Carol Brzozowski 2015-06-09 11:25:13
Improved efficiency and safety, lowered costs and maintenance Given that a significant portion of energy consumption is in lighting, replacing inefficient lighting offers a good opportunity to save on energy and maintenance, points out Jeff Spencer, director of product management and market development for Juno Lighting. According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2012, the commercial sector—commercial and institutional buildings and public streets and highways—consumed about 274 billion kWh for lighting. This was about 21% of commercial sector electricity used. Facility managers and owner/operators should consider retrofitting when a sound economic case can be made, notes Chris Bailey LC, LEED AP BD+C, DDI, MIES, director of the Lighting Solutions Center for Hubbell Lighting. “Typical payback scenarios include the basic operating costs associated with lighting, such as energy and maintenance,” says Bailey, but he suggests that there is more to consider. “For some, this may be a bit shortsighted. Industrial facilities may experience disruptions in productivity and place maintenance staff at some level of assumed risk when maintaining and servicing lighting equipment.” He continues, “Due to limited accessibility, some facilities knowingly or unknowingly operate lighting systems well below recommended illuminance levels on account of lamp burnout, lumen depreciation, and dirt depreciation factors. Unfortunately, as in many applications, poor maintenance of industrial lighting systems can result in unintended consequences to worker productivity and health.” Additionally, serious consideration should be given to the environment where the lighting system will operate, Bailey says. “One size does not fit all. Candidate products should be commiserate with the operating ambient temperature and general conditions of the space, which may range from basic to very complex,” he adds. Light quality is extremely important to retailers, notes Bailey. “The latest generation of LED lighting technology offers a much broader and more balanced spectral distribution than conventional fluorescent technology,” he says. “If applied correctly, LED luminaries may result in a greater level of lighting quality, and potentially positively influence the customer experience and store sales.” Still, the benefits may be difficult to quantity, Bailey says. As a result, many facility owners and operators will overlook such factors, looking exclusively at energy and maintenance. They should “seriously consider the full impact of upgrading or retrofitting lighting systems,” says Bailey. “There are several total costs of ownership analysis tools available from Hubbell Lighting and others.” Often overlooked in prospective lighting projects is the fact that the lighting system, for a majority of facilities, is being depreciated along with the building over several years, he says. “Because commercial real estate is considered an asset rather than an expense, the IRS requires owners to decrease its value every year by a small amount to simulate its gradual loss of value as it deteriorates. This process is called depreciation. While most commercial buildings have a 39-year life, some speed up the process and claim the depreciation in less time.” In a retrofit where the majority of the original luminaires are maintained and electrical components are upgraded, the depreciated value of the discarded components will need to be accounted for at the time of replacement, Bailey points out. “If the lighting system will be changed out completely, then the entire depreciated value of the original lighting system will need to be accounted for,” he adds. Lighting companies such as Hubbell Lighting offer a vast range of lighting and lighting control solutions for commercial, industrial and residential applications, as well as competitive financing, which in many cases can provide immediate positive cash flow, says Bailey. “One program of note is our createchange platform,” he adds. “Coupled with our flexible funding program called Cash Flow Positive, the programs give customers the resources they need to maximize energy savings and ensure project success.” For seven years, the iconic Georgia-Pacific building that’s seen in Atlanta’s skyline had gone dark due to a lighting system that was energy-inefficient. Hubbell Lighting Solution’s Beacon products were chosen to replace the building’s wasteful 1,000- and 400-W metal halide bulbs. The retrofit incorporated 60 Alpha LED floodlights, including 8 ALU-36NB-90W-6x6, 22 ALU-60NB-136W-6x6, 27 ALU-72NB-220W-2x2, and 3 ALU-72NB-170W-5x5. As a result of the retrofit, Beacon Products was able to reduce the installed wattage from 64,800 to 10,162, offering a 75% energy consumption reduction. The retrofit has helped move the Georgia-Pacific building closer to its goal of reducing energy consumption 20% by 2020. Beacon Product’s Alpha LED Floods can be pole-mounted, wall-mounted, or base-plate mounted, and are designed to eliminate light spill and light trespass for lighting commercial facilities in residential and urban settings. The Alpha product can be specified for aiming either below horizontal or above horizontal. The six standard NEMA beam spread options allow the light to be placed where desired. When it comes to doing retrofits, “the ‘no-brainers’ are anything with a high ceiling, cumbersome to get to in order to replace the lamp,” says Spencer. “It’s an easy decision just to retrofit with an LED, and then it’s going to be years before you have to worry about it.” University Renovations Energy efficiency was a primary goal in a 2008 retrofit project at Concordia University Texas. The liberal arts college with an enrollment of more than 2,600 relocated its campus from its 23-acre downtown Austin home to 385 aces on Austin’s West side, creating a new campus with both renovated buildings and new construction. University officials pursued energy-efficient measures for all of the buildings. Building A was constructed in the mid-1980s as a research and development facility for a major oil services company and was one of six buildings remaining on the new campus. It was renovated before the university moved in and had been outfitted with 200-W square downlights. The building houses the university’s largest auditorium, which hosts guest lectures, musical performances, and worship services. But the existing fixtures produced uneven illumination and emitted high levels of heat that required extra cooling from the university’s HVAC systems during the hot Texas summers. The fixtures remained in use for more than 60 hours each week, and that necessitated frequent replacement, which required the maintenance staff to access them by high-rise catwalks. University facilities management staff focused on the environment, maintenance requirements and lighting quality, and determined LED lighting would significantly increase operational life, reduce power consumption, offer cooler operation, and allow for higher-quality light. With help from Juno Lighting Group’s business partner FSG Lighting, Concordia University Texas officials selected the Indy Designer Series Architectural LED 6-inch Square Downlights from Juno Lighting Group by Schneider Electric to be installed in the auditorium of Building A. The Energy Star-certified Indy Designer Series Architectural LED Square Downlights consume 34-W input and provide a luminaire efficacy of 50 lumens per watt, in contrast to the old luminaires, which consumed approximately 200 W per fixture. The lights are designed to cut power consumption by up to one-third and provide optimal brightness control, allowing for smooth, even light distribution on the auditorium’s floors and walls. The lights also are designed with optimal light source concealment for an aesthetically pleasing “quiet ceiling” look. Additionally, the fixture-to-fixture color consistency and reduced glare of the Indy Designer Series Architectural LED Square Downlights enable hearing-impaired students to be able to better read presenters’ lips in the building. Pre-programmed lighting layouts allow the space to be adjusted to the specific need of the event being held. The fixtures are equipped with a dimmable LED driver to allow facilities staff to adjust brightness, too. The lights are equipped with a cast-aluminum heat sink to maintain the LED junction temperature and significantly reduce the amount of heat in the building. The lights’ cool operation allows for air conditioning to be scaled back, enabling cost and energy savings. Additionally, maintenance costs have been reduced as the LED lamps provide 50,000 hours of service at 70% lumen maintenance. Juno Lighting has several lines of recessed downlights for retrofits to replace fluorescent fixtures, notes Spencer. They include Basics retrofit LED downlights in 4-, 5-, and 6-inch models and the Indy Low Profile 2x2, 2x4, and 1x4 LED basket-style fixtures. “The Indy retrofit is one that will convert pretty much any six-inch, eight-inch, or larger recessed fixture—whether it’s an incandescent, HID, or compact fluorescent—into a UL-listed LED fixture. Juno offers downlights that replace a 42-W compact fluorescent (which actually draws 46 W, Spencer says) with a 15-W fixture. Retrofit products have to be versatile, Spencer points out. “All manufacturers change their products over time,” he adds. “Every manufacturer uses different junction box sizes and covers. Whatever is up there, this will work with it, and we have a retention system that allows it to fit. It could be as small as five-and-one-fourth, and as large as six-and-a-half—we wanted one fixture that could fit that whole range.” Spencer points out a feature offered by Juno Lighting that is favored by users: “If you have a compact fluorescent bulb, you would have a certain amount of foot-candles and when the compact fluorescent was no good, it would burn out. You would replace it with a new lamp, and when you do, it re-establishes the light levels in that space. With LED, it doesn’t burn out—it just keeps getting dimmer and dimmer. Looking at an office space, classroom, or stairwell, somebody with a trained eye would notice it has half the light or less than it’s supposed to have.” To mitigate that, Juno Lighting designed a lumen depreciation indicator. “We made it really easy to replace the light engine and the driver from below, but somehow we needed to tell them that it’s time to replace the light, because it’s not like a compact fluorescent when it burns out,” says Spencer. Juno Lighting designed the indicator to turn off the LED once it reaches 70% of its initial output. “The most intuitive thing for a maintenance worker to do is to pull the trim down and take a look inside to find out why this is off,” says Spencer. “When he does, we have a small indicator light that turns orange, and the label next to it says if this is orange, it’s time to replace the LED to re-establish light levels.” The indicator enables the maintenance worker to turn the light back on until replacement parts are obtained. Pressing the button once provides an extra 1,000 hours of light, or about 1.5 more months, Spencer says. That button is called the “snooze button” and is designed to reset the light up to five times, offering another 1.5 months each time toward the eventual end of the light’s life cycle. A label offers information on the replacement part number, which provides information on the generation of the light, its color temperature and lumen package. Because replacement parts are becoming less expensive, it’s better to order them when needed rather than to stockpile them, Spencer says. “When the maintenance worker gets the replacement part kit, he replaces the LED and the driver, and it’s good to go,” he adds. When LED lights are used to replace metal halide lights, there is a noticeable difference, Spencer says. “Metal halide has a greenish tint to it. You don’t notice it as much until you see it side-by-side to an LED, and all of a sudden the space that went from a 100-watt metal halide to a 40-watt LED looks so much brighter, so much cleaner, and the light is a cooler color. A couple of hours of retrofitting can really change the way a place looks, and they’ll never have to replace the lamps for five to 10 years depending on how long they’re on.” Airport Parking “In the world we live in today, poor lighting is something we adjust to,” says Shawn Campbell, national accounts manager for the Southeast for CED Atlanta, an electrical parts distributor that primarily services commercial, industrial, and electrical contractors. In an outdoor lighting application, poor or no lighting is often forgotten, he adds. Lights may burn out, and people won’t park under those poles. After an outdoor retrofit, a space can light up “like a Christmas tree,” illustrating the important factors of safety and security. Payback is important to the extent that a parking lot’s electric bill is “purely overhead,” says Campbell. “You have to operate these lights; there’s no way around that. You can’t just go dark to save money.” A retrofit not only shaves thousands of dollars from the electric bills, but maintenance costs, too, Campbell adds. “With the old-fashioned lights, the HID, you have moving parts in that fixture. You have a lamp that goes bad on average once every two years. You have a ballast that goes bad and costs three times as much as the lamp. These are on fixtures that are 30 feet up in the air.” Changing a light requires a licensed electrician with a boom lift, he explains. Energy and cost efficiencies, as well as safety issues, were the driving factors in an outdoor lighting retrofit project at the Park ‘N Fly at the Atlanta Airport, where two years ago, CED Atlanta partnered with Eaton Cooper Lighting in using its Galleon LED luminaires in a lighting retrofit. Also part of the team was Balboa Capital to provide the financing and Light Source Unlimited for the installation. The AccuLED Optics system is designed to provide uniform and energy-efficient illumination to walkways, parking lots, roadways, building areas, and security lighting applications. The luminaires are IP66 rated and UL/cUL listed for wet locations. The retrofit entailed 80 outdoor fixtures on 40 poles, with two light fixtures on mast arms on each pole. It was executed in less than five weeks. The Galleon LED luminaires are “a true workhorse,” notes Campbell. With the luminaires, one gets to the naked eye “what would appear to be twice the lighting as you do for a standard HID fixture.” Outdoor parking areas often have lighting requirements 12 hours a day, every day, thus retrofitting outdoor spaces usually gives “the best bang for your buck,” notes Campbell. In doing retrofits, CED makes the case for switching to LED from fluorescent or HID using simple payback calculations. The Atlanta Park ’N Fly location can save an average of $30,000 on its electric bill, says Campbell, adding “that’s a fraction of the number that we’re typically seeing.” Campbell acknowledges that there are many upfront costs associated with outdoor lighting retrofits that should be considered, including installation and other work, such as painting. “Especially with outdoor lighting, a lot of other factors come into play,” says Campbell. “Sometimes you add some bells and whistles, or you have to tweak your design and you find light poles that are out there on the site that don’t work, the electrical wire has been stripped, or any number of other issues that add to the timetable.” While the Park ’N Fly project costs $100,000, rebates and associated incentives brought that down to $80,000 with a calculated two-year return on investment, says Campbell. Controllable Lighting There are several simple conditions under which a facility operator should consider doing a lighting retrofit, notes Bob Smith, P.E., Director, Energy Marketing Solutions, Eaton’s Cooper Lighting business. Simple ones to consider include high energy rates for which a retrofit can help reach a faster payback with incentives offered by the utility to “buy-down” the cost of the installation, which helps reduce the initial investment, he adds. “Timing of group re-lamping helps justify the rebate,” says Smith. “When a facility or a space is up for a group re-lamping, the funds planned for the re-lamping can be used to help justify the retrofit. As the time of use increases, the kilowatt-hour savings expand. For example, a system that operates at 24/7 has a faster payback than one that only operates three hours per day.” Additionally, there are more complex elements to consider, he adds. The scope of the technologies that can be replaced with LED luminaires affordably covers not only incandescent/halogen systems but also HID, compact fluorescent, linear fluorescent, and induction. “Spaces that have lighting operating for long periods to allow for safe conditions when occupied can achieve higher savings with controlled LED luminaires,” notes Smith. “The required time of use can be dramatically reduced resulting in higher kilowatt-hour savings. There are various means of controlling the LEDs.” One is occupancy control for vacancy and motion sensing. “This reduces kilowatt-hours based upon the activity in the space. The system can be commissioned to turn off or reduce light levels,” he says. Another means: daylighting control to sense for reduction in power where sunlight is present. This reduces kilowatt-hours based upon the amount of sunlight in a space, he says. Additionally, controls integrated within the overall building energy management system can be implemented in retrofits. “It is most cost effective when the system is already in place such as zero to ten Vdc low-voltage control,” says Smith. “LEDs commonly offer continuous dimming with deeper energy savings than traditional sources like linear fluorescents that include ballasts with the same zero to ten Vdc control. As network security of wireless controls within a building are addressed, these will eventually facilitate simpler commissioning with the opportunity for deeper energy savings.” To reduce commissioning expenses, integrated sensors within luminaires are effective in many applications such as small spaces and where granular control is desired without additional wiring, he notes. “Areas that are very difficult to reach can be replaced with properly-designed luminaires that last, not only reducing energy costs, but [also] maintenance savings with higher reliability.” When undertaking a retrofit, safety is the paramount factor to consider. “Equipment available on the market may save energy and the initial cost may be low, but the safety of the installation is critical,” says Smith. “Be sure to know the ‘real cost’ of the lighting equipment proposed and the amount of time it really takes to install in accordance with the safety requirements.” Smith advises facility owners and operators to avoid technologies that require luminaire rewiring, and to be careful of not fully understanding what ballast each luminaire has installed. “This is a signal of retrofits that can result in alterations that render the luminaire unsafe and remove the original equipment manufacturer from their responsibilities,” he says. “Be aware that UL-recognized [Underwriters Laboratories, which refers to product safety testing] components do not mean the retrofit will be installed safety.” Smith also advises facility operators to have an audit conducted by someone who understands luminaire construction. The occupancy of the space is another factor to consider when doing a lighting retrofitting. “If the space stays occupied 24/7, scheduling the retrofit can be difficult and can also be costly,” says Smith. Consider tall mounting heights with many obstructions. “If luminaires are installed at tall heights that require equipment to perform the retrofit, survey the space for obstructions that will make it difficult for the equipment to maneuver around to allow the contractor to perform the retrofit,” he points out. Another factor is that mounting and wire connections vary by luminaire type. “Be sure to understand how a luminaire is mounted and supply wiring is connected,” says Smith. “The luminaire may require special hangers and special plugs to be an easy retrofit.” Smith says building owners and operators can start with DesignLights Consortium-qualified and Energy Star-certified luminaires. “This makes sure that one is comparing manufacturers by having a third-party validate the basic performance levels,” he says. “Once that is done, be sure to have a lighting design done because not all luminaries perform the same way in every space. This will assure the light levels are adequate and the energy minimized optimized.” Eaton offers a broad range of controllable energy-efficient luminaires “that are designed to last,” audit support, lighting layouts support, financing support when funds are not available and the energy savings can fund the monthly expense, and DesignLights Consortium-qualified and Energy Star-certified recessed luminaires. Turnkey Solutions, Important Considerations Josh Kurtz, senior vice president of sales for Orion Energy Systems, agrees that energy savings and maintenance reduction are important factors in considering lighting retrofits. Orion focuses almost exclusively on lighting retrofitting and offers lighting solutions for commercial, exterior, and industrial applications. Orion manufacturers a broad range of lighting systems, including LED and fluorescent high-bay fixtures, wet-rated LED fixtures for dairy farms, the ISON class exterior line with hundreds of configurations, and its LDR–LED Door Retrofit that ships fully assembled and installs in one minute to replace traditional fluorescent troffers. Its fixtures are designed to deliver the most amount of light output for the least amount of energy, says Kurtz. Orion works with clients to determine their needs are a per-facility basis, providing lighting project engineering and turnkey solutions for “cradle to grave coverage” of energy-efficient lighting projects, says Kurtz. The company is “technology agnostic” in providing lighting technology to meet needs in LED, T8, T5, induction, and solar lighting, he adds. “Today, many facility managers and facility executives are tasked with reducing both energy and maintenance costs. Retrofitting their facilities’ lighting systems with today’s lighting technology is often the lowest hanging fruit,” says Kurtz. “When engineered the right way, lighting retrofits increase light levels while reducing both energy consumption and ongoing lighting system maintenance.” Many areas of the United States have rebates available from utility companies or other state agencies that help reduce the facility’s out-of-pocket costs for lighting upgrades and dramatically increase the lighting project’s return on investment, says Kurtz. “After reducing energy and maintenance costs, some other reasons to retrofit lighting are increased light levels and improving the quality of the lighting. Increased light levels are needed in some facilities for both safety and employee performance,” he says. “Today’s lighting technologies provide a much better quality of light. Many studies show that employee productivity improves after a well-designed and engineered lighting retrofit.” Since fluorescent hit the market in the 1930s, there has been little radical change, Kurtz points out. “With the increased efficiencies and reduced maintenance costs of LED lighting, adoption of LED lighting is growing across the board.” In considering a retrofit, facility owners and operators also need to consider the age of the current lighting system. “Was it five years ago, and do you have fixtures that are not yet fully depreciated?” says Kurtz. Determining what technology is best suited for a facility is important. “In some applications such as freezers or cold storage, LED is easily the technology of choice,” he says. “In other applications, fluorescent may still be the best technology.” Other factors to consider: • What is the corporate light level standard for both quality and quantity of light? • Can the facility complete the installation work in-house, or will it require installation? • When can the project be completed? A 24/7 manufacturer, for instance, requires the installation to be done in the smallest possible window or during a holiday or third shift. “Those considerations will affect your labor rates, which will affect your return on investment [ROI],” notes Kurtz. • Will reduced maintenance be considered part of the savings model in the ROI calculations? “More and more companies believe strongly that maintenance cost should be considered; others only want to focus on the energy savings aspects, says Kurtz. • If the lighting retrofit is being done in an office setting in an older building where asbestos is present, the facility owner may want to explore options that don’t disturb existing fixtures or the people working around them, notes Kurtz. • A question to ask is will energy management systems or lighting controls help the facility reach its energy reduction goals. “The type of application will drive whether or not you may want to consider sensors and controls,” says Kurtz. More Factors and Possibilities According to Todd Smith, head of Value Added Services, Sylvania Lighting Services (SLS) at OSRAM Sylvania, while the factors a facilities manager should consider when doing a retrofit vary by facility and business environment, common reasons for lighting retrofit opportunities in addition to energy savings include: • replacement of outdated lighting systems such as T12, early generation T8, and HID • the need to add lighting control to dynamic spaces for energy savings and better support of the space based on its use • aesthetic upgrades to the existing solutions • the ability to take advantage of available rebates for LEDs and controls solutions and upgrades • the ability to generate positive cash flow by utilizing a leasing or performance contracting retrofit model Factors that need to be taken into consideration when undergoing a retrofit vary for the individual user, Smith points out, adding that utilizing a full-service turnkey provider such as SLS “ensures all relevant factors are considered.” In addition to cost, typical considerations include existing light levels and whether the space has too little or too much lighting; whether a facility is changing from traditional light sources to LED, which may produce different photometrics; and putting the correct solution in the correct space. “Not all spaces are good candidates for LED and some spaces do better with local versus advanced lighting controls,” says Smith. “A good provider will help to navigate these decisions in the end user’s best interest.” There are many parties involved in a lighting retrofit, including architects, lighting designers, installers, and rebate processors. “Full-service companies such as SLS handle all of this under one umbrella and serve as one point of contact for the customer before, during and after the project is completed,” says Smith. SLS offers energy management solutions for interior and exterior lighting systems. Those services include LED lighting, design and rebate management through energy-efficient lighting products, audit and survey capabilities, and project management, as well as lighting control system design, installation, and commissioning. RAB Lighting offers LED lighting and controls and free lighting design services. There are three factors that drive a facility owner/operator’s decision to engage in a lighting retrofit, notes Donald G. Andrews, LC, MIES, design studio coordinator and senior lighting designer for RAB Lighting. Facilities paying a high cost per kilowatt-hour will see the most benefit in retrofitting to LED, he notes. He agrees with Kurtz that fixture age is another factor, pointing out that “facilities that have a significant number of fixtures near end of life, such as old ballast, faded or discolored reflectors, cracked or broken lens, will find this to be a natural time to retrofit to LED.” A need to improve the lighting is a third consideration, touching on factors such as correlated color temperature, lighting distribution and glare control, Andrew says. Shaun Fillion, LC, MIES, and senior lighting designer for RAB Lighting, says that in modern facilities, electric lighting uses less than 5% of the total energy use of the building. As such, “energy savings from LED is superseded by the impact that LED can have on maintenance,” he points out. “Traditional sources use lamps, which require spot re-lamping when they fail,” explains Fillion. “This can result in disruptions, which impact the productivity of a modern facility. LEDs have integrated light engines which do not need replacing, resulting in 100,000 hours, or more, of dependable, uninterrupted performance. LED keeps a facility functioning without service interruptions.” Fixture type and distribution are the two major factors facility owners and operators need to consider when undertaking a retrofit, says Andrews. “Replacing fluorescent tubes with bay LEDs will require more junction boxes and possibly more conduit,” he says. “Replacing an Acorn fixture with a full cutoff area light will change the way light is distributed, and may have benefits of reduced glare, with unintended consequence of less facial recognition.” Fillion contends that comparing the lumens of LED with traditional sources “does not tell the whole story. The distribution of LED allows for more controlled light distribution, resulting in better uniformity using less light,” he adds. He also advises facility owners/operators to retrofit a facility properly in order to utilize design services, which can provide photometric layouts of LED fixtures to ensure the lighting retrofit will deliver the needed light, while maximizing energy savings and ease of installation. Lighting retrofits typically see an ROI of two to five years, says those in the industry. “I’ve seen a significant increase in the adoption rate of LEDs, and so early on, retrofitting was definitely a strict ROI story,” explains Spencer. “Today, the ROI has to make sense, but I think people are also willing to do it even if it takes a little bit longer just because it does seem like they like the benefits of LED lighting.” An ROI is case-specific, but, generally speaking, “high energy costs, ample utility incentives, and long operating hours using high-performance luminaires can be less than a two-year ROI and are beginning to be less than one year,” says Smith. “With low energy costs, no utility incentives, and short operating hours with poor performing, it may be as high as seven years.” An ROI can take on other meanings, Kurtz points out. “We also retrofit many facilities where lighting levels are very low. These low light levels risk employee safety and the quality of the products provided by the companies,” he says. “In these cases, shortness of the payback is not as important as employee safety and productivity.” Fillion agrees. “The savings based on energy alone are often two to three years for HID sources, but the improvements in productivity and elimination of downtime to re-lamp a facility translate to savings are far greater.” The ROI is different for every company, Kurtz emphasizes. “Areas of the country with the highest kilowatt rates, or where rebates are available to reduce the cost of the retrofit, are usually where companies start their projects,” he says. Carol Brzozowski writes on the topics of technology and industry.
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