Deciding between LED, fluorescent, incandescent or HID lighting for your energy efficient retrofit can be difficult. How do you know you’re choosing the right lighting technology? Commercial LED lighting is everywhere these days, but does that mean it’s right for your business? Do the energy savings justify the higher initial price outlay for fixtures?
To help you select the right light source for your retrofit project, we’ve come up with 8 simple steps.
- Define Your Project’s Goals: Why are you taking on a lighting project? Are you trying to slash your energy bills, go green, improve aesthetics, or simply taking advantage of utility incentives? Defining your objectives up-front is the best thing you can do to make sure your project doesn’t get sidetracked.
- Get Help: Not an energy efficient lighting expert? Find one! Selecting the right partner will make the process that much easier.
Evaluate Viable Technologies: With most projects, there’s likely more than one lighting technology that will meet your project objectives. Define what these are.
Pick Your Fixtures: Pick the specific fixtures from each technology that meet your project’s goals. There’s a world of difference between talking about “a fixture” and “this specific fixture from this manufacturer in this application.” Gather as much information about each fixture as you can.
Do a side-by-side comparison: Compare the features of each fixture you selected, including financial (fixture cost, energy consumption, replacement and maintenance intervals), performance (optics, lumen depreciation, automation options, warmup times) and aesthetics.
Prioritize, based on your project’s goals: Now that you know how your options stack up against each other, decide which features are the most important to you. Are initial costs, or long-term energy savings more important to your project? How about customizable optics, or long-term maintenance free operation? Every technology has its advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to select the features that fit the most closely with your project’s goals.
Watch out for “showstoppers”: Sometimes, you run into a feature that takes a technology out of the running for your project. For example, if you’re putting fixtures in a difficult to access location, having to replace a bulb every two months would be a “showstopper,” even if that option showed the greatest energy savings.
- Pick the Best: The best technology for your project is the one that comes the closest to meeting your goals. And of course, you don’t have to settle with just one. Customers often use a mix of lighting technologies in a single retrofit.
After following these steps, you can be confident that you haven’t just picked a lighting technology because it’s been in the news lately, or because you saw it on the front of a lighting catalog. You’ll have picked the technology that’s right for your lighting project.