine if it’s worth it. Facility managers must develop a solid return-on-investment (ROI) case for getting capital improvement expenditures approved. No matter what type of facility you manage, the main goal is for it to operate with as minimal of a cost as possible. Upgrading to an LED lighting system is a vital part of accomplishing this goal. An investment in energy-efficient lighting can lead to a substantial ROI within a two-year period. Upgrades typically save around 40 to 60% on energy costs.
Improving your lighting setup can be the first step toward a healthier, safer, and more productive work environment. Facilities such as warehouses and fulfillment centers consist of intricate operations and require smooth workflows. Inadequate or obsolete lighting systems can not just delay and disrupt system processes but can also become a risk for worker injuries. Light flickering, glare, and improper contrast are all issues that can lead to consequences like eye strain, operational mistakes, and physical injuries.
It is estimated that more than 75% of the five million industrial, commercial, and institutional buildings in the United States were constructed before many current energy-efficient technologies were available. On average, lighting can account for a third of a building’s energy use and potentially more if the facility has outdated, inefficient lighting.
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Types of Facility Lighting: What Do They Do?
Depending on the nature of your business or organization, you’ll likely have a variety of lights that provide specific functions. In general, here are some basic types of workplace lighting to consider:
- General Lighting provides a comfortable, balanced overall light to a space.
- Task Lighting provides glare-free illumination for specific tasks. Examples include quality control, product assembly, or inventory storage.
- Accent Lighting can be used in break rooms, cafeterias, or lobbies. It provides a central point of illumination that highlights the specific features of a space.
The Benefits of LED Lighting
LED lighting systems have quite a few benefits over other types of lighting. This includes HID (high-intensity discharge), fluorescent, and incandescent.
- They produce light much more efficiently. Less wattage is required for each lamp or fixture. This means that they use less electricity and reduce energy costs.
- They are free of toxic chemicals, such as mercury and lead. This means that they are environmentally friendly and there are no special arrangements that are needed for disposal.
- They have a much longer lifespan, 100,000 hours in some cases. This reduces replacement costs.
- They can improve alertness and visibility. They contribute to shadow reduction and enhance color recognition. This results in increased efficiency and productivity.
How Do You Know That Your Facility’s Lighting System Needs to Be Upgraded?
- It has high utility bills.
- It has high maintenance costs.
- There are issues with suboptimal light levels. HID and fluorescent lighting quality can degrade over time. This can make tasks more difficult.
You are not taking advantage of initiatives and incentives that are available to you. Here are some examples:
- Environmental and sustainability initiatives – Your organization may have sustainability and environmental goals that include its carbon footprint reduction, waste disposal, and energy efficiency.
- Smart building initiatives – One of the benefits of LED lighting is it can be connected and integrated with other systems in the building. This creates the possibility for limitless efficiency and automation opportunities. This can include daylight harvesting, occupancy sensors, and Bluetooth beaconing.
- Rebates and/or tax incentives – These can come from state/local governments and local utility companies.
How Do You Start Planning a Lighting Upgrade for Your Facility?
1. Perform a Lighting Audit and Get Recommendations from a Professional
A lighting audit is performed by doing an onsite walkthrough of a facility to specify its current lighting conditions. Once the audit is completed, you can ascertain where energy-saving changes can be made. It can be performed for both indoor and outdoor spaces. The audit will provide a detailed report outlining potential energy savings, rebates, incentives, costs, and ROI. Your existing fixtures may need to be replaced, retrofitted, and/or adjusted.
2. Make the Case for an Upgrade to LED Lighting.
- Identify areas that need to use lights 24/7 (all the time). This could include parking garages, stairwells, or common areas.
- Identify areas that have lights that are difficult to reach. Examples include lights that require a lift for access or those that can only be replaced after normal business hours. One specific example would be high bay LED lights in a warehouse.
LED lights are much more efficient than other types of lighting.
- This helps to reduce your electric bill significantly.
- Consider showing how a lighting upgrade will impact precise (not just average) price per kilowatt-hour charge as well as other peripheral charges. A reduction of the demand charge alone can be huge.
- Understand the difference between kilowatts and kilowatt-hours. Kilowatts (a measure of power) measure how fast a facility uses kilowatt-hours (kWh, a measure of energy). It’s very important to include accurate calculations for kWh and energy demand for an ROI rationalization argument in order to justify a lighting upgrade proposal.
3. Apply for Rebates And/or Tax Incentives.
- A third party that helps pay for all or part of a lighting upgrade is an ideal way to strengthen a return-on-investment (ROI) case. This includes rebates or tax incentives from the local utility, the federal government, or any other organization that offers money for energy efficiency.
- Apply for rebates early in the justification process. This way, you will already have a commitment letter that spells out the specific work and exact dollars.
- Use one of many online tools to find the rebate that matches your project
As a Facility Manager, you spend a lot of time maintaining, upgrading, and supporting your organization’s footprint. You must focus on bottom lines, expenses, certifications, code requirements, and perform daily duties where strong working relationships are needed. You need high-quality systems that require minimal maintenance for your team and adhere to the budgets set by company leaders. LED lights are an ideal fit for facility managers.
On a final note, always remember that it’s important to know your organization’s priorities and goals. This knowledge will allow you to include them in your lighting upgrade proposal. By demonstrating that you understand them, your proposal will be more convincing to those that will ultimately make the final decision.
Advice for Facility Managers
What Maintenance Practices Should Facility Managers Adopt to Ensure the Longevity and Optimal Performance of LED Lighting Systems?
Facility managers should use predictive models to enhance LED lighting system maintenance. By using these models, managers can adjust lighting controls based on occupancy changes, improving performance and reducing wear. Predictive models also aid in creating maintenance schedules, optimizing system longevity by avoiding disruptions. Regular updates to the models ensure the system adapts to evolving user behavior, preventing excessive use or neglect that could harm its lifespan.
How Can Facility Managers Evaluate the Return on Investment (roi) and Payback Period for LED Lighting Upgrades?
The strong ROI associated with switching to LEDs from traditional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights is typically attributed to quantitative improvements in brightness and energy use. Alone, LEDs offer cities an estimated $109 million in savings over a 15-year period. When combined with smart dimming schedules, they offer cities an additional $29 million in reduced operating costs and emissions. LEDs also offer several benefits that are harder to quantify, such as an improved sense of safety and quality of life. Municipalities that recoup their smart lighting costs in as little as 2.25 years can turn their attention — and funds – to new smart city projects that further improve safety and connectivity.
What Would Be the Most Efficient Way to Heat Large Commercial Facilities? What are Some Energy Saving Recommendations for Facility Managers?
Heating large commercial spaces is a thoughtful endeavor, demanding meticulous planning for both efficiency and eco-friendliness. It’s a balancing act that considers building type, location, climate, and unique heating requirements.
Key Strategies for Efficient Heating:
- District Heating Systems: These central plants provide heat to multiple buildings, leveraging economies of scale for higher efficiency. Many use combined heat and power (CHP) plants to capture waste heat, generating electricity and warmth.
- Heat Pumps: Ground or air-sourced, heat pumps multiply available heat for efficient warmth. Ground-source pumps are particularly effective across climates.
- Hydronic Heating Systems: By using water for heat distribution, these systems ensure even warmth and better efficiency. Introducing radiant floor heating adds further comfort and efficacy.
- Solar Thermal Systems: Sun-drenched regions can convert solar energy into heat, reducing reliance on fossil fuels when combined with other systems.
- High-Efficiency Boilers: Modern condensing boilers maximize efficiency, reusing heat from flue gases to achieve up to 98% efficiency.
- Thermal Energy Storage: Storing excess heat during off-peak hours and deploying it during high demand optimizes energy use and lowers costs.
Recommendations for Energy Savings:
- Building Insulation: Improving insulation and sealing the building envelope curbs heat loss significantly. Upgrades to windows, doors, and roof insulation are impactful.
- HVAC Optimization: Regular maintenance and upgrading HVAC components reduce energy use. Employing variable speed drives (VSDs) further optimizes efficiency.
- Energy Management Systems (EMS): Advanced EMS monitors and controls energy usage, identifies inefficiencies, automates energy-saving actions, and offers insights.
- Waste Heat Recovery: Capturing waste heat from various building processes through heat recovery ventilation (HRV) or energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems for pre-heating or heating needs.
- Demand-Controlled Ventilation: Sensor-based ventilation adjusts based on occupancy, avoiding wasted heating energy in unoccupied spaces.
- Employee Education: Engaging occupants in energy-saving practices pays off. Simple measures like proper thermostat and window shade usage can make a difference.
- Regular Energy Audits: Periodic assessments by professionals pinpoint areas for improvement, aligning with regulations and sustainability goals.
Heating large commercial spaces involves a multifaceted approach. Tailoring strategies to specific building needs promises optimal efficiency and sustainability outcomes. Staying updated on the latest technologies empowers facility managers to make well-informed choices, balancing economic and environmental considerations.
What are the Main Benefits of Facility Management when it Comes to Real Estate?
In the realm of real estate, the significance of facility management is paramount. It goes beyond mere benefits; it’s the very essence that sustains the industry’s vitality. Facility management’s strategic implementation serves as the linchpin for all-encompassing operational efficiency and heightened value. By optimizing energy consumption and refining maintenance processes, it becomes an indispensable driver of cost efficiency, especially in a dynamic economic landscape where minimizing operational costs is pivotal for sustained growth.
Furthermore, facility management plays a pivotal role in preserving property assets, a cornerstone of the real estate sector. Addressing the country’s climate and infrastructural challenges, comprehensive maintenance protocols become imperative, revealing another facet of facility management’s advantage. This practice ensures asset resilience, fortifying their long-term value and bolstering their ability to withstand unique environmental factors. Navigating diverse compliance standards and safety regulations, facility management also stands guard as a vigilant custodian. This proactive approach not only mitigates potential liabilities but also reinforces the sector’s reputation through its dedication to safety. In essence, facility management emerges as an indispensable discipline that orchestrates various elements to elevate real estate to new heights. By embracing sustainability, advocating tenant satisfaction, and ensuring asset longevity, it crystallizes its role as a catalyst for holistic advancement within the real estate domain.
Could You Tell Us About the Importance of Asset Management in Increasing Productivity?
When we talk about increasing productivity, asset management plays a key role, especially in companies and industries. All this is even better when combined with technologies such as Digital Twins, IoT (Internet of Things) and Artificial Intelligence in an integrated system, as with Manusis4. Some benefits:
Resource optimization – as it allows for a more efficient allocation of resources, including equipment, machines, tools and staff. This prevents waste and makes sure resources are being used in the best way to maximize production.
Predictive maintenance – as integration of Digital Twins and IoT makes it possible to collect real-time data on the performance and state of assets. This allows for the implementation of predictive maintenance strategies, where problems are identified before they cause unplanned downtime. This reduces downtime and increases asset availability.
Reduced downtime – with more efficient and planned maintenance, equipment and machine downtime is reduced. This allows operations continue without unnecessary interruptions, increasing overall productivity.
Increased useful life of assets – as performing proper maintenance prolongs the useful life of equipment, avoiding excessive expenses with frequent replacements.
Data-driven decision-making – Artificial Intelligence integration enables advanced analysis of collected data. This helps identify patterns, trends and insights that can guide strategic decisions for process optimization and resource allocation.
Operational efficiency – because by having a complete view of assets and their performance, it is possible to identify bottlenecks in processes and start improvements to optimize operational efficiency.
Rodrigo Rotondo – CEO
What are the Biggest Challenges of Facility Managers when it Comes to Managing Smart Workplaces?
Facility managers overseeing smart workplaces face the challenge of (conflicting) employer and employee wishes, integrating complex technologies, considering costs, ensuring data security and privacy, and helping users adapt. Managing vendor relationships and maintaining technical expertise is crucial due to the interconnected nature of devices and systems. Collaborating with a single supplier like GoBright, Smart Workplace Specialist, which covers Room Booking, Desk Booking, Visitor Registration, and Digital Signage, is most efficient. These solutions seamlessly integrate with other hardware systems like lighting and conference room displays, but also with Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Google Workspace and FMIS systems, streamlining operations and enhancing efficiency.
How Does Lighting Impact Occupant Comfort and Productivity in Commercial and Industrial Facilities?
Lighting in commercial and industrial spaces isn’t just about brightening things up. It’s like a magic wand that affects how comfortable and efficient everyone is. Think of a well-lit office with lights that mimic the sun – it makes people feel good and work better. The right lighting in a big factory can make all the difference; it helps workers see what they’re doing without straining their eyes. So, good lighting isn’t just about banishing the dark; it’s about making people comfy and productive.
About the Author
Neil Peterson is Chief Operating Officer at LED Lighting Supply. He has been active in the LED industry for over 10 years and is responsible for product planning and management as well as revenue and operations at LED Lighting Supply. Much of Neil’s time is focused on customer engagement for large commercial and industrial lighting requirements. When not working, he enjoys family time, camping, fishing, and sports..