The Retrofit Companies Blog

Why Invest in a Lighting Study? (VIdeo Interview)

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Sweet Harvest facility manager, Brian Pleschcourt talks about his experience with an aging and inefficient lighting system, and tells us how the Lighting Redesign Study process worked for his facility.  Read the interview now.

Why did Sweet Harvest decide to replace the lighting in your facility? What were the issues you faced and what were some of your company's goals for the lighting project?

"We knew it was time to replace the lighting in the facility because we had a lot of older existing fixtures with lamp failures and also with ballast issues. We had a general yellowish tint to the building. We wanted to improve the lighting and the quality of lighting for our employees' productivity and safety. Also, to support our green initiatives toward saving energy."


What solutions were evident in the study that you may not have been able to realize without that first planning step of an Investment Grade Audit?

"We saw with the motion sensors and controls on the lighting that we could save more energy. Sweet Harvest foods has a commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and we take that very seriously. We were able to take out the length of the project - as far as payback - a little longer knowing we were making good decisions, environmentally sound decisions. [These were] decisions that would save us money in the long run."

In your opinion, what were the benefits of the lighting study process?

"One of the benefits to the lighting study was that we were able to look at new technologies in the existing building. That [part of the study] allowed us to reduce the amount of fixtures in the layout, lighting exactly to what our needs were going to be. There's no guess work. Everything is calculated and engineered."

 

Watch the video! 

 

If you're thinking it's time to invest in a lighting study, get our free e-book today & learn more:

get a smart start to your lighting project

How to Find a Great Lighting Consultant

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As you begin researching for your lighting upgrade, looking for lighting consultants, architects, electrical contractors, or other energy experts use this five point check list to see if they are the lighting design partner that you want working on your energy efficient lighting project. It's the best advice we can share when it comes to how to find a great lighting consultant.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL

How much experience does your chosen lighting contractor have designing, building, and installing successful lighting systems? Is your partner a lighting designer or are you working with an electrical contractor cashing in on keywords like "Energy Efficiency"? We recommend avoiding the LED salesman who hustles to sell as many as possible of a specific product without consideration of your needs. Look for a trusted partner, someone who can answer the important questions. We recommend reading our article "11 Questions to Ask a Lighting Contractor."


FINANCIAL PROOF

There are financial benefits beyond energy savings and reduced utility costs as a result of a lighting retrofit or upgrade. Lower overhead expenses, reduction in maintenance costs, return on investment, and overall cost of ownership should be demonstrated so you can fully understand your project's impact to the bottom line. A qualified lighting partner will help you understand that savings can be derived of many avenues and show you those numbers.


VENDOR NEUTRALITY

Avoid being pigeonholed by contractors or sales people that only sell specific brands or products and nothing else. Some companies sell only specific product lines, without taking into consideration your lighting needs. You deserve the best-fit products for your lighting system, to meet your lighting and sustainability goals.


FUTURE PLANNING

Is the design of your lighting system going to take into consideration any short or long term changes in your business, or how the space in your facility is being utilized? Are the new products (fixtures and bulbs) to be installed in your new system easy to acquire? Are they affordable? Be sure that your chosen contractor has a long term plan for you, and that your new lighting products (lamps, drivers, etc.) are easily availalbe and affordable.

SMART COMPARISONS

Are you confident you can accurately compare bids from multiple vendors? Don't compare apples to oranges. We recommend starting smart by investing in a lighting study - start your project with a document in hand that carefully takes into consideration your facility, your goals, and your specific required outcomes. An investment grade audit document will help you do that. 

LEARN EVERYTHING ABOUT INVESTMENT GRADE AUDITS - DOWNLOAD OUR EBOOK TODAY!

E-book: Why should you invest in a lighting study?

HOW IS AN INVESTMENT GRADE AUDIT BUILT?

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LED technology has taken over the lighting world and it has become necessary to have more knowledge about the options available in the market of lighting fixtures, bulbs, and controls. In order to understand and choose the best options to match energy saving needs of clients, a reputable energy consultant should be able to offer solutions utilizing these modern products. Developing smart, energy-efficient lighting projects has become a complex and often time consuming task that requires an in-depth product research and design. The best person to complete this work is a specialist. Keep reading to learn how TRC auditors put lighting projects together.

The Retrofit Companies employs several highly skilled lighting project developers – lighting auditors. These specialists are responsible for auditing (cataloging) a facility’s existing lighting system to develop a solution to replace its old lighting system.

When TRC clients purchase an "Investment Grade Audit" our team of auditors visit the facility where the lighting retrofit should take place. They generate an individualized lighting study, based on the specific type and functionality requirements of the facility, and customers’ lighting needs. (Do you need more light, less light, better control options, less maintenance? What are your priorities?) They also take into account solutions that provide energy and lighting cost savings.

As a part of the existing lighting evaluation, auditors verify the current fixture types and counts. They check every fixture for wattage and voltage, measure the ceiling and mounting heights, and the space dimensions for each project area. The project development process is completed by researching fixtures and solutions from multiple vendors to come up with the best solution for the project and client needs. Many times, the auditors design fixture layouts and run photometric reports. All of these tasks help them determine final project costs, and provide a virtual model of the final lighting upgrade. The Auditors also meet with clients to answer questions and clarify areas of concern to ensure that the lighting project being developed is exactly what the customer desires.

TRC auditors also have a solid knowledge of various rebate programs offered by utility providers. They can design a project that not only meets the customers’ needs and wants, but also maximizes the potential rebates and cash incentives. Utilizing lighting rebates is a crucial factor that plays a big role in improving the project payback and increasing the return on the investment.

This individual approach to our clients’ specific lighting and energy efficiency needs is what makes The Retrofit Companies unique among other companies specializing in efficient lighting design and retrofit projects.

Again, to reference the information from our previous posts, here are the different reports included in an Investment Grade Audit, that our auditors, working together with the lighting support team generate for clients:

  • In-depth details on the existing lighting system
  • Existing energy cost benchmarking
  • In-depth details on the proposed (new) lighting system
  • Proposed system operating costs & annual savings
  • Line by line cost-benefit analysis
  • Operational and Maintenance savings comparisons
  • Fixture cut sheets for proposed equipment
  • Photometric layouts for existing and proposed
  • Rebate studies & submittal forms

If you’re considering a lighting upgrade, read “How Much Does a Retrofit Cost?” next!

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Link Roundup: E-waste, Audit Investments, & Clothes Recycling

This small article summarizes the big impact that California’s investment in energy-efficiency has yielded. Includes a nice little infographic, too.

How will lighting impact the future of cities? This writer has some ideas.

 

We’ve shared this story in the past, but it also relates to how lighting even impacts the movies

 

We recycle universal and hazardous wastes like light bulbs, electronics, and chemical wastes, but have you ever considered the process for recycling old clothing?

 

An 18-year-old from Texas invented a water purifier to tackle toxic e-waste pollution. It costs only $20!

 

What is an “investment grade audit?” Here are a couple articles:

Because energy efficiency projects require significant engineering, design, and construction work, investment-grade audits are quite expensive and time-consuming. Plus, they often compete for funding on the corporate level with other potential investments. But since stakeholders are usually focused on return on investment, the guaranteed savings offered by an ESCO and investment-grade energy audit can make them attractive

 

With an investment grade audit you have an RFP you can submit to several vendors. Inviting several firms in to your business to bid the work you want done will inevitably result in an equal number of very different bids left for you to compare. An Investment Grade Audit arms you with a standardized bid document where fixture counts, operating hours, equipment specs, and every other possible project variable -aside from vendor- are the same, making your job slightly easier.

 

get a smart start to your lighting project

 

 

 

 

Why Invest in a Lighting Audit?

Energy-efficiency is a direct path to savings and makes a positive impact to the bottom line for many businesses, but you may be wondering "What's the point in investing in a lighting study," or investment grade audit? We believe there is a singular and simple reason why an Investment Grade Audit is the best way to help prepare for your lighting project investment.

Whether you purchase your study from TRC, another energy service company, electrical contractor, retrofitter, engineer, or architect, our theory is really simple: You shouldn't have to become a lighting expert to expertly buy a complicated lighting project.

More often than not, you want to invest in a lighting upgrade because it makes sense for your business to do so. However, you may not have considered why an investment grade lighting study is the best way to begin. It's the first decision you can make that will allow every consecutive decision to take off in the right direction and result in a successful lighting project.

With an investment grade audit you have an RFP you can submit to several vendors. Inviting several firms in to your business to bid the work you want done will inevitably result in an equal number of very different bids left for you to compare. An Investment Grade Audit arms you with a standardized bid document where fixture counts, operating hours, equipment specs, and every other possible project variable -aside from vendor- are the same, making your job slightly easier. With all the "lighting expert" variables accounted for and all the critical data already collected, you can be sure the project proposals provided by multiple vendors allows you to compare "Apples to Apples."

Your job at that point is to choose a vendor based on price, reliability, availability, experience, corporate buying preferences, or whatever credentials make the most sense for your business. Investing in a lighting study means you've taken the first step toward due diligence. You have reduced the likelihood that you could have been presented with a good looking project based on sub-par data.

To help you in decision making when trying to choose the right partner for your investment grade audit, here are the categories of reports included in an Investment Grade Audit from The Retrofit Companies: 

  • In-depth details on your existing lighting system
  • Existing energy cost benchmarking
  • In-depth details on the proposed (new) lighting system
  • Proposed system operating costs & annual savings
  • Line by line cost-benefit analysis
  • Operational and Maintenance savings comparisons
  • Fixture cut sheets for proposed equipment
  • Photometric layouts for existing and proposed
  • Rebate studies & submittal forms

 

For full explanations of the reports listed above and for more information about Investment Grade Audits, download our e-book here:

 

E-book: Why should you invest in a lighting study?

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