(Updated Summer 2022)
Over the last 15 years, lighting technology has come a long way. It goes to show the importance of retrofits and renovations. Lower energy bills, better looking properties, and energy incentives are just a few of the benefits that come from upgrading your property’s exterior and interior lighting to LED.
What is a lighting upgrade?
A lighting upgrade is defined as replacing your old lighting system with a new lighting system. The most common type of lighting upgrade today is an upgrade to LED. When you upgrade to LED lighting, you remove the old lighting fixtures and replace them with new LED fixtures. Many times you will find that you don’t need as many fixtures as you had before to achieve the same amount of light output.
What is a lighting retrofit?
A lighting retrofit is a 1-for-1 lighting replacement. Retrofits are more popular for interior spaces and residential applications. Typically in a retrofit, you utilize an existing fixture and upgrade its internal components to home an LED and/or driver. Similar to a lighting upgrade, a retrofit also saves energy and improves the light output.
Aren’t lighting upgrades expensive?
Upfront costs for a lighting upgrade can range anywhere from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands. No matter how large your property is, upgrading your lighting is going to reduce your energy usage and therefore, save you money.
As we strive to be greener as a community and to meet our ever-growing sustainable goals, there are many energy rebate options to incentivize us to upgrade. Utility rebates and energy incentives are available nationwide. So, what exactly is a rebate? A rebate is a payback on your energy upgrade. When you qualify for a rebate on a project, you’re able to get paid back a percentage of the cost of your project. When working with a full-service commercial lighting company like WLS, you don’t need to worry about submitting rebate/inventive applications for your project. WLS will do the application and submission work for you!
Advantages vs. Disadvantages
The advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages of an LED lighting upgrade, but let’s take a closer look at both.
- Lowers energy costs, equating to savings up to 75%
- Lowers operating and maintenance costs
- Increases lighting quality, temperature, and light spread
- Less heat emitted with LEDs
- Less glare
- ROI on average is 2-3 Years
- Improved light improves security and safety
- Qualify for rebates and incentives
- Initial upfront costs
When should I consider a commercial lighting upgrade for my property?
If your property’s current lighting system is over 10 years old, it’s definitely time to consider an upgrade, likely to LED lighting. A lighting upgrade can save you on your energy costs and improve safety for your tenants and customers alike. In the Summer of 2022, Texas electricity rates went up almost 30%. With LED lighting and lighting controls, you can decide how much energy you want to save week-by-week and even day-by-day.
Do I have to replace my poles?
No, when upgrading or retrofitting you are not required to get new poles. You may want to consider purchasing new poles if your current poles are compromised. For example they may damaged beyond repair, rusting, or their structural integrity is unreliable. For most lighting upgrades the current fixture is removed and the new LED fixture is placed on the existing poles. For lighting retrofits, there are kit options you can buy that will fit into your existing structure.
How do I find out about tax incentives, grants, and energy rebates?
Rebates and incentives are a great way to offset the cost of your LED lighting upgrade or retrofit. A great online resource tool can be found at Dsire USA. This website allows you to filter rebates by state. This is one of many resources that you can view current rebates and incentives. Checking with your local electric service providers or state energy office is also a great place to start.
Ok, so you’ve decided to upgrade the lighting on your property…
How do I evaluate the differences in competing proposals?
The bottom line is that you will want to determine which proposal offers your project the most value and convenience. Do both proposals offer the same services such as full site and energy audits, photometric analysis, and rebate/incentive research? Some companies will not offer all of this to you and will have to outsource certain services. Here at WLS, we offer a “one-stop shop” for all your site lighting needs. So when you contact us about a light upgrade, we promise you’re getting the best there is while each of our proposals are complimentary to each customer.
What do I need to start my upgrade/retrofit process?
Whether you know exactly what you want for your property or you’re not quite sure yet, we can help. WLS works closely with you to determine your exact needs and goals prior to commencing any project. Once we determine your objectives, we will ask for a CAD file of the existing property so we can evaluate current pole locations and fixtures. If no CAD is available on your property WLS will use Google Earth and other mapping technology to determine the existing layout.
We will then conduct a thorough site survey to determine existing pole heights, fixture types, and lamp wattages. At that point, we will do a complete photometric analysis that will meet both customer and local municipality lighting criteria in LED options complete with budget numbers for each.
What does turnkey mean exactly?
When a company says they offer turnkey, this means they offer the complete package. You want to look out for this! WLS offers a complete turnkey solution for our clients. This solution includes lighting design and photometric analysis, material procurement, installation, and even maintenance.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to upgrade your property to LED Lighting, you can contact one of our lighting professionals today. Call us at 817-731-0020 or email us at [email protected].