Let’s talk through some different scenarios.
For new construction projects, a professional architectural firm is hired to, among other things, design the lighting scheme for the building. Historically, this would be mundane. The process involves understanding the building usage (library, large office, warehouse, etc.) and light fixtures that meet building codes and proper light levels are specified.
However, with the advent of light emitting diodes (LED), a technology that provides light but is extremely functional, so much more can be done. Different shapes, sizes, colors, optics can be used.
For an office space, a traditional drop ceiling with uniform rows of 2×4 light fixtures can now be substituted with an open ceiling and, perhaps, a combination of design-driven lighting fixtures and pendent-hung linear that meet necessary codes. This ‘new’ look provides a very updated, modern environment. It’s cool. It’s hip and absolutely will save energy, maintenance costs and capture utility rebate dollars to help pay for it.
Usually, the project is using the existing design and replacing ‘one-for-one’ with more efficient LED fixture. A lighting retrofit project for an existing building almost always, is approved, or not approved, using one key matrix- the project’s simple payback period. That is, how long will it take in energy & maintenance savings to recover the investment to take on the project?
Where does this lead? Missed Benefits.
By not considering enhancing the aesthetics, certain benefits that cannot be directly measured on a spreadsheet, are missed. Benefits such as increased employee morale or the update look indirectly helps securing new clients
Our Expert Advice
Establishing a lighting ‘plan’ shouldn’t solely rely on the project economics. We can take an old dog-eared building and, with a well-constructed lighting plan, add a tremendous ‘wow’ factor. Lighting is so functional, so available, a building should not limit itself to the lighting plan from yesteryear. A plan should be put in place.
So, what does a plan look like?
Well, sitting down with a seasoned expert and allowing them to help you put one together. At Expert Lighting Group, we will uncover, for example, if the front conference room is where million dollar deals or done, and how important that is to the business. Should it look like ‘just another conference room? Or should the potential client be impressed immediately upon entry? The retrofit will surely only consider energy savings, not delivering a warm welcoming feeling, or even a ‘wow’ factor, creating missed opportunities for setting a positive tone ahead of walking in.
The cost of simply changing old fluorescent tubes to LED is great for reducing the electric bill. However, it misses the opportunity to create a fantastic space that employees are proud of and excited to bring clients into.
And the difference, perhaps just a few dollars more, but really a good solid lighting plan away. These are just a few examples of what can be done, quickly, to a building with a solid lighting plan in place.