LED Lighting: Maintenance Director Benefits

LED Lighting is becoming the norm across the region as high electric rates produce low ROI. Lights literally pay for themselves. The cost of the tube is relatively the same in Albany as it is in Charlotte, but the cost to power that light is double or triple in the Northeast. Those higher costs here make the LED upgrade very attractive. Who doesn’t want to reduce lighting costs by 70 percent? Maintenance Directors everywhere realize that LED lights not only save monthly but that they last considerably longer. A tube pays for itself in 3 years typically but lasts 10-12 years! Less time spent replacing tubes means more attention can be paid elsewhere. Maintenance directors are a building’s doctor and as such, they must know all the systems. The reality is that they keep things going within a budget and sometimes it’s a band-aid here due to the fracture there. It is quite common for an MD to attempt to install LEDs in their building themselves. Here are a few reasons why you want to avoid that.

Hassle-Free Warranty Claims

With all the systems in your building, none are more numerous than your lights. If you are installing lights yourself, you must deal with distributors or manufacturers yourself, on a warranty claim. Time on the phone, proving it isn’t installed error, and shipping back are all time-consumers you can better spend on other urgent tasks. Using a team that simply picks up and provides new tubes is great and three or four fewer things for you to do. 

Custom Incentive Programs

By looking at the whole of your lighting needs for the next ten years, you get the advantage of your utility’s custom incentive program instead of a simple buck or two per tube. In fact, most utilities are discontinuing small ‘prescriptive’ programs, opting to give the incentive to the distributor, who is supposed to pass along those savings. A custom program says that those who save the most should get the most incentive. The difference is staggering. 3000 lights a few at a time would be $6,000 rebate. In a custom program with noted run hours, the incentive could be $18,000.  As an individual MD, you can’t access the custom program. However, there are several firms that can help. Find one that will do so without a fee, and will ‘carry’ the incentive for you, so you are not waiting months for the incentive from your utility. 

Professional Licensed Electricians

I was recently in a small school district that had taken several short cuts over the years. Above the ceiling, there are many secrets. In this instance, troffers had been placed in the dropped ceiling, without wiring the fixture independent of the ceiling grid, a violation of fire code. Ballasts left in place. Wiring through raceways. Saving a buck usually costs more in the long run. Working with limited resources is always difficult. 

Finding the Right Solution 

Like the incentive above, buying the product in bulk leads to huge savings. Buying three or five lights from Grainger at a time may fit with budget parameters, but there are a few drawbacks. Over time product replacement will vary slightly. Most people do not notice fixture variance, but the person that must replace these years down the road will have a more difficult time. Individual purchases do not mesh well with network controls, the logical next step in lighting. Energy management will eventually assimilate with HVAC and security. Individual lighting purchases are dead to this eventuality. A firm that has an engineer on staff will not only find the best product, that gets the most incentive but will also ensure your space is ready for smart controls now and down the road.

Leverage the Savings

Perhaps the most significant reason not to attempt an LED upgrade on your own is what you’re passing up. Leveraging those savings into paying for other energy measures like a boiler or building envelope allows you to tackle these issues all at once, and best of all no money out of pocket. It’s a vehicle called an Energy Performance Contract. When first introduced ten years ago, there were many players in this field and the less than dedicated ones have gotten out of the business. Unfortunately, those bad actors gave the EPC a bad name. A handful of reputable players remain. Finding your way through the maze of decisions and considerations is complicated but fruitful, nonetheless. Millions of dollars’ worth of improvements all paid for from the lighting is not an exaggeration, and all while not affecting your budget. 

Even a general practice medical doctor will hand off their patient to a specialist when the outcome potential is great. 

Integra LED is a firm specializing in deep grade retrofit. We produce solutions that are right for your space, your budget and your team.